ONE of my bantams is struggling to cope with the outcome of being a
super efficient mother.
She crouches in the corner of her pen, feathers outstretched, determined to offer shelter and succour to her seventeen chicks. Not that she has hatched all of these off herself.
The chicks are a mixture of a clutch I had in the incubator and eggs she incubated.
But some other enterprising bantam crossed with a cuckoo must have slipped an egg or two of her own under this broody because, although most of the chicks are a fuzzy yellow, there are a couple of brown and one black chicks.
No-one is owning up I notice, but Mrs Bantam loves all her chicks equally. Black, brown or yellow. A rainbow nation.
Hens and bantams are laying all over the place.
Three persist in choosing totally inappropriate nests in the midst of a) a ring feeder for the bullocks b) a gap in a stack of straw bales behind the dogs’ kennels which means that the dogs snaffle the eggs if they get to them before me and c)under a cattle trough; which again means a race against the dogs to pick up the egg first.
So despite each of these hens not having a previous egg to lay to, and the glaring evidence that theirs are dud spots to lay, they keep going back.
I am out and about in the yards a lot more this week than usual. John has hurt himself falling off a straw trailer.
All it takes is a moments lack of attention and stepping back into thin air and whoops, a long fall onto hard ground.
At this stage I think the nursing care he is receiving from yours truly is aggravating him more than his injuries, but I maintain he is etter in a grumpy mood as it hurts him when he laughs.
The bruising on his back and side is pretty spectacular now.
A fetching shade of blue black purple. I have tried to cheer him up by the anticipation of greens and yellows mottling in, but somehow, I do not think he appreciates the artistic side of his injury.
The stiff Frankenstein walk, groaning when he tries to get out of a chair, or worse bed, inability to bend and pick anything up ( or put his socks and more intimate apparel on) is as nothing compared to the fact that, at the moment, he is relying on me to get all the day to day jobs done around the place. Oh the power.
So far everything is going well. Internal gates in the foldyards are now open so that all the bullocks and heifers can get to the one feed trough that can be filled with a tractor bucket.
No more lifting of individual sacks into individual troughs.
A real time and back saver. I can drive John round in the Land Rover to check on stock and know everything that he is up to.
He can’t wait to get better.