Monday 13 May 2013

Three in the Dog House

We have three animals currently on the 'naughty step' but I have not photographed them so I will post a selection of nice pics and catch you up with what they are about as we go along - the first 2 though are a Buff Orpington chick and a Jersey Giant (black) at 3 weeks.

First customer for sitting outside the headmaster's office to await his fate is Blue the Cat, who manages to hook a passing swallow out of the air as it dives down and into the Tígín where they are currently nest building. I can only imagine that the swallow failed to adjust his eye sight to the dark inside on a bright morning; they are usually well able to avoid our cats. Luckily I saw him out of the kitchen window playing with the victim who was patently still alive. He would not yield the bird to me, but his 'Mum' (Liz) has a more menacing way of scruffing the cats and growling "MINE!" at them which makes them drop the capture. Liz scooped the swallow up, shaken and not stirred and we laid it in a tea-towel in the only place where cats fear to tread- the Goose House with its two broody geese. It was still alive by lunchtime and then gone by mid afternoon and we have since regularly seen both 'our' pair whizzing about as normal so we assume this time he got away with it and , we hope, learned to be a bit more careful coming through the doors of the Tígín.

Next up, our bitch-pup, Poppy, now 11 months old, so old enough to KNOW BETTER. She has adopted the habit of chewing wetly, or just sucking, the crotches of any of Liz's clothes - knickers, jeans, pyjamas. She does not always actually damage them, just renders them unwearable till they have been washed. She never touches mine, just occasionally has a chew on my sandals, but never clothes. Naturally, we are trying to cure her of this annoying habit. Chunter chunter.

 Our final customer today is the hen we are now calling 'baldy' whom we believe, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, may have given up laying eggs for good. You'll recall that we had a eggy hiatus and changed the feed for an organic, Pedigree Petfoods product. This seems to have sorted the soft-shell problem and the lack of eggs, so that we now get 2 good eggs most days but ONLY 2 from three hens. We watch closely and have seen that the other two hens slope off from the rooster every morning and lay their eggs in the nest boxes, but 'Baldy' (so named because she gets William's 'attentions' so often that his spurs have worn away some of the feathers across her back) is never missing. Mentor Anne tells me that it is almost unheard of for a rooster to bother 'treading' a barren or infertile hen, so she has advised me to beat the bounds, searching all the hedgerows, nooks and crannies, where I'll almost certainly find a huge stash of eggs (Simon says this normally happens in winter as the vegetation dies back; that's when you find the caches). I have had a really thorough search today though, rummaging through nettle patches and ground elder with a hoe, and I am blowed if I can see any. So, unless she gets her act together before the new babies reach PoL (Point of Lay), the stock pot looms for her.

Meanwhile, in happier news all 8 of our chicks have survived to 3 weeks old. This is fairly unusual, apparently, you normally lose a few. The horses are also doing well, enjoying their new 'rushless' field and learning to come to us on call to earn a Polo mint treat. Liz has not yet done her official newt survey but by coincidence I found one swimming in the goose-drinker this morning. It's a very egg-loaded female (says Liz) and was probably looking for a suitable pond, which the drinker is NOT, having vertical plastic sides. We rescued it to a more suitable 'pond' and Liz was able to break out the official forms and record it for our 10 km square (grid ref M68). We got a nice reply from the Official Irish Wildlife Trust website to say that this was a 'New Record' for M68, smooth newts never having been recorded for this square before. This actually makes it pointless for us to survey Bob's pond, as the box has been ticked, but we will do it anyway and they can have a 2nd tick if we find any.

Today we collected up our latest addition, the meat-breed doe rabbit, Goldie. She came from Mentor Anne's 'stable' and is pregnant to Anne's Californian White buck, Bobby. This might get confusing - we have John Deere Bob, our friend and neighbour, Bob the mini-Shetland horse and now Bobby the potential Father to Goldie's 'kittens', who, if all goes well, are due around June 13th. We will be over-run with baby animals if we don't watch it. I do not want to be counting chickens, but we have the potential now for goslings on 22nd May, baby rabbits from Ginny and Padfoot on 2nd June and now Goldie.

Oh - and the other pictures? In order, the three horses having a rest, some horse product on the rhubarb, that newt, Goldie and some pear blossom just opening now on a Conference Tree we had as a gift last summer from Steak Lady.

That's it for now.

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

Poppy gets that from her Mum, Lily used to always be doing that, luckily she grew out of it, or at least we got a little wiser to it and don't leave them where she can get them.