Archive for March 2nd, 2009

Eggs and naughty chickens

Irene, our Dorking x Light Sussex hen has, it seems, had enough of being in with the other big chickens and spent most of the week getting out of their pen and into the bantams’. I therefore spent most of the week putting her back with the others, a task made more difficult by her refusal to come within three feet of any human. Putting her back therefore involved distracting the big chickens, flattening the electric netting and “chasing” her sheepdog-style through the gap.

But I gave up the day she took herself back to the bantams in the few seconds my back was turned as I checked for eggs!

Now she just pops back and forth for reasons known only to herself.

I need to clip her wing feathers to stop her flying but will wait until B’s next day off as I think two of us will definitely be needed: one to hold a protesting chicken and one to clip the feathers!

Irene in with the bantams - 27 February 2009

Irene in with the bantams - 27 February 2009

Still, I can’t be cross with any of the chickens: in February, they laid a grand total of 151 eggs, with the big chickens laying 87 and the Bantams and Silkies popping out 64!

And, on one very happy day, each and every hen laid an egg for me! You should have seen the grin on my face when I realised there were eight eggs in the bucket!

Well done girls – keep ’em coming!

Scrumpy and Tia: one year on

Continuing the story of how I ended up with so many Kune Kunes for breeding rather than the pets I was originally intent on buying, when we rang up for some advice on how to handle our not-quit-so-friendly acquisition, Stella, we found out that they were selling off as many of their pigs as possible due to overcrowding.

So, as was inevitable, we found ourselves driving through the stunning landscape north of Aberystywth and met a lot of Kune Kunes. In fact, we didn’t even have to ask why they were selling off what they could: they were inundated with pigs and you could barely move for piri piris and inquisitive grunts. It was pouring with rain (and I mean by the bucket) but even so, Scrumpy just stood out for me. She had this look on her face that just said “you want me, you know you do” and I agreed!

But then Mum spotted this little dot hanging around the doorway between the pigs’ shed and their yard, a poor little thing that was clearly the underdog. But, despite her forlorn expression, she also had a distinct look about her, except hers was more “please get me out of here”. Mum stated that it didn’t matter how many pigs I decided to get: the little thing was coming home with us.

There was a third gilt that we were very taken with but in the end we decided that three was about as many as we could cope with for the time being, especially as the two porkers, Vicky and Albert, weren’t booked in until the end of March.

We put down a deposit and spent the next day discussing possible names and planning all sorts of who knows what.

Then, on a much drier day, B and I drove back to collect the new members of the family.

Stella was not at all impressed with her two new pen mates and sulked but the two girls made themselves at home regardless:

Scrumpy and Tia - 2 March 2008

Scrumpy and Tia - 2 March 2008

I can’t get over how much they’ve changed in the past twelve months, especially Tia! Looking at her now, I can barely recognise that little dot in the photo. We might have sold Stella but getting Tia and Scrumpy was definitely the right thing to do, no matter how tough things are.