I used to wonder at the time the Sage spent with his chickens. Now, I’m almost as bad. Although I probably spend less time watching them and more time working.
Indi was out again this morning, but now I’ve remembered the little gap I saw a few weeks ago, between their run and the barn. Remarkably, she is the only one to have found it. Endearingly, she waits for me now, because she knows that I’ll drop her morsels to entice her back home, then she can scoot back out again until it’s time for the next meal. Except now I’ve blocked the gap.
I’ve also raked out all those moulted feathers, cleared the old bedding, dusted for mites and generally cleaned and tidied. It wasn’t great in the late afternoon heat, but it’s done. I was slightly late with the mite-dusting – not bad, but I should have done it a week ago. As it was, I picked a few off me as I went along, and went for an early bath. I’ve been busy and distracted, and also had run out of powder, but it’s not good. The nest boxes and other places they rest have been treated, also their perches, and I’ll deal with places they dust-bathe tomorrow. Peculiar that such minute bugs can tickle so – although it’s just as well, because it gives a warning that treatment is required.
Up to six eggs again today, though several chickens are moulting heavily, including Indi (this is good, it means I don’t have to search for her eggs as she won’t be laying any). Blue Witch suggests that layers’ pellets might be better than mixed wheat and corn for them – I don’t know, they’re Russell’s birds and I have never looked after them. Now that they’re more confined, it’s probably so – when they were completely free range, I’m sure they got all the nutrition they needed naturally. All the same, however they’ve been kept, we’ve never had any illness in the 25 or so years we have kept chickens. A couple of weeks ago, I was getting up to 18 eggs a day, so they seem to be in pretty good condition.
Did I ever tell you how we acquired the bantams in the first place? It was quite by accident.