Thursday, 25 April 2013

There is Nothing Faster Than An Amorous Cockerel

India is in her broody coop on the patio doing a sterling job of patiently tending her eggs which are due to hatch in 14 days. In the chicken area we have two lusty cockerels who pounce on anything that moves, even my wellies. I was opening the gate to their area when they dashed out just as I was letting India out for her daily constitution. When all of a sudden the cockerels spying a beautiful female not being defended by Glamorous Gordon, rushed over to her, while she was calmly munching her corn and gave her quite a shock. She flew into her coop quickly followed by a flurry of excited black feathered males, whereby there was much panicking in the tiny broody coop as they all tried to mate with India. Keith and I dashed over to try to rescue 1. poor India and 2 the eggs in the nest. Lusty cockerels intent on doing the mating deed are not easy to remove from their poor victim who was squashed to the floor and creating quite a fuss. We managed to pull them off her and batten down her broody coop so she could be safely at peace once again. Lesson leaned, try not to let the cockerels out onto the patio.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Well Hens are Not Like Cockerels

Keith, fresh from his chicken dispatching course, enthusiastically decided it was time to hasten the freezer appointment with blue/pink and green cockerel, the colour of their legband, that is. He performed the act of sending them to cockerel heaven and said that cockerels are more difficult than hens to dispatch because they are different. Hmmmm.  He also decided that as ours are not the classic Hubbard meat breed that the lack of huge amounts of meat meant he could not practice his boning skills properly. He did practice his glove cutting skills a couple of times (damned sharp knife) and blamed it on the cockerel. Nevertheless he produced a skillfully presented boned chicken and a neat pile of meatless bones almost as if the chicken had been undressed. We still have two to go, pinky and rufus/greenie who are getting more and more aggressive to my wellies daily.  Once they Woo Woo Wooooooo and raise one shoulder you know they are about to get in a sly dig on my welly tops as if they were a cat pouncing on a mouse. Its quite funny. Once you pick them up they just sit quite happily chatting away. Keith has just thrown away his shredded wellies so I am a bit wary about what they will do to mine if they decide to go down the full aggressive and unpredictable route. At the moment they are just funny. The dynamics of their troop has changed now that the two largest cockerels are no longer with them and Rufus is enjoying becoming head bird. It is keeping GlamorousGordon on his toes as he is not only trying to keep his girls serviced, he is also trying to make sure the other amorous attentions of the two other males are not allowed. What a life!!!

Broody News

Well that time of year is upon us and India has gone broody again. She is currently covering 16 eggs and looking every inch the perfect mother. Although she has had a crafty nibble - apparently - at 2 eggs as she originally had 18 under her. They must have had weak shells or were duds. She is managing to cover them completely by flattening herself out to make sure she keeps them warm enough.  We lift her once a day to make sure she eats and gets the chance to go to the toilet so everything stays nice and clean. She will usually totter around making a nuisance of herself with the other hens and getting quite aggro with them all. They usually respond with a bit of a peck and a chase so I have to keep an eye on her. She is not normally the most friendly hen I have, but she is lovely when broody and I get to give her a cuddle as she appreciates being given sole access to some tasty food offerings to keep her strength up.  I have also put a load of eggs in the incubator to time them when her chicks hatch so she can perform mother duties to an extended brood.

Friday, 12 April 2013

New Course Dates for 2013

After much huffing and puffing in the garden to get it looking mud free we have now been able to get our course dates for our chicken keeping courses for 2013 sorted. Please check out the Course Info tab in the blog. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us this year as I have had a stern word with the weather man and he has promised to provide sunshine. If only. We look forward to meeting up with you to teach you the ins and outs of chicken keeping and turn you into an enthusiastic chicken nut like we are about these endearing creatures.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Spring is Finally Here

Well it finally came, and better late than never. Spring that is. The clocks have just gone forward an hour and its amazing how long the days seem all of a sudden. From my last batch of chicks that we hatched just before Christmas, we have now 4 lusty cockerels and 5 hens despite the fact that I thought I had culled the cockerels in the first week. I obviously have a bit to learn about how to tell the difference.  Two of the cockerels had green leg bands meaning I was not sure so I let them grow. Sure enough, despite being thought of as hens at one time, they are now definitely cockerels.  To spare the neighbours we have to bring them in overnight to live in a cardboard box which they seem to like. Come dusk they all start wailing and waiting by the gate so I can let them inside. They are almost ready now for their rendezvous with the freezer but Keith my husband is not too keen on performing the deed until he has had proper training, which is fair enough. He is booked on a course in Hampshire so he can be a fully fledged dispatcher and preparation person. I am expecting great things when he comes back.

Glamorous Gordon, our resident cockerel who is not having the rendezvous with the freezer, has always been quite sweet, but now he is vying for the attention of his ladies against the increasing advances of the new studs on the block, he has become a bit more feisty. He has discovered he doesnt like the colour red so he jumps at anyone with a red coat or fleece on. He also doesnt like me using the wheelbarrow to prop open the run door, and he attacks it. It is green, and now he doesnt like my green wellies if I stand by the wheelbarrow. Crazy bird.