New hatchlings!

My sister-in-law’s fantastic brown chook has done it again. This time she has managed to hatch one of our Plymouth Rock eggs.

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The chick with the white stripe on its head we expect is a Plymouth Rock from daddy Long John Silver and one of his girls.

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Mum and dad doing just fine!

Plymouth Rock Attack

Recently I have been thinking about updating you on the happenings in our “chicken world”. My last post alluded to our duties as chicken owners – weekly chores, feeding rituals and the joy and companionship of chickens.

We currently have seven chickens and one rooster. Mainly Plymouth Rocks, either dark or light barred. They are a beautiful American breed, docile, friendly, albeit slow to grow – we have had our latest batch since January and they have only just come into lay during the winter. Plymouth Rocks do well in a cold climate and here, up on the Mount, it can get to below zero. They survive very well.

Since we received our first Plymouth Rock Rooster, Book-Book, we have had a rather traumatic time looking after our beloved roosters.

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Poor Book-Book was taken by a fox one Saturday morning right under our very noses, two years ago. He was a magnificent boy who protected his girls and paid the ultimate price.

With much sadness and anxiety, we sought to replace him. This time we rescued another Plymouth Rock who had been locked up for most of his life. He loved it here on the Mount staggering about in Dick Emery style- shaking his leg to one side. He was quite hilarious to watch.

20130910-204312.jpg Colin used to pick him up all the time. But he got sick.

20130910-204515.jpg We took Pecker to the Vet (his name was the source of some amusement!) and nursed him in the laundry out of the cold. But we lost him last November.

We waited to see if we could exist without a rooster. By January we could no longer do without one. Venturing far and wide, we finally found a breeder and homeward bound we went with a trio – a rooster and two hens. These little chickens took a long time to grow.

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We modernised our current chicken house for them.

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So here they are, the current clutch, led by the beautiful Long John Silver.

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Then it happened. As Colin filled their feed tin this afternoon, Long John Silver lurched and jumped at him! Swung round and attacked again. I could hear him calling out – Colin that is! Our beautiful boy has turned into a nasty teenager! Will he grow out of it?

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But we still love him. If you have any advice on how to manage a volatile rooster, please let me know!

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Pecker’s Christmas Present

With Christmas well and truly out of the way, it’s back to the garden and the chicken house. Our Christmas was wonderful with family and friends gathered together. Daughter Number One came down from the sub- tropics to join us and brought with her a delightful bronze rooster. We consumed too much lunch and lots of sweets.

20121226-155139.jpg I tried my hand at gingerbread stars!

20121226-155238.jpg A selection of sweets – I have such a “sweet tooth” – Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova, Summer Pudding, Chocolate Pear Tart, fresh fruit and a delicious Plum Pudding with Brandy Custard were served. The chickens didn’t have too many of these leftovers!
One of my early gifts this Christmas was from Daughter Number Two (I am not much into gifts really) but this was a garden rooster in memory of Pecker who died six weeks ago – a Sad Day post. He is made of tin and shows off fancy tail feathers. He came wrapped in a hessian blanket – just like the one we placed over Pecker to keep him warm.

20121226-160216.jpg He now sits on my winter wood heater.

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I guess the most enjoyable part of Christmas is in the giving. I loved giving goodies from my kitchen to my neighbours…

20121226-161459.jpg I made these to celebrate each of our little houses in the bush.
I hope you had a peaceful Christmas. It can bring out the best and the worst in people but it really is a time to stop and take stock of those who are with us and those who have gone before us. This year many of us have been touched in one way or another by loss – for us it was our beloved rooster Pecker. But we cannot be untouched by the unspeakable losses in Connecticut just before Christmas. We must mourn for these poor souls and for their families. Additionally, we must also care for our animals, our elderly, our earth and our selves. Above all else let us try to reflect on what is most important to us as humans, as stewards of our earth.

20121226-164126.jpg May we use the tools of our hands to benefit others and bring joy and warmth. Pecker’s Christmas Present is for all those who commemorate the simple life and for those who have left our lives but whom we remember with much joy.

A Sad Day

First thing this morning we checked on Pecker, picked him up and took him into the garden; sat with him and gave him his medication. His comb was still a little blue. There was a little shiver. We returned him back to the rabbit hutch; he stood up, looked around; his gurgling seemed a little less intense. I could see him from the kitchen while I prepared breakfast. We kept the lid open so he could look out. I even thought he seemed at ease listening to the morning household noises.

It was unusual to have rooster looking at me in the kitchen. The cats wandered around, quite in their own world. Remembering the vet’s instructions, we left him quietly and went about the day’s chores. We also had to go to the airport too pick up our daughter. In all, we were happy that he was standing; was comfortable and warm – he eve began to peck at some food and began making some faint crowing noises. He would sleep until we returned and then we would take him back into the garden for another look around.

Poor Pecker was not to see his beloved garden again. Poor Pecker didn’t make it – he left us while we were gone. I began to cry. Colin wrapped him up in the red blanket which had kept him so warm two nights ago. He found an old disused worm-farm box and gently placed him in it. He buried him at the bottom of the garden near the purple irises.

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20121104-165210.jpg He was the friendliest rooster – enjoy the garden, Pecker. Our backyard view today is basked in sunshine. It is a tribute to all the pets who bring sunshine into our lives; who love us unreservedly; who make our lives rich by their constant companionship.

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A Very Sick Rooster

Poor Pecker the Plymouth Rock rooster is very sick. After consulting the vet – he was such a calm and cooperative boy, she informed us that he had a trachea virus which may or may not have reached his lungs. We had done the right thing and kept him isolated and warm over night. She gave him antibiotics and instructed us to administer the liquid twice a day for five days and to let her know if he was not much better in three days.

20121103-195249.jpg He is still resting in his hutch in the laundry. I hope he returns to his healthy self.

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20121103-195632.jpg Meanwhile, we have been offered a new chicken house from our next door neighbour. It is painted duck egg blue with windows and a gabled roof. Colin, with the help of his dad and uncle and anyone else who was about spent the day dismantling it.

20121103-195913.jpg Fingers crossed for Pecker! Enjoy today’s back deck evening view. Take care.

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