Sunday, 19 July 2015

Holiday Time


Now there is one things poultry keepers dread and that is coming back from a holiday. Invariably when someone else is left in charge and routines are changed then one disaster or another will befall the flock. Old age and infirmity have reduced my chicken numbers drastically this year. Because we are going to Kent and then Sydney, I have not replenished the casualties as yet and so the Ukrainian hen population has gently reduced to just eleven girls. Moriarty, the old cockerel died just the other day as he sunbathed in the sun, leaving Joe the latest new waif and stray rooster in charge.
12 chickens, four geese and Bingley remain..a manageable number for the teenage boffin Cameron to look after when we are away me thinks.
When we return, A younger flock can then be introduced...............anyhow, my friend Eirlys who lives just on the other side of the village rang me the other day, all breathless and a bit fraught. She was on holiday and had left an elderly relative in charge of her large flock of hens. She wanted me to check up on her.
In the middle of the day three foxes had ambushed the birds in the centre of the farm outbuildings and in the frenzy that followed, even the presence of the elderly woman swinging a broom had not frightened the foxes away. Luckily a passing lorry driver had spied several hens jumping over the farm wall and into the road in a bid to escape and had stopped to help. Eventually he managed to scare the foxes away but not before around 20 had been killed.
I called up to Eirlys' farmhouse yesterday afternoon to buy eggs for another villager. ( I haven't got enough eggs to sell at the moment) and at least one of the foxes was about, for I saw him jumping over the farm wall when I arrived. Eirlys was out, and luckily all of her remaining hens were shut away in the barn.

You turn your back for a second.........hey ho

Anyway am working later so I will leave you with a couple of the latest novelty veg & fruit entries




Keep em coming ! 

And a final thought for all parents and dog owners out there
Have a nice Sunday

31 comments:

  1. Very sad about the hens that were killed. Do you think that the carrot is the vegetable that features mostly in the novelty veg competition? Could we have a run down (like the top ten) most popular veg/fruit entered into the competition? I bet carrots are first and then bell peppers!

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  2. I am hopeful there will be a load more entries....my entry will featre 6 lemons
    I shall say no more

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    1. That's a lotta lemons!

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    2. When life hands you lemons make a gin & tonic

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    3. Love the carrot

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  3. We lost about 25 hens in one night; unfortunately I wasn't able to swing a broom at Mr Fox, as he'd already gone, taking just one hen with him.

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  4. I'm sorry Eirlys lost her hens; I know that has to be a worry for you as well. Fingers crossed that young Cameron will be a bit more spry about running off the foxes... being younger, he likely will be. Love the fashionable first offering; very original!

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  5. "Cameron - The Teenage Boffin". Is that a new cartoon?
    If he really is a boffin he will design an anti-fox force field to protect the Ukrainian Village while you are away.

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  6. "Boffin" made me resort to Google to find the meaning, Sorry about the neighbor's hens. a fox taking one for food I can understand, but 20, I though humans were the only animals that killed for no reason (pleasure.)

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  7. poor hens! :(

    a snot rocket carrot - bwhahahahahaha!

    my cats are like the dogs in the final cartoon. hey ho!

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  8. A broom? Surely a shotgun would be more appropriate?

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  9. It is an unfortunate fact of owning poultry- losing them eventually. I have one that is on death's door. She's old but still...
    She was my singer. She crooned little songs all day. I will miss her.

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  10. If I read any more anecdotes like this I just might have to re-consider my lifelong anti-fox-hunting stance - but not yet. Please no more! (D'you hear that, all you little murderers? Stop it! STOP IT!)

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  11. Interesting but we have little or no trouble with foxes and hens here John although there are always foxes about. Like you we have run our flock down and now only have eleven hens left and some of them which I have bred my self, are at least ten years old - yet most days they produce eight eggs between them.

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  12. If the fox have their way - you and the neighbor will be starting out from scratch!

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  13. awww sorry about your friends hens.
    I think the fox like cats sees birds flapping and squawking running around and it gets them more excited to attack. I really don't know but I have seen this with both house and feral cats. But I am not a farmer so what do I really know ?
    Love the new entries. Quite wonderful.

    cheers, parsnip

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  14. 20!!! That's so sad! This city girl can hardly imagine it.

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  15. 20!!! That's so sad! This city girl can hardly imagine it.

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  16. This is why I can't really have animals. 2 cats and maybe a dog but that will be the limit. The thing is ... one day .. they die.
    I can't deal with death anymore. No one I love is allowed to die, 2 legged, four legged or feathered .. that is it.. no one allowed to die ever.

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  17. Franklin likes to sleep on the cool tile floor in the bathroom. When I enter, he exits and returns when I'm done. He has lovely manners.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. Fox in the day time is a rarity, is it not?

    That is such a horrible thing to happen especially when you are right there trying to stop it. My heart goes out to her.

    I, as a young teen, had a lost bird dog decimate my flock of almost sixty bantams, two ducks and a crow. I had fewer than ten hens left. You could read the tale in the carnage...the dog attacked, the ducks, one with a gimpy leg, came to the rescue, and then my free flying friend I had raised by hand, Jim Crow, flew down to save them all...not a good ending. It was daylight and no one heard their screams. We were gone.

    I'm sorry but I haven't cared for bird dogs since.

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  19. So sad to hear of the loss of so many of Eirlys' chickens. We lost 17 in one fox attack a few years ago, rather ironically we were away from the farm buying 14 new hens to boost numbers. It's heartbreaking when you know your birds well.

    I hope your flock will be okay while you're away.

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  20. I know this sounds weird but how do you handle such carnage ? Do you bury all the killed ones or are they....you know, processed? I know I could not "use" a chicken I named and raised but I'm not a farmer or even close! Sorry for her losses!

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  21. The dog cartoon is so true! If I don't let the buggers in, they headbutt the door.

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  23. The Doggy Facts cartoon is hilarious and SO unnervingly true.
    Hey, I love that carrot!

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  24. Yikes! How terrifying for that woman, not to mention the chickens. I can afford to like urban foxes, because I don't have chickens to protect -- but if I had poultry that would be a game-changer!

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  25. Give that carrot a handkerchief...... and we don't keep chickens as we like to go on holiday too. I think the local urban fox would sure as eggs are eggs visit while student son was left in charge.

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  26. Touch wood, so far my chookies have been unfoxed, but my sis only ten minutes away had to give up having them. The foxes were getting in while they were away at work during the day, coming by night, you name it. The last three they lost were ones they'd raised from babies and thought were safe in a smaller, more fox proofed pen. That was the end for her. Cheeky buggers to not even be frightened away by her being there! I'd have got out the cricket bat I think. A little respect on both sides is required if we are all to live together in the same lands amicably!

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  27. Did you say SYDNEY!? As in, down here??
    If so, I do hope you plan to pop across the ditch to NZ.
    And if you do, please consider this an invitation to stay here in Tauranga.

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  28. Oh and I meant to say, I was given a cartoon by the same artist for my birthday, they are VERY true to how it is as a dog owner!!

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