Saturday, 31 July 2010
Just popping by to post a link to pic of new arrvials Snuzzle & Jessie :0) Florence pekin has decided that Peek & Boo are more than enough for her, so these 2 are being hand reared. So I'm a surrogate Momma Hen again - it's a hard life ;)
Another chick hatched overnight,it's the smallest wee thing I've ever seen. It's grey & yellow & I think one of my little Barbu d'Uccles must be the daddy. This chick will be staying with Nutmeg, who is busy mothering it whilst still brooding the remainings eggs she's been sat on. She's an amazing little girl!
Also, I have 14 eggs cooking away in the incubator at Gas Mark Egg. These are Scots Dumpy eggs that I'm hatching out on behalf of Caithness Rare Breeds . I'll tell you all about my work with this wonderful charity in my next post.
Until next time I wish you bright blessing in harmony with all that is
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
A couple of days ago I peered in at the broody ladies & could hear tiny cheeps coming from underneath one of them. Then the tiniest, CUTEST little black Pekin chick popped it's head out from underneath Florence's feather petticoats! After 7 years of poultry keeping I was finally able to celebrate my first natural hatching - BIG FAT YAY!
Middle Son & I carefully carried Florence & chick down to the garden & popped them into an old rabbit hutch where they would have peace & quiet & be safe from the cockerels. Want to see? Here is proud Momma Florence with little Boo:
The following day another, almost identical chick popped out from underneath Nutmeg!! As Nutmeg still had eggs under her I took the new arrival down to the garden & popped it in with Florence & Boo. Florence gave no 2 chick a bit of a peck at first, but undeterred little Peek wriggled underneath her new Momma & from then on became one of the family unit.
Florence has been a perfect Momma Hen, fussing & clucking away at her babies. It really is a joy to watch. Here she is teaching Boo (or is it Peek?!) to feed:
Now Snow White, another silkie cross, has joined the fearsome egg sitters so I'm hoping that some more chicks will hatch very soon. Then Nutmeg can be a Momma Hen too after her hours of dedicated broodiness.
Although I feel slightly redundant after being used to playing the Momma Hen role myself there is nothing quite as beautiful as watching a natural mother with her babies. The hatching was certainly a lot less stressful! No endless checking of an incubator & the worries & responsibilites artificial hatching brings. Just managed perfectly and simply by Mother Nature. Another of life's truly wonderful miracles.
So, Jess, if you read this, this must make you an honorary Aunty at the very least :0)
Saturday, 10 July 2010
I will continue the update of my la-la-land of feathered creatures shortly, but I am in philosophical mood so I thought I’d share a thought with you.
I believe we are all born with a vibration inside us, a longing, a wildness. To achieve inner peace & true contentment we search for things that resonate with us. Some of us try to resonate with artificial stimulants e.g. wealth, material possessions, power, gambling, drink, drugs, pornography. We find they excite our inner wildness maybe. But they do not bring peace.
I believe that in order to find our Zen, that perfect balance of resonance, we need to connect to the natural world around us. To look at a sunset with fresh eyes. To wander barefoot & truly feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth beneath our toes. To take in the majesty of wild creatures around us. To appreciate the fragile beauty of rose petals or a butterfly’s wings
Only when we open our eyes again, childlike, do we find that the resonance we need is all around us. Waiting, forever there should we just reach out & touch it.
Be it the wildness of stormy waves crashing against a pebble beach, the haunting cry of an eagle soaring high on mystic thermals, the bright treasure of the colours in a rainbow or the serene peace of a deserted walk across untouched wilderness. Whatever your inner wild, there is a place for you that you can call home. You just need to take that walk with Mother Earth.
Bright blessings to you in harmony with all that is,
Sunday, 4 July 2010
So what’s been happening in Sara’s la-la-land of critters?……………
Well, first of all Daffy, Dougie, Pip, Orville and Scrummy all grew up big & strong. They spent some time in our back garden ……
…..then soon they were big enough to introduce to the rest of the birds in our little field…..
So now they are fully fledged members of our gang, but still so tame & friendly that if you sit on the grass for any length of time you have to be prepared to be climbed on & tickled all over by them. They will also regularly check & double check that your fingers, toes & ear lobes are not removable! Needless to say they are adored! Happily Pip, Eve, Scrummy & Orville are females so they will be our forever friends. Sadly both Dougie & Daffy, the black Cayugas, have turned out to be drakes so with an incredibly heavy heart I have had to make the decision to rehome one of them. I don’t know which one will go yet, but luckily wonderful Stephen of the charity I’ve been supporting, Caithness Rare Breeds, has offered one of the guys a forever home with him up in Scotland, where I know they will be loved & cared for as much as they would be here with me.
Knowing that I have to part with one of my ducks after hand rearing them & developing that ever so special bond with them has made me come to my senses & admit that I am not cut out to be a poultry breeder. There is no way I could have sold either Dougie of Daffy to a stranger & not know for sure kind of home they were going to. I am just completely unable to treat my creatures as commodities. As soon as they join us each one has a place in my heart & the love I feel for them is very strong motherly love. Instantly my role is to nurture & protect them. Knowing they are well cared for & happy makes me feel content inside & the thought of sending them somewhere where they may not be treated with the same love & respect just doesn’t sit easy with me at all. So my new rule is ‘what hatches here stays here’! As we have a fair number of drakes & cockerels this probably means no more hatching for me for some time yet, but so be it.
Now there is one exception to my new rule, but I’ll get on to that a bit later……
So the first set of ducklings were all grown up & settled in our little field. You may remember that when I last blogged (yes, I know it was AGES ago!) in the incubator I had 6 duck eggs kindly given to me by my lovely Twitter friend Jeni (@seren9), replacement Frizzle Pekin eggs from my other wonderful Twitter friend Victoria (@scrummycupcake) & 6 rare breed black Croad Langshan eggs. Well sadly none of the Pekin eggs were any good again & the Croad Langshan eggs were disappointing too, but what did hatch was one lonely little Croad chick followed by 4 adorable ducklings!
Poor little Croad chick, named Sooty, had to wait a whole week to have friends to share the brooder with, but he loved the little ducklings straight away! Although they quickly grew bigger than him the fabulous 5 maintained a funny little relationship with the ducklings (Hope, Peace, Charity & Nibbler) forever following their funny little Croad friend around!
Sooty is a little rooster, but I’m not sure of the sex of the not so little ducklings yet. They are still living happily together & are now out in our back garden.
The ducklings have such sweet natures & love our company. Whenever they hear our voices they come running over to see us, little webbed feet slip slapping on the ground. They have even learnt to climb the four steps to our garden gate to say ‘hello’! Wherever the ducklings go poor confused Sooty goes too. Apart from sensibly realising water was not for him I’m convinced the little chap thinks he’s a duck!
In amongst all the excitement of hatching eggs along came 4 ex battery hens to join us at our retirement home full only of love & tender care. No more small cages & miserbale lives, but hello grass,fresh air & sunshine. Rescuing ex battery hens is always very emotional for me. I always cry when I first see the state they are in, then cry fresh tears of happiness when they arrive home with us & experience freedom for the first time.
Named Polly, Queenie, Ruby & Sally the 4 ladies amazed me by settling calmly & confidently with none of the fighting & mishaps I had experienced with the first lot we took on (remember how poor Jess was injured?). So before long it was time to tentatively sneak them into the big henhouse under cover of dark & hope they would be accepted by the other chickens. Again I’m happy to say there were no problems whatsoever & you really would find it hard to pick out which are the new batch & which the old batch of ex battery ladies now. Well, that is apart from Ruby. Ruby is particularly special.
Ruby had the least feathers& was the smallest of the 4 when they came to us. Ruby loves us with every breathe in her body. If she could live as a house chicken she would. She follows us around everywhere, singing her happy song of freedom as she goes. She loves cuddles, she loves any kind of closeness with us. She is one very special little lady & I hope she has along & happy retirement with us. She reminds me each & every day of how horrible battery farming is & that no animal deserves to be treated in such a way. To my mind there is absolutely no excuse or justification in today’s society for the terrible conditions that not just chickens but other farm & game animals have to endure. End of. If anyone has any doubt in their mind that it is worth spending an extra few pennies on higher welfare, free range eggs & meat then come & meet Ruby. She will forever change your mind.
Well, my eyes have filled with tears & I think I need to take a little break dear Blog, but I will continue soon with the story of more hatchings, dear favourites such as my mad Polands & yet more arrivals!