A Day of Highs and Lows

Sad news from the plot this morning. I ambled down before work to find one our little bantams had passed away in the New Coop. Initially, I thought it was Foxy, but closer inspection of the comb revealed it wasn’t. It’s such a shame as she was growing into a lovely bird (albeit a very bossy one!) and I am sure that Gordon will miss his partner in crime.

One of the most memorable incidents with Little Miss was the day, not so long ago, when she got herself entirely wedged into the Omlet Glug drinker. It took ages for me to get her out! I’m sure that she would have continued to lead us a merry dance over the years. Upsetting though it is, after years of keeping chickens, I know that sometimes they suddenly pass away without showing any signs of illness. I slowly walked around the coop checking on all the birds and make sure no one was showing signs of illness. Nothing obviously wrong with Gordon or three of his girls. The fourth was a different matter.

I spotted Trixie was having difficulty integrating into the New Coop, being quite severely bullied by two of the other girls. Determined not to lose another chicken, I picked her up and walked home with her in my arms. I got some hilarious confused looks from the neighbours, which after nearly eight years, I would have hoped such sights would no longer come as a surprise! Currently, Trixie is at home as she has been struggling in the New Coop. She has a rather big bald patch on the back of her head and has a slight limp. When I carried her home, she seemed quite light. She’ll spend a week at home in her own private coop with a mountain of food to allow her to recuperate (pun intended!).

After work, I popped down again to pick some strawberries. They have gone absolutely berserk this year which is wonderful but I am rapidly running out of strawberry recipes! Even after quality control on the way home and donating some to friends at the allotment and a passing neighbour, there was still nearly 1.5kg left! My husband adores strawberries but even his enthusiasm may flag when presented with a mountain of fruit! I’m planning on freezing some then using the rest for strawberry muffins and jam over the weekend.

While I was at the allotment, I was joined by Nikki and the children. Dylan has been begging his parents for chickens and always the helpful neighbour, I have enthusiastically encouraged his interest, topping it off by offering him two of the little bantams to keep once his chicken coop arrives. We spent some time in the coop together and I showed Dylan how to hold them carefully, folding the wings against their body and holding them gently but firmly. Orin came to join us and seemed very keen until they started flapping! The two bantams I have chosen are two of the  partridges – the biggest one with little gold colouring and her sister who has much more gold. The Littlest Bantam who loves to sit on my shoulder I cannot part with – I think she is also the one I helped hatch last year.

The day ended on an exciting note as I have managed to buy three bantam chickens from a local breeder in Crewe. Two of them are blue-silver millefleurs with undertones of red in their feathers. The breeder is trying to develop a pure blue-silver bantam and our new girls have too much red in their feathers. They are a mum and daughter pair which is lovely. The third pullet is rather special – a chocolate pekin with a crooked beak. As soon as I saw her, I knew I had to have her! It’s going to be a long wait until Saturday until I can pick them up!

The plan is to move Maude and Mavis back home to their retirement home. Then in the Omlet by the shed, put Trixie, Foxy and the new chocolate pekin. The blue-silver millefleurs will go into the New Coop, joining the other little bantams. 

It’s going to be a busy weekend! Here’s hoping the forecast rain isn’t too heavy as the coops need cleaning out again!

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