Thursday, 9 May 2013

Emerging from hibernation: The Lesser Spotted Archers at The Larches


I've been busy here... at night, instead of blogging, I sleep. Sorry.

Mind you, during the day [my days seem to comprise more hours than the standard 24] I squeeze in a marketing job, minimal housework, dinners etc, bottle washing, lamb feeding, the chickens and, now that my garden is just beginning to recover from 18 months of rubbish weather, a spot of seed sowing and land management. I'm considering a day off tomorrow at Malvern Spring Show, though that said, it's pouring from the sky today and if this weather continues I might just join the lambs in the stables who are huddled around a heat lamp!

Lambs are lively little things and love nothing more than play time with the sproglets! [If you can't see this video in email format click the title of the post to be transported to my blog.]


video




I've three Bantam hens sitting on approximately 15 eggs. None of the eggs belong to the Bantams, instead they are sitting on a mixed brood of Welsummers, Salmon Faverelles and Heinz57's! I'm praying that the hatchlings will be mainly hens rather than roosters but you never can tell. With luck they'll hatch next week when the weather may again improve, it's dreadful at the moment.


Here at The Larches we favour animals being free to wander. Our chooks are free range as soon as they're big enough to withstand the advances of the two cats. Recently we released the, now grown, Salmon Faverelles; the 10yo's rare breed chickens. This did not go well; our original rooster, Road Runner, who is half the size of Lucky the new boy but twice as aggressive, decided to pick a fight to the death with the new interloper. But for The Hubby's interference, one or both roosters would have needed hospitalization.


After spraying combs and necks with purple antiseptic spray we returned the rare breed chickens to their 3m x 3m enclosure. Sad.


Wondering what to do next, Hubby and I pondered our options until a neighbour appeared asking if we had a spare rooster to take care of his 40+ hens! Was he sent by St Francis of Assisi I wondered? A summit of Archers was required to see if the sproglets would agree terms with the neighbour, money was never an option, the children were more concerned that rooster would be sad at being forced into exile. In the end we all agreed that the neighbour could 'borrow' rooster and that afternoon we placed him in a dark box and walked down the bridlepath, passing one neighbour's land, across the small village road and down the hill to our next neighbour's property.


We locked rooster in a shed located a the bottom of field on the neighbour's land and 40 hens clucked at him through the door. He was clearly furious but he needed to be locked in for a couple of days, with food and water of course, in order to imprint his new home to his memory.


Two days later he'd escaped. He was soon spotted by our closest neighbour as he jumped into his hen compound. Before Road Runner had time to completely murder our neighbour's prize rooster, he was caught (again) and taken back to his new home.


Two further days and he had escaped again, this time he avoided our neighbour and came back home to us, his real home. Who knew roosters had homing pigeon instincts?!


I get the hint. He can stay. The sproglets and our hens are delighted. The rare breed chooks will need a bigger compound! Sheesh!

The Archers at The Larches


Snowy and Moon