I vanished, I’m sorry to say, because I’m less inclined nowadays to say on the open internet that we’re going to be away. The house isn’t empty, it never is, but even so.
We went to stay with my sister Wink and celebrated our third wedding anniversary while we were there. LT’s brother and sister-in-law came from Devon to celebrate with us. We went out and about, including a visit to Weymouth, where I was charmed to see the old harbour looking much as I remembered it, and to my babyhood home. I’ll post pictures tomorrow. We also visited Bath and, as Tim had not been there before, took a tour on an open-top bus, just like the genuine tourists we were. It was a lovely week, it didn’t rain as much as had been forecast and it felt like a holiday.
Since we arrived home, I have been much occupied with thoughts of chicks. To recap, there are Rose’s three bantam hens and a cock, my two big black hens and one big brown one, four bantam pullets, daughters of Canasta, who hatched on 14th June and five bantam chicks, sex not yet identified, children of Scrabble, that hatched at the end of July.
I let the pullets out a couple of weeks ago and they’ve returned to their coop to sleep every night. The chicks (this is a misnomer, used only for identification) had their own coop and a decent size run. Scrabble was in with them, but she was named for her love of digging and she’d ruined the bits of lawn I moved the run to. So, once we got home, I moved it again and removed her. She was very unhappy indeed, not at all ready to leave her babies, even though they were quite big enough to manage without her. Today, I cracked and let the chicks out.
This has been astonishingly successful. I threw handfuls of mealworms for all the chickens to peck for and there was surprisingly little conflict. I broadcast them well, of course, but the only hen that showed any aggression was Rose’s black bantam, Polly, and the youngsters soon skipped out of her way. The grownups went to hang out in Rose’s garden, the teenage pullets went into the long grass and the babies and mother pottered around the veg garden. Then it rained and all the youngsters, plus Scrabble, took shelter; first in the Dutch barn (open sided) with the barn cats and then in the chicken greenhouse. And then, when the old hens went home, they all just rubbed along together. I thought this would take weeks and it seems to have happened in a day. They’ve all roosted together and they’ll all wake up together and they’re one big family now. Isn’t that lucky?