Two days ago we noticed a pile of feathers on the grass around our house. Then we saw some on the driveway. We knew then, upon inspecting the feathers, that one of our old english game hen roosters had met a bad end. I think it was the rooster on the left in the photo above.
We then found another pile of feathers closer to the chicken tractor where all of our layers were kept. In the photo below you can see two downy feathers.
The chicken tractor is not predator safe by any means so I decided as soon as I saw the feathers above to bring an end to the pastured chickens for now and have all the girls in with the roosters in the hen house.
I made sure to patch all the holes in the hen house run and now they should be all set for a while.
Here are a few shots of the chicken run.
That rooster that we lost, he had been loose a few days and in that time he visited with one of our small chicken hens and now she has gone broody. She laid her eggs in this broody house we had made up in years past and has been sitting on them. So, even though we lost this rooster, his genetics were passed on. I dont know if these chicks will hatch or make it, but the hen is working hard on it.
I have the fence there for her protection. According to my daughter, the broody hen really only wants off for about 30 minutes a day to run out and “use the facilities”. My daughter opens the fence and takes the hen out for this time. Then she closes it back up. We learned the hard way that the other non-broody hens and roosters will smash the eggs under a broody hen and then if chicks hatch, they will kill and eat them. Broody hens and chicks need to be protected.
I have learned that “old wives tales” and old sayings like “Dont count your chickens before they hatch” and “No use to crying over spilt milk” have a real profound meaning when you are caring for these animals. Not counting the chickens before they hatch is a guard against putting too much planning and intent into a delicate process (such as gestation) so that one can deal with the inevitable losses that WILL come.
The other day we were milking by hand in the morning because I didnt want to have to drag the milker out twice that day. We had just finished a load of milking and then, poooof, the goat lifted her leg and splashed her filthy hoof down into the pure white milk.
It made me white hot angry – all that work and all that lovely milk – but I was able to let it go quickly and cool off. The moment that hoof touched the milk, it was no longer useful. There is no halfways about it. No ambivalence. I just had to let it go. Thats what the saying “No use to crying over spilt milk” is all about, you have to let it go because it is 100% irretrievably lost.
Here are a few shots of the cucumbers that are WAY behind (like the whole garden) but which are coming along. I think they will have time to bear before the frosts!
These are pickling cucumbers
And these are lemon cucumbers (which I thought had died!)