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!