Yesterday was a bit stressful for me and the chooks. I basically bunged them all in to the Palace for two hours and sat next to the weld mesh waiting for a riot to break out. Surprisingly, it didn't. I mean, of course there was some stroppy squawking and chasing, but on the whole it was strangely peaceful. Betsy and Vera mainly lurked in the coop, occasionally venturing in to the run when they felt like tormenting one of the bigger girls. Winnie and Flo managed to keep mostly out of beaks way, and when Maeve did corner Winnie she merely issued a couple of half-arsed pecks before ambling off to eat something. This is very encouraging.
But today, I didn't feel like giving myself a stress fuelled heart attack. So I just let them get on with it and attempted to tidy the garden. So often as a chicken keeper you can be focused on this ailment, or that broody, that you can easily foget to simply enjoy the greedy feather bags mooching about the garden. You should sit back and smell the roses, as it were. So today I sat back and smelled the evil broody poo.
Maude is coming through her moult at long last, and is as beautiful as ever. Now that her quills are through she isn't in any discomfort and I can breathe a sigh of relief at another non-fatal moult. Mabel is holding on to her top hen status and continues to be a benevolent ruler, only sometimes feeling the need to flatten an underling. She doesn't bother with the newbies at all. Celia is still determinedly broody despite my best efforts. I am continuously turfing her out of the nest box and smothering her in mite powder. She stares at me glassily and coos at her imaginary eggs. Loon. Our beloved ASBO Chicken continues to skulk like a feathery ninja, and stages the odd ambush. She isn't particularly fussed whether her victim is human or chicken, but has a particular fondness for hiding under the trampoline and pouncing on the children's feet as they dismount. That's my girl.
Gladys is found next to Celia in the nest boxes, and her back end is indistinguishable from her front under all of the frizzling. She does have the sense to wander from the nest several times a day, though, so I'm more confident that she'll snap out of it of her own accord. Hilda is currently sporting exquisitely well manicured fingernails, as I gradually file them down. Her weeks of being broody led to crazy talon growth, so now when she walks across the patio she sounds like she's wearing heels. Now there's an image.
Betsy is still laying the odd egg. Very odd. If it isn't soft shelled it's the size of a five pence piece. I have given up worrying about it and just assume that Betsy's egg laying gubbins is wonky. She is not in the least bit bothered. Vera is still herding her giant babies and busy telling them off at every possible opportunity. It's really rather sweet. For their part, Winnie and Flo are wonderfully tolerant of the barmy Serama. Flo made her first proper 'bok-ARK' yesterday, and was exceedingly pleased with herself. She is growing in to a real beauty. Winnie is still playing catch up, but is a gentle and quiet pullet so far. I can see her being bottom of the pecking order, but not really minding much.
As I watched all ten of them scavenging the wheat I'd just thrown on the lawn, I thought to myself: I must post about this. That it's not all tragedy, illness or comedy gold. Sometimes it's just bloody lovely.
So go and watch your chooks and remind yourself why you bother.