Compassion in World Farming

Monday, 23 November 2009

Is it a chick or is it a kitty cat?

First of all apologies for the infrequency of my blogging recently. I do not have a computer of my own at the moment so have to pinch time on my Middle son's PC whenever I can. As this is often only for a moment or two I have found it easier to 'Tweet' brief updates to family & friends via Twitter.

Well, our little barn is still full of holes, fans & dehumidifiers as work continues to discover the cause of our leak & dry our property out. Chem Dry have taken new damp readings & our moisture levels have gone down from 60-70% to around 20%, so we are getting there. Once the readings are less than 10% the insurance company will give the go ahead for the repairs & thankfully we do appear to be covered for everything that needs replacing - phew! Having seen all the heart breaking images of the flooding misery in Cumbria our problem just pales into insignificance really doesn't it? My only wish is that the place will be in a fit state for Xmas as Mum & Dad are due to stay with us. I don't think damp, noisy conditions will be good for my Dad, who has Parkinson's Disease.

On a much more positive & happy note here are some recent pictures of the chicklets, who have all now taken to jumping up for cuddles & strokes like little kitty cats!

Maybe it was the fetching (NOT!) combination of pink Wellibobs & black yoga pants that attracted them to my lap in this picture, but as soon as I parked my backside my little cherubs came over to talk to me!

First Conkers, a Chamois Polish Frizzle bantam, jumped up. She is most certainly a hen & incredibly cuddly & friendly. She loves it if I cup her in my hands & gently stroke her feathers.

Then 'Bonkers' joined her, together with Blue Silkie 'Patrick'.

I'm pretty sure that Bonkers is a cockerel, as he has darker feathers around his shoulders & longer tail feathers than Conkers. Patrick I am now beginning to think may be a Patricia! It's so hard to tell with Silkies when they are this young. The reason for my change of heart is that only one of the Blue Silkies is showing signs of wattles growing in & I know in Silkies these are much more prominent in the male. So maybe I have one cockerel & five hens? That would be perfect, but only time will tell. If anyone has any tips or advice they could share with me on sexing them I would be most grateful.

After their fusses Conkers & Patrick / Patricia decided my legs would be a nice cosy place to roost for the night! Cheeky monkeys!

The rest of my lovely brood were falling asleep at my feet.

I know that I may be a little eccentric (OK maybe quite a lot!), but I do love sitting out in the garden shed with my babies. Having watched them hatch out of their eggs I feel incredibly maternal & protective towards them. My heart swells with love when they jump up to see me. When they look me in the eye with trust I feel proud. I love the feel of their soft feathers against my skin when they sit in my hands & they enjoy snuggling up to the warmth of my body, just like they would a mother hen. Rearing them has been the most rewarding experience. Watching them emerge wet & exhausted from the shell after their fight into this world & then grow so quickly into fully feathered, self sufficient little birds reminds me of just how amazing Mother Nature & the cycle of life is.

The chicklets are nearly 8 weeks old now. If I am correct in my cockerel count I will be looking for some Chamois Polish & Porcelain D'Uccle bantam hens early next year to make sure I have a sufficient male:female ratio so would love to hear from anyone who breeds them.

It is still very wet & windy here & this coupled with the darker evenings has meant I haven't been able to send nearly as much time in our little field with my bigger birds as I would like to. However, although clearly fed up with the miserable weather, all the hens are fit & healthy & the young cockerels are growing bigger & more handsome every day. Poor Mr Dorking got blown into one of the duck ponds the other day as he was taking a drink from it! He came to no harm because we have breeze blocks in them to help the ducks get out, but I'm afraid his pride was rather dented. He looked around sheepishly to see if any of the hens had noticed his little accident. I don't think it helped that I had to suppress a giggle at the sight of him soggily stalking away across the field! The wind soon blew him dry & in no time his feathers were back to their magnificent best, lovely fellow.

On the other hand, the ducks of course are revelling in this weather. No matter how I tut at their muddy faces, they happily continue dabbling in the big puddles that have formed & turning our little field into a quagmire! Their tails wag as they greedily gobble whatever tasty morsels are brought to the surface.

Talking of ducks, Mayo, a lovely gentleman who reads my blog regularly has had his rescued Muscovy stolen from him. I know how devastated I would be if I lost Chalk or Big Cheese so please keep him in your thoughts & pray that by some small miracle she may find her way back to him.


  1. love the feet and chicken're as mad as a box of frogs!!!

    lovely to see them

  2. Whoever said that chickens and ducks dont have personality has never known them as pets. Glad to see you kids are growing so nicely.

  3. Heh heh, your as mad as a hatter sis, you big pink welly wearing hippy you!! nice pictures of the chicks though, been thinking of you and your field during the awfull weather, glad it hasn't affected you too badly.

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  5. Hello Sarah.

    What can I say ; it's many decades since I was described as lovely ; and I'm not totally convinced that I've ever been a gentleman, but it was astonishly kind of you to say so.
    The latter description was always my aristocratic Prussian Grandmother's ambition for me ; she'd be delighted that I've finally made it !!

    Still, predictably, missing Zoomie Terribly.
    I think the chances of a happy ending are very small now ; but I'm determined that there will be another Zoomie one day : I'd forgotten what wonderfully entertaining and loving companions they are.
    MUCH more than the rescue cat I'd fed, watered and entertained for the eight years until he died earlier this year, without so much as a purr of thanks, or even recognition, in all that time !!

    As soon as I find a new place to live - with land and water for lots of birds and animals (and maybe, even, some sort of dwelling for me!!) - there'll definately be another muscovy.

    Hope I didn't make too much of a mess of the comments section of your earlier post. I was trying, unsuccessfully, to add some pics of Z.

    Off to my Norfolk home tommorrow - no 'phone, so no internet access there, so I probably won't be cluttering up your blog again until after Christmas.

    So . . . I wish you and yours - both two and fourlegged - the happiest of Christmases and your very best year yet to follow.

    Many, many thanks for your kindnesses.

  6. Max, I will miss your comments my friend. I hope your heart will not be too heavy following the loss of your Z. Ducks are indeed wonderful companions & I do so hope you will be able to fulfil your dream. (Your idea of the perfect home is much like my own!) Take care of your self & may you have a Merry Xmas & a very happy 2010. Warmest of wishes, Sara xx

  7. .
    Hello Sarah.
    Do hope all is well with you and yours.

    DEFINATELY off to Norfolk first thing tomorrow; but wanted to try this first - hope it works :