Archive for May, 2014

Broody Hens

May 24, 2014

This year it seems that more hens than ever have been bitten by the ‘broody bug’.

I was warned that bantams are good mothers and it certainly seems true for mine. As soon as they started laying they hoarded their eggs and wanted to sit on them.

Belinda became a mum in November and I was forced to give her and her babies to a chap who has a ‘teaching farm’ as there was no spare room in the chicken coops.

Then Briony started in the Spring but none of her eggs hatched so I had to buy some two day old chicks for her. They are now living happily with the flock. However, if there are any cockerels,among them Hector will not be pleased once they start crowing. I’ve named them Claude/Claudine,  Charley, Rose, Ruby and Susie for the time being.

Beattie, another bantam. has the habit of flying over into the cats and dog’s  half of the garden.where she can hold her own despite her size. Kica wouldn’t hurt anyone but when she tried to play with Beattie the little hen regarded it as an attack and she flew at Kica’s nose.Then, Beattie went missing and I was afraid I might come across her little body in the grass. It wasn’t like her not to appear at feeding time.

There was no sign of her for several days and then, all of a sudden she came to the conservatory door demanding food. I followed her after her meal and she had made a nest behind the raspberry canes where she had laid 12 eggs. I brought her indoors and settled her in a cage with her eggs but, once again, no chicks hatched. That meant another trip, to the neighbouring .department;this time, to buy chicks of a suitable age. Beattie is now enjoying looking after her six babies.

Then Briony went missing and I found her in the bushes sitting on 10 eggs. I brought her inside and made up a ‘nest’ with a couple of boxes, but she escaped and abandoned her eggs. She seems to have given up being broody now. What a relief!

BUT, back in the chickens’ half of the garden both Hilda and Henrietta went missing. They are the only ‘big girls’ who have been broody in the past. They put in an appearance from time to time but rarely together. However, after searching the long grass and the nettles without success I discovered that they had made a nest TOGETHER under the tarpaulin that covers the henhouse. At least, they are well protected from the weather but i can’t see how many eggs they have laid or whether they have a clutch each or not.

It’s strange because they have never been exactly friendly towards one another but now they are practically sitting on top of each other.

Beattie and her little family will need the cage for another few weeks so I have no option but to leave Hilda and Henrietta outside and wait and see what happens.

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A Travel Nightmare

May 17, 2014

My sister and her husband come and stay with us for a few days every year but last week their journeys were fraught with problems.

They decided to break the outward trip and stay a night in Calais so that they could be here by lunchtime on Monday.

During the morning I had a text from W saying that R had locked the keys in the car.. The people at the hotel had tried to find a solution but as it is a new, all singing all dancing, model (a company car) no garage would even agree to look at it (with no guarantee of opening it) for less than 300 euros. If you try to break into these new ‘ technologocally advanced’  vehicles, apparently, they would become immobilised.

The only thing for it was for R to take the ferry back to Dover and meet his son who had to drive down from Norfolk after work with a spare set of keys. The ferry company would not allow him to come back on the night boat as a foot passenger (!!!) so he had to wait for the 8.35 crossing on Tuesday. He booked a night at the nearest Premier Inn while W stayed another night in Calais. She couldn’t go back to England as they had their dog with them and dogs are not allowed into the country without a veterinary certificate signed between 24 and 48 hours before travelling.

Well, they finally got here on Tuesday afternoon and we had a pleasant – if rather quiet – time together.

They left on Friday morning and messaged to say they had arrived at Calais in good time and were in the queue for an earler train.

However, later that day when I received a message, instead of saying ‘we’re home’ it said they were held up in a 2 hour tailback following an accident. They didn’t get back until 8.30 that evening and had to stop by a MacDonalds as they hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

I do hope it hasn’t put them off coming again.

News Update

May 17, 2014

Well, Bear saw the surgeon about his back and the news isn’t good.

He is too old to be operated on considering all his other medical problems and, to cut a long story short, the surgeon says he will gradually get worse and less and less mobile until he blocks  up completely.

He is understandably depressed.

The new physio we have found is very good. He comes in every day during the week and massages Bear’s painful joints. Then he supervises a walk for as far as he can manage.

As for Whale, he has a rather delicate problem. A hole has appeared at the base of his (I’m not writing the word because I don’t want to attract unwanted visits via Google).

Our GP, the nurses and carers are all intrigued but when he saw a urologist at the hospital, all he could suggest was that the nurses disinfect it daily. He says if he sewed it up it would probably reappear. . . . . . . .