Beaten by the Heat

Late morning, we walked to the allotment excited to see how many chicks Cliff’s broody had managed to hatch. The heat was already climbing significantly and we knew we would have to wait until evening for it to be co enough to do anything other than feeding the chickens.

We arrived to find a few people still there – most had arrived early to beat the heat. Upon opening up the shed, my husband noticed a squeaking noise accompanied by a rustle. Searching around the shed, he gave a shout of triumph. Two small mice were running around in a bag and were struggling to get out. Carefully, my husband brought the bag outside and gently lowered the top to let them out. I just about managed to get a photo before they shot off!

Moving on, we each sorted a different coop, I checked on our chicks whilst my husband sorted out the girls in the main coop. By the time I had finished with the chicks, I pottered down to check on Rey. Poor Rey, she is still keeping under the nest box most of the time. As per yesterday, we blocked off a side of the coop to let her get to the food and water bowls safely. Millie was still bullying her and we wondered whether we should move Millie out for a couple of days to give Rey a break. Then once Rey is integrated, reintroduce Millie. We didn’t move her today but we decided to try it another day if Millie kept going for Rey.

I next ambled over to Leia’s coop. I spotted her grooming her feathers outside in the fresh air. When she saw me, up went the hackles and the angry broody growl warned me not to get too close. Taking advantage of her temporary absence from the nest, I had a quick look at how many eggs she was currently sitting on. Hilariously, Leia had managed to steal 2 more of Rey’s eggs before we moved her out. I left everything exactly as it was and quietly walked away.

Hoping Leia was just taking a short break from sitting on her eggs, we walked up to check on Cliff’s chicks. When we opened the door, we found three beautiful fluffy yellow chicks. The broody was extremely protective so we didn’t stay long. We caught up with Cliff who said he had removed one chick who had a deformity on its side and hadn’t survived. Added to this, one hatched egg had partially covered an unhatched one sitting over it. This meant the chick inside would still be stuck even if it had got through its own egg shell. It’s sad when chicks don’t pull through but three healthy chicks is a wonderful result for an eight year old hen, and Cliff is very happy with his new birds.

Before we left, finally conceding that the heat was too much, I walked back to see if Leia had gone back to her eggs. She wasn’t outside so I opened the nest box door. There she was, resplendent on her eggs, giving me her best broody death stare. Interestingly, when she had resettled, she had pushed out two eggs. Broody hens do this either when they are sitting on too many or recognise that those eggs aren’t developing. Despite Leia never having been broody before, she must instinctively know what’s happening in her eggs because both eggs she pushed out were Rey’s. Using a stick, I carefully rolled the eggs towards the door. I daren’t reach close to Leia – I knew she would take pieces out of me. Nervously, I picked up both eggs once they were within a few inches of the door. Leia watched my every move suspiciously but thankfully didn’t peck me.

When we go back later, we will water the plants and try to dig over the bottom section of the plot. In the meantime, I am planning my design for my new pond. The liner arrived this morning to great excitement!

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