Fowl play

It is that time of year again: just when you think all is well and your hens are laying regularly, one of them decides to get broody. That means a cranky hen takes over the nest-box and prevents the others from laying eggs there!  This time the youngest of the hens started first.To stop her interference with the egg-production she was moved into an adapted rabbit hutch, and separated from the rest. Last year she was too restless and didn’t follow through, this time she sat patiently for 3 weeks and produced one chick, out of 3 eggs. At first I thought it was a boy: long tail-feathers being a clue. At about 8 weeks old it now looks more like a girl: wider tail feathers, comb looking small and no gills to show. It is notoriously difficult to sex newborn chicks, so I wait in anticipation: is it going to be for the pot, or increasing the flock as future egg-producer?

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Meanwhile a second hen took over the nest-box a few days ago and again brought the egg-laying to a halt. As the Maternity Ward is already occupied I had to come up with a new house for breeding. A chest of drawers was transformed into another ‘hutch’ with the bottom drawer left in for easy cleaning. Mommy is now happily sitting on her bed of straw, with 3 eggs under her. I found in the past that more eggs does not mean more chicks…..the very first time the mother was so busy fussing over the first 2 chicks, that she completely neglected the third one as it struggled its way out of the egg and then perished from the cold. The mothers can also be very clumsy and stand on their new children. Survival rate not great then. Last year saw the best egg-to-chick ratio: 3 survived out of 4 eggs. Alas, all were boys, which meant no expansion of the flock and a lot of fighting when they grew up. Noisy too, when they practiced crowing.SDC15732

But they all look cute when they are little.

Saili has arrived!

SDC16397Well, was it the new dog or the new job that got me distracted?SDC16392

I have neglected my blogging-duties and I blame the new pup! See for yourself, how can you resist that?

She came into our lives on May first and brought luck from the moment she arrived. A few days earlier I saw her picture on MADRA (Mutts Anonimus Dog Rescue and Adoption)’s facebook and fell in love! Those who know me see the resemblance with the previous dog, yes? I knew she’d be right for me, and I was right.

I weighed up the options for a name and finally settled on……Saili, pronounced as Sally. Yes, that’s also the name I use as willow witch. Crann Saili is willow tree in Irish. So there she was… and taking up all the attention.  Only a pup of about 5 months old, she started very shy and insecure. But soon got her confidence back: chewing everything in sight, running and jumping around the garden and following everywhere! She is a real sweetheart, loves giving licks and hugs. If you go away for 5 minutes, the welcome back is as if you were gone for 5 weeks! Forget about nice cushions on the couch for a while: she already has most of them ripped. Forget about having space in the bed at night, she has discovered this is the best place to be! Forget about going to the toilet alone, this is a social event that calls for hugs as you’re sitting down! And the garden is a world full of wonderful discoveries…. what do you mean I can’t eat stones? The hens are regularly herded back into their pen, as she is a cross of Lab/Collie and knows her herding-instinct. Maybe make a great sheepdog one day…..if she gets over her fear of larger animals. One bark at the cows behind the fence and then a fast run inside!

SDC16389And the fella who said he was alright without a dog?

Judge for yourself,  inseparable now.