Scrabble does indeed have six chicks and all is well with them. The coop has a layer of straw on dry earth, so Scrabble is scratching around a good deal, mostly kicking stuff into their food and water. Still, they’re warmer than they would be in the other coop, so they’ll stay there for the time being. The weather has been horrible again today – a lot of places have had hailstorms and we’ve lit the fire for the second day. I’m just glad I didn’t turn the Aga off, once the annual service had been done, on the last day of the heatwave.
The vegetables have appreciated the rain, however, and have grown hugely in just a couple of days. As soon as it’s dry, I must do the weeding, then cover them over again before I let the chickens out. They’ve been better off indoors for a couple of days, they’d only have skulked under a hedge or in the Dutch barn.
I’m very sad to say that one of the barn cats has been missing for about a week now. There are three of them nowadays – I’m sure that the very loving mother and the friendly tabby have found new homes, and that the old father tom RasPutin died over the winter, because I haven’t seen him for about nine months – but the three remaining ones, two boys and a girl, visited most days. They are timid and never would be anything but feral, but they are also friendly and never aggressive.
One day, none of them came for breakfast or tea, which is unusual but not that rare. They didn’t come for breakfast the next day either and only the female came that evening and she was nervous. Since then, there has just been the girl, who has white paws and bib, and one boy. I have never been able to tell the boys apart from their appearance, though one is more timid than the other. So I can’t be sure that it’s always the same boy but, as time goes by, it seems less likely that the third will return. There have never been more than a few days when they haven’t all come to be fed, in more than five years. I checked the barn where they sleep, in case he’d been injured and crawled back, but no sign and I’m sure he isn’t in another barn because we haven’t opened any doors unless we’ve done so regularly. They’re too timid to follow us in anyway.
I have the feeling that Polly Garter’s single chick is a girl. I can’t be sure, but the neat roundness of her tail and end of back feathers looks right. Don’t know yet about the three chicks of Foster, they’re smaller and she’s so protective that I haven’t really seen them very clearly.