Sunday, 27 July 2014

No cockerels doth now crow, for all are gone, gone away......

It is true. For the first time in four years we have no cockerels. Where have they gone? Well, one died a few weeks ago from we know not what. That left some young boys and Big Grey, who was already in a gradual decline, not wanting to do much with anyone or anything, and that included wanting to crow. But the air was still punctured by the calls of the other cockerels, one in particular taking over the title of King of the girls. 

And then he disappeared. We think he was taken by something in the woods because a few days before Lester had charged down into the woodland after hearing some gurgled screams. It was King cockerel, looking like something had got him by the leg because he was walking with quite a limp. He obviously had not learnt his lesson. He must have continued on with his forages into the woodland and become a predator's food. 

But we still had a couple of young white cockerels. Or did. Because they are gone as well. Which left Big Grey. 

So we were doing our planning for the day, with me needing to do jamming, and Lester needing to start plastering the kitchen. And then another project took charge of the day, and that was to dismantle the 'temporary' chicken hut in the courtyard. 

July 2010, and the chicken hut is made out of two sheets of tin.
(We were living in the caravan in the background at the time)

This was Lester's first building project, and here he is making the run.
It was only supposed to be temporary solution to housing chickens. 
2012, and it was still standing strong....

(Please excuse the smudge on these photos
Message to self: it is unwise to try and cut pips out of plums so you can make jam out of them at the same time as partaking in a photo shoot. Be sensible. Do one or the other, otherwise the outcome is going to a camera covered in stickiness, including the lens.)

Anyway, Lester starts to dismantle the old hut,

..... chains the hut to the tractor, and then sees Big Grey lying in a crumpled heap in the furthest corner, all stone cold dead, our last cockerel, gone, gone away at the same time as his home was dismantled. Perhaps he had an intuition that this was going to happen. Perhaps he did not like the thought of having to sleep in the fig tree,
which is where the girls are going to have to sleep tonight,
although most had been roosting on its branches already.

But the courtyard is starting to look tidier. And building a proper chicken hut is now up towards the top of our list of priorities. 

The hens are now up the tree, although I had to help some of them to get up onto the branches. They will get used to their new lodgings, although there were quite a few complaints this evening!
But, as I have said, most were already roosting up on the branches,
and only a couple were using the hut, including Big Grey.

Meanwhile, the jam did not get made,
because I sat out in the sun and did some spinning,
and had an afternoon nap,
and did some music practice,
and cut up some material to make Lester some underpants,
because he likes the ones which are roomy,
almost like wide shorts,
because he does not like being squeezed, he said.
It was a nice Sunday,
tinged around the edges with sadness about the demise of all our cockerels,
especially Big Grey. 

Hope you had a good Sunday,
and hope your week goes well.


Sunnybrook Farm said...

I like the older tin chicken house, they make similar things here only the frame isn't heavy and the whole unit gets moved to fresh pasture every day or two. I don't do it but I have some tin like that and might have to give it a go! They call them chicken tractors though it really doesn't make sense to call them that.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, hope you get that new chicken coop erected quickly as the chickens are more vulnerable in that fig tree than in the old coop. What more than likely is getting at the boy chickens was a Wiesel, check to see what ravaged the body. If the big greys body was in the old coop then it was more than likely the Wiesel as it had to be something small to get through the chicken wire. Our family had the same problem when we got to Canada an resided on a farm. Yes we had chickens too. So if it is a Wiesel then the chickens are not safe in the tree.

Vera said...

Sunnybrook Farm, and what a lovely name that is for a farm! I think those chicken tractors are a good idea as it gets the chickens out onto the pasture with the other animals so that they can eat the ticks and other nasties. I agree with you though...whoever invented the name 'chicken tractor'!

Horst, thanks for the info. Our hens used to roost all the time in the tree up until a couple of years ago when foxes came a-calling. I think it is still a fox, or maybe a wild cat, or, as you say, a wiesel. We haven't seen the carcasses so won't know for sure. Big Grey died of old age, we think. He had been in decline for several weeks, so we were not surprised that he passed over. What was a surprise was that he did it on the day that the old chicken hut was dismantled, which sort of marked the end of an era. Thanks for taking the time to give me the wiesel info though.

Niall & Antoinette said...

I like the idea of a chicken house that can move. How about calling it a 'chicken RV'? ;-)

Mizumatte said...

hi Vera
your yard is really changing, sorry for all your cocherel, like the new chickenhouse. What a job you have done with that old place. Just great. Take care Jaana K

Ohiofarmgirl said...

a loss indeed! i'm still mad about the untimely death of our big rooster. i agree with Horst on the attack - unless big Grey just flopped over dead. :-/ do you have foxes? i wonder if that was what was grabbing your other one? a daytime attack is somewhat unusual unless it was a loose dog. i'm so sorry for your loss. :-(

Rhodesia said...

So sorry about your birds and all at once after all this time!! Our plums are not quite ready yet but on the verge of.....
Good luck with the new chicken house and security. Keep well Diane

Vera said...

Niall and Antoinette, what a good idea! A chicken RV!!!!! Now, how to make one.......

Jaana, we are slowly getting the place tidier, although sometimes it feels like a bit of a battle!

OhioFarmGirl, it does get a bit wearing when we keep losing livestock, as I am sure you will understand!

Diane, hope you are continuing to enjoy your summer break, except for having to deal with your soon-to-be plum harvest!