Thursday, 29 July 2010

Hold me in your arms

Hey there chicken fans! So sorry for the delay in blogging but I have been away on business and not seen the girls hardly at all!

I had Monday off and was home in the afternoon so I let the girls out in the garden and anyone would have thought that it was their first chance of freedom! Now they have had a taste of it, they always want to be outside! On Tuesday, the gorgeous one worked from home and so they had all day in the garden, the lucky things! I did see a sneaky red-head in next doors garden(no, not Chris Evans), but little Charlie fox was heading in the opposite direction. I wondered in fact whether urban foxes would know what chickens were? Is it instinctive? How does a fox know the difference between a chicken and a dog? That's not a joke by the way. I wonder how intelligent a fox is. I know they're supposed to be sly and cunning but how clever are they? Are they cleverer than chickens or do they just overpower them with their size?

Whilst watching Jimmy Doherty's programme on chickens the other week (yes, chicken books, then chicken programmes), which was excellent by the way and had a big thing about rescue hens (which of course our girls are)it showed how clever chickens are at alerting each other and avoiding danger from predators and how they knew the difference between a real fox and a stuffed one! Some students even trained some of them to recognise where food was behind some paper windows, which just shows you how clever the chickens are - they got students to do something rather than drink and spend the tax payers money in the SU Bar!

Our girls are looking so well now. Mabel has absolutely beautiful feathers now, round tipped (which shows how healthy a chicken is according to the gorgeous one) and lush. Her fluffy white legs have turned brown with the new feathers and she doesn't have a scrawny neck any more. Mabel is also okay to pick up and has been having a few cuddles with the gorgeous one (but don't tell him I told you right?).

Yoko has also grown all new feathers, although she's the easiest to tell from the others as she's still a good few shades lighter brown than the other two, she will also let you stroke her and is my garden shadow. Yesterday she did an impression of Omelette running up the garden with her wings out which was very funny! She's also okay for a cuddle, should you fancy one!

Omelette has grown new feathers but her wings are still a bit sparse, I guess those will improve with time. She's still the comedy chicken and keeps trying to get into small gaps, I guess she'll never learn! She's also very vocal and desperately wants into the house, trying to get past the barrier that we put up so we can have the patio door open but keep the girls in the garden and if you leave the kitchen door open she makes a bee line for it!

One of my chicken followers has arranged for some meal worms for the girls (thanks so much) which I'm sure will go down a treat, they go frantic for them! I think our follower should come and give them to the girls themselves, the girls don't mind visitors you know, perhaps I could charge and be like a petting zoo????

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The weight of the wind

Omelette (the stupid) likes to try to squeeze herself between the brown garden waste bin and the house. The thing is she's a little too big to get all the way round it and so she goes halfway and realises she'll have to turn around again but can't because she's too big, so she always makes such a racket when she's trying to turn around again! Noisy, stupid chicken. It is quite funny watching her after she's done this actually as she always walks along the edge of the decking and 9 times out of 10 her right leg will slip down the gap between the decking and the fence. It looks like she's been drinking (you know when you slip off the kerb), perhaps she has? You'd think she'd learn after doing it once but I've seen her do it tons of times - oh well, it is Omelette we're talking about here. Today, she has also continued her obsession with the barbecue cover, but as it's on the barbecue right now, she was happy to get underneath it and sit herself on the shelf of the barbecue trolley.

Egg production is somewhat sporadic with a very strange egg arriving last week. The shell was very thin and looked like it was rumpled and had creases in it. The gorgeous one ate it and said it was very nice (as they all are), but I'm sure I read somewhere that it's a sign of the bird getting older (yes, all I read are chicken books) although we've not had one like it since - very odd. oh well, odd eggs from odd chickens....

I was going to be very hard hearted today and not let them out to distract me but I always crumble and feel sorry for them - they always give me such forlorn looks! So I told them they could come out as long as they'd laid some eggs for me and when I looked, there were two, so I couldn't really not let them out. It was very windy today but the girls didn't seem bothered and even seemed to stretch their necks out and stand taller in the breeze, letting the wind ruffle their feathers, I guess they've never felt the wind in their hair....

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Watching you, watching me

I must apologise, dear readers for the delay in getting this update to you, but I have been away and then busy and I've really not had time to write about the girls recently.

So, quick update and I promise the next one will be longer.

The girls are now so used to being out in the garden during the day that they line up at the door as soon as you walk anywhere near their run. If you don't let them out, you get quite a few disgruntled clucks, it's enough to make you feel a bit guilty (if you were that way inclined). If you don't want to let them out but need to get into the run (to change their water or food), you have to block the whole of the entrance with your body to prevent them from escaping and sometimes that doesn't work and they slip out through the smallest of spaces! They're getting canny, those girls of ours.

The girl child is convinced that they watch her when she eats her breakfast and thinks this is extremely funny, although both the boy child and the girl child felt really bad when we were eating chicken for our dinner on Saturday in the garden while the girls pecked around our feet, eating peas that had been dropped!

When they're not trying to get out, they're trying to get in! The gorgeous one was in the front room helping the girl child with her homework on Sunday when I walked into the kitchen to find Omelette also in the kitchen at the cat's dinner bowl, helping herself to Sophie's food as "someone" had left the back door open. Of course, that's an invitation to Omelette!

The girls continue to look healthier as each days passes, Omelette's comb is a darker shade of red now and is standing up more, Yoko has loads of new feathers down her front and we're going to have to watch Mabel with the rate she's growing new feathers to make sure she doesn't try and fly!

The gorgeous one has a new name for the girls, which is all around what they do all day but is not suitable to be written here, so if you really want to know, mail me and I'll tell you....

Monday, 5 July 2010

Cool for cats

Only one egg yesterday - a lovely big Mabel egg. The other two are destined for the pot - only joking, you can't eat layers....

On Saturday both Yoko and Omelette laid very late, so late Omelette wouldn't let Yoko go to bed, so you can see how late it was! I guess this could have something to do with the lack of eggs yesterday as they were all out of kilter.

Speaking of yesterday, the gorgeous one and I decided that as it was such a lovely day we'd have a barbecue and went off to get a lovely bit of steak and some corn on the cob. The gorgeous one barbied, while I ironed and the girls continued to destroy my garden. Whilst we were sitting down to eat said lovely barbecue, we heard a great ruckus in the garden on the decking. The gorgeous one got up to find that Omelette had gotten inside the barbecue cover and was laying down inside it - that is one strange chicken, needless to say she was evicted immediately.

I decided to work from home today as I had lots to do and thought it would be better to stay home and just get on with it. I wasn't going to let the girls out today as I find them a bit of a distraction but I felt mean keeping them in on such a lovely day while I'm here, so I buckled and let them out. I'm so soft.

Omelette was pecking around in the garden this morning and it looked like she was choking so I rushed out to see what was wrong and make sure she was okay. When I got to her, I saw she wasn't choking, she was eating a massive slug. It was quite disgusting, but she seemed to enjoy it - EW!!!! Yoko also made me laugh this afternoon, a magpie landed in the garden and Yoko walked to wards it to investigate what it was while the magpie looked on a little bit confused as to what this was walking towards it. Yoko kept walking and the magpie walked away, in the end it looked like Yoko was stalking it around the garden until it got worried that Yoko was getting a little too close and it flew off, much to Yoko's disappointment!

Sophie is happy to stay in and sleep on the windowsill all day - using the chickens as an excuse not to have to get up and go out. It's a cat's life eh?

Friday, 2 July 2010

3 is the magic number

As I write this morning, Mabel is sitting in her nesting box giving us a nice fresh egg! I know she's laying because she does have a tendency to announce it to the world. She does make some funny noises but then when you think about what she's trying to do, I suppose she's allowed to!

Let me give you the most exciting update of all.... Yesterday, we had 3, yes 3, eggs! Last night the gorgeous one was away for the night so I was the first one home. I went to let the girls out for a bit (to curry favour, you know) and on opening their nesting box I found an egg in each box and one in the perching area! How fabulous! We were a little worried that one of them wasn't laying at all and maybe we'd have to take trip to the vets, so that's a relief for us and our bank balance! I wonder if chickens can be covered by pet insurance?!?

This morning, as the gorgeous one is not here, I was on poo duty. I got up and let them out of their house (but not out of their run) and went back to bed and I don't have to be in the office today. I got up about half an hour later and went to do my "poo duty". I must say that it isn't a great job to do and the quickest way to get the poo out of their beds is not the most pleasant! BUT, I did it and with no complaints - that bit above was an explanation rather than a complaint. So they have two fresh beds, which Mabel left a lovely big egg in and then vacated to be replaced by Omelette (don't worry I removed the egg first), fresh food, water and a run that isn't full of poo - that is until I need to go out later for my meeting! I wonder if we'll get three eggs today and if I can capture each one after their laid so we know whose are whose....

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