Nigel and I have a trip planned to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks. I have a family tree contact coming over from Australia who has some documentation to give me so we decided to meet up, as it had been on our list of places to visit. My two girls are ribbing me about meeting a stranger from the internet! It will be a good break. Milo will have to go into kennels while the girls get to look after the rest of the menagerie.
Over the past few weeks we have been catching up with the first series of the Danish TV detective programme, The Killing. We’ve really enjoyed it – to be recommended. The language fascinated me, as a linguist. It seems a very slack language – every word just melted into the next but I found it a delight to listen to.
Chickens – the ongoing saga of featherplucking. Rose has been in solitary for nearly four weeks but each time I let her out to free range with the others she eventually succumbs to her old habit, so back she goes to her run. So, the time has come. I have come to the end of my tether. The final straw. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Time for the Bumper Bit – a medieval looking type of scold’s bridle which passes into the beak keeping it slightly open and then a couple of prongs go into the nostrils. Eating and drinking are possible but pulling out feathers shouldn’t be!
Fitting one, besides it seeming cruel, was not going to be a picnic. I chickened out and got Jess to do the deed. We got Rose out after she had gone to bed so that she would be calm, wrapped her in a heavy towel and took her into the conservatory. Jess managed to get it on but within a minute of her going back into the run, with lots of head shaking and head banging, she had got it off. It has to be quite precisely placed so it was obviously not quite right. A second go, quickly executed with a pair or circlip pliers did the trick and it has remained in place. She was obviously distressed by it, wouldn’t take a mealworm from me – poor recompense for her trials – and spent some time headbanging in her house but she settled. We checked on her a couple of times. In the morning I put her straight in with the others. She soon sussed out how to feed and drink but the others kept giving the bit a quick peck – looks like she was going to be on the other end of the harrassment.
Returning home later in the day Rose seemed settled but I found two of the chickens had been plucked again – the culprit this time being Ace, so she has just been bumper bitted too. A slightly harder job as she has such a big, floppy comb which was making it hard to see the right bit of the nostril.
I am not happy to be doing this to them but it is a habit which is hard to break. It is not an act of aggression but the problem is that if any blood is drawn it can turn into a bloodbath as chickens can be cannibalistic at the sight of blood! Who’d have thought it!
On to the next wildlife feature – frogs. It has been a bumper year for them – at least half the pond covered and this year they have not been killed by frost. Loads of tadpoles swimming around at the moment. The heron has been paying us a visit – whether or not he is hoping for fish – there aren’t any – or frogs, I don’t know. The chickens aren’t too enamoured with his visits though.