Yesterday I decided to count the chickens and find out exactly what we had, the numbers shift and change slightly and I do need to keep refreshing the numbers in my head especially after a sale. The most frequent question we are asked by any visitor to the farm is "how many birds do you have ?" so I like to have the answer in my head.
Of course getting them to stand still while you count them is impossible, a handful of corn does the trick for a few moments so you have to be ready with your paper and pen to hand.
It doesn't help that on a hot day after a quick nibble they all scoot straight back under the henhouse to rest in the shade ...
... nothing for it but another handful of corn, this time mixed with some meal worms, now that always gets their attention!!
So posterity we now have -
1 Cockerel - Caldwell II
1 Light Sussex - Harriet
8 Hylines - Mother Goose, Angel and 'the Mob'
3 Bluebells - Belle Beauty and Brandy
3 Skylines - Dolly, Enid and Ethel
3 Black Marans - 'the Gang'
1 Amber White - Amber
2 Black Maran Bantams - Titch and Tiny
2 Lavender Pekin Bantams - Poppy and Daisy
1 Black Pekin Bantam - Ebony
6 Silkie Chicks
No names yet but they are 1 ginger, 1 yellow, 1 'tabby' and 3 black and grey (one of which is teeny tiny)
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So we have in total -
24 Hens (19 full sized and 5 Bantams),
= 31 Birds
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So we are at full capacity in the henhouse :-)
Caldwell is really coming into his own again as the one and only cockerel, even though most of his wives are much bigger than him. The damage done to the birds by Harold is slowly healing and they are all growing their feathers back which is lovely to see, we still have the odd bald back and elbow but on the whole they are recovering quickly. Caldwell is a much gentler cockerel and the girls are fast enough to outrun him if they are not 'in the mood'.
Ebony and her chicks are doing brilliantly, she is a fantastic little mother, rounding her babies up at any sight of danger and quickly herding them into their new house for security. Her first sighting of a helicopter, (we have a lot flying low over here as we are quite close to RAF Benson), made her very wary but now she is used to them and after a glance above carries on with whatever little lesson she is teaching them.
The black shallow tray in the run is a mix of soil and sand, yesterday she was showing them how to take a dust bath, I'll take it out later today I just wanted to make sure she could have one if she wanted one but she seems fine after a quick flutter and clean of her wings and it is just taking up space.
Of course when it's crowded under the henhouse they can always find other little patches of shade and these four birds, Daisy, Titch, Tiny and one of 'the Gang' were following the shade around the feed hopper for ages yesterday afternoon.
It was lovely to spend an hour cleaning, counting and photographing the birds yesterday, I had been packing boxes all morning ready for our move and the fresh air was a brilliant antidote to 'cabin fever'.
We exchange on the our new house next week and we will be completing on Friday 13th, which believe it or not is a lucky day in our family and a number that crops up over and over in things that are meant to be. There have been lots of spooky little coincidences to do with this purchase that makes us think other forces are at work, the name of our vendors solicitor for example is LH's Dads name and his Mum's maiden name put together ..... Twilight Zone music plays out this post ..... der der der der, der der der der