Compassion in World Farming

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A close relationship.

My youngest son was asked to describe me in his German lesson. He said that we had a very good relationship & that I was funny & generous. Now I was quite chuffed with that! I do have a close relation ship with my sons, but they are all now teenagers & one is away at University. Of an evening Middle & Youngest Son are busy with homework, 'e-chatting' to friends or chilling out with their computer games. Hubby works way too hard, often long into the evening. I'm a very affectionate, maternal creature by nature so a lot of love gets lavished on my animals when family aren't available to hug & squeeze!

Of course, the biggest outlet for my motherly love at the moment is my chicklets. Each & every evening I spend at least half an hour just sitting with them (sometimes considerably longer I have to confess - am I weird?). I definitely have a close relationship with them. They enjoy my company & climb up onto my legs to be close to me. They aren't one bit nervous & have enormous trust in me. Which is all very lovely & sweet - until it comes to cleaning out time! It's an impossible task. They get everywhere. In the dustpan. On the rubbish bag. Under my feet. Inside the sawdust bag. It is both exasperating & comical. I don't know whether to scream or giggle!

After they're all clean I usually take some pics of them to post here or on Twitter. Well, of course, this takes a little concentration & it means I'm not chatting to them. So the little monkeys took exception to my photography efforts this week & did everything in their power to get my full attention! They tugged at my trouser bottoms, they pulled on my camera strap, they perched on my arms & they got up so close and personal that it was impossible to take their picture anyway! Naughty they were, like spoilt kiddies! However, I did manage a few shots:

'Bonkers' my Chamois Polish Frizzle cockerel enjoying a snooze on my knee

Chicklets enjoying some mixed corn

Back of this photo is 'Teddy' who I'm positive is a Blue Silkie cockerel - he's so cute!

The Blue Silkies & the Polish bantams are all happy to be held & cuddled. They love it if I cup them in my hands. They visibly relax & snuggle into the warmth. They gaze up into my face with looks of wonderment - what kind of creature are you mummy? You don't have feathers like us? It's especially moving when the Silkies gaze up with their big, soulful, black puddles of eyes. They completely melt my heart. The pretty Porcelain D'Uccles are happy to be close to me & hop on & off my knee, but they don't enjoy being touched so much. All 3 breeds are totally engaging.

Spending time with the chicklets has meant that I have an incredibly special bond with them that I hope won't diminish as they grow. Spending time with birds when they are youngsters strengthens the relationship you have with them for sure. My Muscovy & Cherry Valley ducks that we've had since ducklings are far tamer than the rest of the ducks who were older when we got them. These are the first chickens we have reared ourselves so it will be fascinating to see the difference in the way they behave around us when they are older compared to the rest of the birds.

Not all of the chicklets will be staying with me. My friend Andy is having a couple of the Blue Silkies if enough turn out to be pullets (young hens). They'll have a fantastic home with him. But I know already that when the day comes it will be a wrench. Just as it was for him when I collected the 4 cockerels he had raised. At the moment only 1 of the 6 Silkies is obviously a cockerel (Teddy), so I'm hoping things will work out perfectly.

Until then, I'll carry on being Mother Hen to all of my babies & enjoy every single second of it!


  1. I think its wonderful, and they so obviously love you to bits!!! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! and please continue to share with us!!
    Much Love, Jane xxx

  2. How lovely! I really enjoyed reading this - it must be wonderful to be so close to them - you can really feel the love as you describe them.

  3. That cockerel looks fabulous. You sure he's not a closet showgirl?

    You're absolutely right about the rewards of hands-on contact, gentle words and then there's a good dollop of patience - all those, you end up with birds that are truly better developed, less inclined to panic as chickens do, and, I think, probably a lot more aware and 'canny' as well. x

  4. I should add, cockerels have such a bad reputation sometimes but I'm finding little Mulder a joy to have around. He's good as gold, still enjoys being a parrot on my shoulder, and makes me laugh and smile all the time.

    All these birds are a fantastic antidote to the horrors of life. Spending time with them, it helps you release the burdens and connect to nature.

    I think they're psychologically beneficial, that's the phrase! :-)

  5. I have a white pair of silkies and a blue pair of silkies. The are cute even as adults. But they don't get the attention yours do, and a bit skiddish.

  6. Your description of trying to photograph the chicks reminded me of when a friend was putting electricity into my barn. He asked what he should do about the chickens and I said "oh, I'm sure they'll just run outside when you come to their pen." What did I know? He was greatly flattered that they took intense interest in the process, gathering at the foot of the ladder and telling him how to do his job!