Compassion in World Farming

Monday, 17 August 2009

Hurray - I have my garden back!

This weekend wonderful, long suffering hubby fenced off a section of our little field so that I could do a strategic move around of the birds & reclaim the back garde100_1675n before it got totally trashed by scavenging hens & ducks! Twice injured ex-battery hen Jess had healed up again & re grown some neck feathers, but I wasn't feeling confident enough to put her in with the rest of the hens. Puddles the Khaki Campbell duck was much recovered from the unwanted & rather rough attentions of Seymour the Ayle100_1687sbury, but it was pointless putting her back in the field with him still on the prowl. The rescued Mallard ducklings had adopted Puddles as surrogate mum, so where ever she went the ducklings would want to go. What was best to do so that every bird's welfare was catered for? Well, after a bit of head scratching 100_1569a plan was hatched, birds were caught & after a few ruffled feathers & surprised squawks a slightly puffed out eldest son & I had got it all sorted. Seymour was moved into the sectioned off area with his own mate Daisy so that poor Puddles could safely go up into the field with her duckling charges. Injured hen Jess, being quite used to ducks, was moved in with them making her visible to the other hens but safe from any aggression. This tactic will hopefully mean that a further attempt at introducing her to the flock might be successful, fingers crossed.

When freed back into the field Puddles immediately wad100_1669dled over to rejoin Donald the Khaki Campbell drake & seemed to completely forget about her babies, so they looked bewildered & vulnerable to start with. However, lovely Chalk, my special Muscovy duck, soon arrived to investigate the new arrivals & seemingly sensing that they were only youngsters immediately took up position as th100_1666eir protector, seeing off some hens who flew at them rather aggressively. So with their unusual bodyguard the ducklings explored their new surroundings & companions. Pop, the gander, headed their way, head down, & for a moment I thought they were in trouble, but he was only making his presence known as top bird & king of the field.100_1678 After just a few minutes the ducklings looked quite at home & were busily foraging for goodies in the grass. I knew that one discovery would make them extremely happy - the ponds! Sure enough, once they discovered the water they were happy little fellows happily swimming & splashing about. All four can fit into one pond, which is quite sweet to 100_1686see. One of the Mallards (the one we call Ibbity) has a complete set of feathers now, but so far has shown no interest in flying away. I have stuck to the RSPB's advice & not clipped their wings so it is a case of 'will they' / 'won't they' fly off. They seem pretty contented at the moment anyway.

Seymour & Daisy didn't seem too perturbed at being separated from the rest of the ducks, but Tom & Cherry, the Cherry Valley ducks, were quite confused by the fact that they could no longer follow Seymour about in the hero worshipping manner they have humorously adopted. Silly billy Jess managed to get herself over the fence into the main field & was immediately surrounded by unwelcoming hens & had to be lifted back to safety! No injury this time though, so some slight progress I feel. She hasn't tried again since!

This afternoon all looks peaceful, with Tom & Cherry sat at the fence gazing at Seymour, the Mallard ducklings sat with Puddles, who seems to have taken up position of mother duck again, & everyone else just going about their business as usual. So I think I might dare begin tidying up my garden & plan some planting. However, Hubby says he has a sneaking suspicion that it won't be too long before some other rescued or orphaned creature will take up residence again. I can't imagine what makes him think that!

To finish here's picture of my gorgeous Muscovy drake Cheese, just because he was posing so nicely!



  1. the church nearby is just like our church, which I can see from my cottage!!!
    You know I would love some geese! next buy me thinks......the season for goslings is over though isnt it!>??

    lovely pics

  2. Ahhh they're all so gorgous.I have serious duck envy. I hope the little mallards stick around.

    I'll finish up my post about cottage gardens soon(remind me if I don't) in case you need any inspiration for converting your garden back to a garden.

    jess x

  3. Oh how wonderful to see everything has been managed. I have just let my girls out for the morning! Jo my gander has had his bread and is sitting by his pond with his bag of sand! Bless!

  4. John - geese are wonderful! We raised one of ours from day old gosling which was such a rewarding experience & I'm thinking of incubating an egg or 2 next breeding season (you are right to think gosling season is over now until next Spring). The building you can see is actually our neighbour's barn conversion, but it does look a church like with it's lovely arched windows. Glad you enjoyed the pics x

    Jess - you must get some ducks if you love hens! I'd welcome any planting advice you can give me as I really don't know what I'm doing flower wise. I'm starting to think the Mallards might stay around, but trying not to get my hopes up too much.

    Mrs Nesbitt - I'm glad your girls have settled in so well :-D

  5. Well done Sis, nice to suthe progress being made, I love the way your showing such care and attention to jess and the ducklings, your a star, keep it up!

  6. p.s. forgive my bad spelling, i meant to say nice to see the progress being made, my bad!

  7. I love the look of your ducks but the farmer is not keen, saying they make too much mess, so I have to make do with hens. I had a bad experience with geese as I raised two from eggs under a bantam. As adults they set on one of my black bantams and killed it - they then started on my little elderly white hen and I just rescued her in time. They were a breeding pair so I gave them away to a farmer who breeds geese. (My friend had two who attacked her - they ended up in her freezer!)

  8. Weaver - it sounds like I am very lucky that my gander shares the field so well with the hens, ducks & goats! I shall tell him how wonderful he is!

  9. What an idyllic place this looks! I imagine it sounds lovely to wake with all the quacking noises outside - that would put me in a happy state of mind right away!

  10. Raph - thank you! Fortunately our lovely neighbours don't mind being woken up by the sound of clucking, quacking, honking & bleating!!