|Wind-felled, Ivy-clad, hawthorn tree|
|JD Bob's Swallow Hole|
|Yellow arrows show the 2 main holes|
Meanwhile in the 'zoo' we have a couple of breeding attempts to report which seem to have got parked up for now. The Guinea Fowl have given up on their daily disappearances across the lane, which we had put down to the possible daily egg laying. They did this 7 times but have now stopped. We never found the alleged nest so we will probably never know why this happened and then stopped happening. Maybe she was just having a practise run, maybe she did lay eggs and they got predated by rats or mink, maybe the current chilly NE winds put her off thoughts of spring. The birds remain our most wander-lusty and today we saw them at the far side of the East Field and the wrong side of the fence, actually outside our property, so maybe they are still at it.
When I last posted on the subject of geese, one of the females (Smudge, named for a bruise like dark smudge in the feathers on the right hand side of her head, behind the eye) had accumulated 16 eggs and we were expecting her to go broody any minute. Well, that was the 21st March, and it's now the 28th, so she is now perched on top of 19 eggs as she goes to lay (or her sister does), some of which are double stacked and she still shows no intention of sitting. I am not sure what to do about this. Do we give up and clear the eggs away, or do we keep on keeping on? One thing is for sure - if she DOES go broody over the next few days, I will not be leaving her all 19 to incubate. 19 baby goslings is a bit more than we can cope with.
We have decided to breed from Goldie again, taking advantage of the fact that Charlotte (mini horses) has just bought a NZ White buck ("Kiwi") who seems to be a bit of a go-er and she has him working his way round any of her lady rabbits who she wants bigger kits from. Our meat-breed doe, Goldie, you may recall, had a bit of a thin time of it in the motherhood stakes last year, kindling 7 babies but all bar 2 suffered overnight deaths for reasons we still are not sure of. Some of the later ones, when autopsied, had hugely full bladders so it is possible that some kind of urine-tract issue (blockages?) was the problem. We are giving her another go this year hoping that this was not genetic or was just a 'first litter' one-off. Watch this space. She was mated today, and they take 31 days to cook, so due date is 28th April. Maybe by then we will have broody geese, hidden up broody Guinea Fowl and maybe even our hen Broody Betty back on the case.