Looking out the window I realise that The Reluctant Gardener has become The Utterly Negligent Gardener, so it’s time to put this baby to bed.
The white bench in the photo disintegrated some years ago, the cat – our beloved Minto – died earlier this year, so it seems the right time to wrap things up.
However, I will be starting a new blog on chickens! No doubt some elements of gardening will creep in occasionally :)
So, so long for now!
Now hopefully Tyler will be persuaded to do the same, and they start laying decent sized white eggs on a daily basis – unlike my beautiful blue Leghorn, Bluey, who rewards us with a puny egg once a month if we’re lucky.
The blue eggs hatched on Saturday, the first time we have tried to hatch eggs from our own birds. The five hatched – hurray – three were boys – groan. Cream Legbars are an autosexing breed so normally breeders dispatch the boys a.s.a.p. but I wasn’t happy at the thought of losing over half of our first clutch. I looked on my favourite “second hand” website under Wanted and discovered that people are looking for cockerels – presumably because most get culled straight away – so they’ve had a reprieve.
On the flip side of chicken keeping, our oldest hen, a warren called Babs, passed away in her sleep last night. I noticed something was amiss on Sunday evening, so I isolated her from the rest on Monday morning, much to the disgust of the others because they were barred from the eglu but she deserved some peace.
Back to the happy stuff, here’s a photo of Jude, our French Copper Marans who is now 4 weeks old, She looks a bit like a vulture but she is very people-friendly. Think she’s going to get a shock when she discovers she’s a chicken …..
So we’ve had some lovely weather here in Britain. Are we gardeners happy? Not exactly as the lack of rain has been a right pain. The plants in the greenhouse have been singed, as have the seedlings under the propagators. Loads of mangetout but they became peas before I had a chance to pick them.
Egg production and fertility has also had its ups and downs. That said, at the moment, I am typing this with a 3 1/2 week old French Copper Marans chick called Jude roosting on my right wrist … she’s tweeting encouragement … and the eggs in the incubator next to me have started “pipping”.
Still, we have ‘retirement tans’ as my other half calls them so I’m not complaining!
T’other half saved a tiny coal tit from Otto’s paws. I cradled the shocked little thing in my hand as he prepared a shoebox with airholes, straw, jam jar lid of water filled with marbles and jam jar lid filled with the finest wild bird food. We let it recuperate for a couple of hours, I checked in and it was tucking into sunflower seeds so it wasn’t feeling too bad. So, once cats and dogs were indoors, chickens were back in the pen, we decided it was time to see if it felt ready to go. I saw t’other half disappearing into the house so I took a peek in the box and it rushed me! Flew straight into the tree! Hurray, you may think, but t’other half was not pleased. I denied him his chance of seeing his rescuee flying happily away. I am now in disgrace….
Just put the chux away and one of the new girls had laid!
The other half decided that we didn’t have enough layers at the moment since I sold my leghorns’ trio, the orpingtons went broody, the hybrids started moulting and the only white stars we could lay our hands on are still chicks. So we headed off for Kinmel Bay – there is actually a garden centre that sells chickens! – and invested in these two beauties. They are Black Rocks, 20 weeks and 1 day old so should start laying very, very soon.
Yes, it’s a bit blurry but they were rather excited at the time, although not as excited as Barolo, our red-mottled leghorn cockerel, was when he saw them.