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Peace, perfect peace June 26, 2013

Posted by dawnshifter in Uncategorized.
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Sunday 16 June

Staying at Farlands Holiday Cottage in the Peak District for a few days.  Secluded and cosy, we spent Christmas here en famille.  Now back to recharge batteries in this peaceful sanctuary overlooking the River Kinder.  Yes, that River Kinder, direct from Kinder Downfall, via Kinder Reservoir.  As a special treat this week, I’m chicken sitting – three Warrens and three little bantams – and enjoying the fruits of their labours.

Popped down the road yesterday, for a chicken-duty handover with C and even in that short time, heard a cuckoo calling and a bird sound I did not recognise at all – a quiet whirring warbling whistle.  I’ve certainly seen birds here that don’t haunt Nuneaton back-gardens and copses, but this is a new one on me – I may have to hide in the woods with the binoculars.

A couple of the banties were missing when I went to introduce myself – with a little wholemeal bread, so they’ll get the habit of being pleased to see me.  C said they were going broody, but no good will come of it – there’s no rooster.

Still worried not to see them at bedtime – couldn’t leave them out for the foxes.  I’d then I spotted them cuddled up together in one of the nest boxes.  So cute until you try to take the eggs.  First time I’ve been savaged by chickens.  Such brave little things, but far too tiny to terrify.  What a new experience – being pecked by chickens as I gently feel for eggs under their warm and slightly moist bodies.  Their breastbones feeling so fragile where they’re a few feathers missing to keep the eggs warm.

The eggs they were hiding this morning were a bit of a surprise – Warren eggs, much bigger than the banties’.  Now, the nest-box is hardly big enough for the two banties to share.  I can’t imagine a Warren wanting to get in there and lay at the same time, and with the Warrens so much bigger, there’s no way the banties could cajole one in if it didn’t want to go.  So did the banties move the eggs from another nest-box into their own?  There’s a lip into the nest-boxes, at least an inch and a half tall.  Have they really rolled them up and out of one box and into another?  Well, one of the eggs was damaged, so it’s a possibility.

Also a bonus – I felt obliged to use the cracked egg straight away, my first egg of the week, still chicken-warm.  Lovely yellow yolk.  Good morning ladies!

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1. maureen eyles - June 26, 2013

Upset last week after cutting down a forest of nettles to find a nest with 16 eggs in, no sign of mother. I called my farmer landlord to come and look. He told me they were Red Legged Partridge. I did my best to restore a shaded secret area but had little confidence she would return. 5 days later I ventured to spy and she was back, so pleased.
Two nights ago I got out of my car and walked out of the garage to a barage of squeaking, the floor of the garage was covered in tiny chicks making such a noise dashing under my car to find Mom. I left speedily, returning half an hour later to see her silently covering them next to the lawn mower.
Next morning silence, no chicks no Mom, she has taken them into the field. I counted the empty eggshells and she had hatched all 16.
Fancy having 16 kids!


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