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The focus of this blog is simple - and that's the goal too. A more simple way of life. A life in tune with the rhythms of nature and of human nature. Where everything has its time and place and purpose, including us.

We have left the rat race behind and taken on new challenges. We aim to tread as lightly as we can upon the planet, to reconnect with nature, to eat good food, drink excellent wine, enjoy the best of company.... even if that is sometimes just our own! Please feel free to eavesdrop from time to time on our lives and see how we are doing and if you are ever in Extremadura... drop us an email and we'll give you directions.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Eggspectations

Our little black Castillian hen has become broody.  How do we know?  Well she started by basically sitting on the nest (which had three eggs in it) and refusing to come off, protesting loudly when we opened up the nest hatch and then pecking at us when we tried to take the eggs out from under her.

So... we decided to pop another three eggs underneath her and let her incubate them.  Its not like we have a shortage of eggs.  Our only issue was that she was in the Eglu....


Which is not suitable for hatching chicks (they would be too small to get out of the nest and couldn't get access to food or water) and is also where the other hens and the cockerel sleep so she wouldn't get any peace and quiet and we would have to disturb her every day to collect the new eggs.  We moved her very quickly to the bachelor house (so called because it is where we kept the extra cockerels before we ate them).


We shut her in with fresh food and water and a dust bath.  After a day being shut in we opened the hen door and allowed her to come out for a forage... which she did.  Now, its ok for the expectant mother to leave the eggs for about half an hour before returning to incubation duties and so after a very short time we noticed she wasn't bimbling around outside and we assumed that she had returned to the nest.  By the time we went to check it might have been more than half an hour... and we discovered that she had returned to the Eglu and was now sitting on todays new batch of three eggs.


What a birdbrain!  We moved her (wearing gloves) and back to her nest in the bachelor house and we gave her todays three eggs as well so she now has a total of nine eggs to sit on.  We locked her in.  She has food and water and I think we shall just leave her there now and wait and see.  Hopefully the original eggs did not get too cold during her confusion and if so then hopefully the new three will make up for it and we shall get at least a chick or two at the end of it.


The due date is 1st March or thereabouts... not sure which day would count as day one now.  We are very excited... but trying to be blase about the whole thing.  She is a very young mum to be and may not have a clue what she's doing... as was evident by sitting on the wrong eggs.  Hey ho.  A birds brain is very small.  How do they know what to do I wonder?

In other news, I have been stashbusting my accumulated odds and ends of wool (since I have used up all the fleece that I had and am now itching for shearing time when I can start spinning again) and  I made an owl....



And a pussycat (complete with Dali-esque whiskers)....


And I repurposed an old scarf that was bound for the recycling bins into a cushion cover....





The weather continues to be bitterly cold - due to the wind mostly, the sun shines and the sky is blue which is most enjoyable but unless you are out of the wind it is freezing!  We managed to spread the rest of the sheep muck onto the veggie garden in preparation for spring planting.


The winter veg was a huge disappointment, I got two broccoli spears and I missed out on a very small cauliflower which the hens ate.  No cabbage and no sprouts.


I managed to get some organic fertilizer supplements in liquid and powder form which I hope will help.  But realistically I think it will be another couple of years of adding to the soil before I can really reap the benefits...  meh... I'm not going anywhere.

2 comments:

  1. We had two new mums last year and they both did really well hatching and trying to look after babies. Unfortunately some were picked off by predators and three succumbed to being chilled in a storm after leaving Mum, the price of being free range I suppose. One used to come off the nest for food and water, the other had to be lifted out. They would both shovel down food and have a quick dust bath before returning to their eggs.

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  2. Due to her confusion about which nest to return to we have decided to keep her in the bachelor house until the chicks arrive. We will rig up a temporary run for her and since we have predators too they will all stay in there until the chicks are a decent age.

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