Thursday, 4 August 2011

Hay bales, big eggs, another Project...


Noooooo! These have not arrived from the rear end of our hens! These whoppers are plastic and therefore non-eatable!

So why have I got them? Well, in an effort to organize our flock of hens into laying in more accessible places, I purchased these yesterday. What you are supposed to do is put them into a place where you hope the hens will lay their eggs, and they will oblige in due course.

However........


...on the left is a real egg. On the right is the artificial one. And so why do they make those pretend eggs sooooo huge! What is a hen supposed to think when she sees such a monster.....will she become intimidated, thinking that she could never match up to such a big one, and go off somewhere else to lay........or will she sit anyway, but pretend to her fellow hens that she laid that egg and  get a 'Aren't I the best hen ever because I have laid the biggest egg ever'........but then will all of the hens who lay their eggs in that spot do the same....will all of them brag that they have laid the biggest egg of all time....will there then be a minor war as they argue with each other...... oh but it might cheer up the two hens who no longer lay eggs but still sit in case one might pop out. Hubs said did we ought to put them in the freezer, but we have decided not to. They have done good service, so they will be left to live their lives out.
Oh well so anyway, I put the plastic egg into the nest, and will await developments. At the moment they have made a super duper little nest in the  wood shed which was once our office, which was once a pig and chicken hut so the space has now returned to what it used to be. They have also taken over the little shelter I made for the hen and her chick. Seven eggs I got yesterday. Normally I can only find one if I am lucky.

And the chicks are doing well........


But I am very aware that they are orphans. This might be because we have that hen and her chick out in the Courtyard, and also a hen sitting on eggs in the Tall Barn. Those little ones have a mum to cuddle up to and teach them the chickeny way of life. These little chicks don't. But I feel reassured that such is the way of a chicken, that when they are old enough to roost, then they will know companionship. Chickens are not solitary creatures, but love to snuggle up alongside each other both at night and during the day. This is despite their bickerings and general bitchiness. Underneath all of that, they are quite warm towards each other.

And the chicks are very quiet. Not many chirrupings in comparison to the chick out in the Courtyard. So in a few days time I am going to take them outside during the day so they can talk to their fellows, so that they can get to know their world.

And in the incubator are now four more eggs, unplanned though because they have been 'rescued' from underneath the hen in the Tall Barn who had managed to acquire eight, the other hens having decided that it was a good idea to take advantage of a hen already sitting on eggs to deposit some more with her. So have marked four which she is continuing to brood over, and put the other four in the incubator. It feels like a bit of a production line at the moment!

Back outside, and the Front Wall Project has begun......


.....and a thought! It has just occurred to me that the photos do not have any colour in them! Must have switched the camera onto another setting......

Anyways, re the Front Wall Project: Danny, our builder, has filled in the drainage trench beside the Tall Barn, leaving a patch of uneven rough ground devoid of weeds. So before nature takes over and grows a heap of whatever it wants to, I have decided to take control of the patch. At first I was going to just rake the ground over, get the stones out, plant next winter. Then it came into my head that perhaps the wall needed sorting out. That why couldn't I do it. It is made of river stones some of which have loosened, so take them off, leave the ones still stuck fast, patch in new ones, hey presto... a tidy wall.

It will, I know, take quite some time! But I have to start somewhere. And a small wall is a good place to do so. And it can always be knocked down if it looks a mess. Hubs was going to do that anyway. So I am going to have a go.


......'nothing ventured nothing gained'! This has been my motto throughout life. Have a go. If it doesn't pan out, not to worry, at least one has tried. 'Better to have tried and failed rather than not to have tried at all'. That's been another motto. Both have served me well.

The farmer who cut the hay and made loads of bales which were left scattered over the field.......well he had to come and rescue his bales because the sheep had been looking upon them as something they needed to be involved with. Useful for rubbing up against. Useful for snuggling into for shade. Useful to have a munch on. So Hubs had to go and tell him that he ought to shift them. They are now in the Kitchen Field behind the house. Apparently, so Hubs says, they are there until Winter. Not sure that they will survive that long. The sheep have really done them some damage, and the baling machine of the farmer only seemed to do a half-job anyway. They were dripping hay at a fast rate as he tractored them to their new position. Methinks that they will probably just gently disintegrate.

Not to worry. We have two spanking new bales parked up in the Front Porch, properly baled, and delivered by another farmer from out of his wheat fields. They are straw bales, and for animal bedding this Winter. (You can just see them in the above photo) The chickens seem to be leaving them alone for the moment. They are busy working their way through the old hay bales by the Sheep Paddock. This is of great help to me. Getting hay or straw from off those big bales is a horror of a job. Takes an age. Have to use gloves because my hands get sore from the having to pull the hay / straw from out of the compressed bale. Good for exercising the arms though! But those chickens - they attack the bales from ground level, and they do a mighty fine job, leaving a good amount of hay scattered all about, which I pick up and deposit in the Sheep Barn. This same service they will offer in regards to the new bales. Not yet!

And the Half Barn. Did we have enough tiles for Danny to finish the floor? Yes! Exactly. None were left over. It is now count down time for caravan life. Good job too. With all the rain we have had, it is mozzie time big time very big time and strewth we are getting bitten to pieces and Hubs does not do well when mozzies are buzzing him during the night and I don't mind so much but I am all of a scratch with the number of drinks the mozzies have been taking from me and so it would be nice to go to sleep at night and not wake up in the morning counting the pimples of scratchiness which have been done unto me during the night. We can't make the caravan mozzie free, you see.

So must go feed the chicks, feed the flock, get dressed, scratch! Hope your desire to scratch is less than mine, hope the mozzies are not giving you any probs, and saying bye for now!........








10 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Glad that the chicks are doing well, it will be interesting to see how they are once outside with more feathered friends around.
I took one batch of photos with the wrong setting, no idea how it happened as I never change anything, took me ages to discover how to get it back to colour!!!
We have not had a mozzie problem this year, think it has been to dry around here and nowhere for them to breed!! Take care Diane

John Gray said...

the age old problem of getting a chicken to park her arse just where YOU want her to!
last year I found 65 eggs under one hedge when I was strimming!!!!!

Vera said...

Diane: Glad that you are not being struck by a plague of mozzies! Suspect that we shall spend a lot of time watching those chicks when they start interacting with the others. We already spend loads of time watching their progress already!

John: nnnnooooooooo!!!! 65!!!!!!All I have managed to find in one go is 8!

Jean said...

Vera, you are always so busy your posts make me dizzy !!
The little chicks are cute. I hope they get on alright without their mum.
I wish we could keep hens but - no space and no time and too many holidays away from home. One day perhaps.......
We have done quiet well with mozzie bites this year - hardly any, perhaps as Diane says because of the drier than normal weather.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Vera, maybe the the chicken with the one chick will take the others under her wing. Give it a try. My mother used to do that all the time with orphan chicks.

Vera said...

Jean, having animals is a way of life in itself so we don't have holidays. We have slower days, though, but mostly it is busy. Keeps me fit and young in spirit. Glad you are minus the mozzie prob as well. The recent rain we had came at a price because it woke the mozzies up!

Horst: thankyou so much once again for passing on your mum's experience. I am feeding the chicks with the boiled egg and it is their favourite and eat it first. Next comes breadcrumbs of my homemade bread. Then they will eat the chick feed! We have a hen who should be hatching eggs soon, so will see if she will accept the little ones. The other hen has only one chick which is about three weeks old and I think it's a bit late to try with her. Thanks once again.

Ken Devine said...

Vera, do you ever take time off and just go shopping or have your hair done?
ps, Did you have to buy 1/2 dozen of the plastic eggs?:)

Duta said...

Egga are such a basic,nutritious food, that everything you write about them interests me, and arouses my curiosity.

I like to eat eggs, but I often get confused . One day we are told they're dangerous (cholesterol), the next day we're warned of hairloss if we don't eat an egg each day. Go figure out the truth! (sigh).

Jean said...

Duta - there is no truth - just whatever is in fashion on the day !! LOL !!

Vera said...

True, Jean, very true. It can be confusing if one takes notice of all the health scare panics about food. Eat whatever you like but in moderation, that's the best way.