Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Hen Love

As expected, because I am in obsessive love with our hens, they provide most of today's blog content.  The girls have settled down very well and we are getting, on average, three eggs per day.  Steve has a bit of an issue with egg collection, he doesn't like the hens to see him collecting the eggs, waiting instead for them to go out in the yard, so their accusing eyes don't meet his.  Dag :-)

Angie and Anne are very tame and will tolerate me picking them up and cuddling them.  Wilma runs  a mile and has to be cornered to be captured, while Leanne will bolt if she can, but if she gets a fright she freezes, then bobs down and stamps up and down on the spot with her wings slightly raised which makes it easy to pick her up.  Odd! 

They are ever so nosy and follow me round as I lift up things, diving in to see if there is anything interesting underneath.  This, I think, is Anne, waiting while I shift a piece of wood, she is hoping for a few tasty slaters to eat.
We have worked out that Angie and Leanne are the most regular egg layers, Wilma lays the smallest eggs every second day or so, and Anne lays the biggest eggs.  And we all know why that is don't we, it's because of that big bum! :-)
The girls are incredibly alert to the sounds of other birds.  Here they are at attention after a magpie flew overhead.  Wilma in the background, Angie front left and Leanne next to her.  I notice that Leanne has  small bald patch on her neck and suspect that Angie may be responsible - I have seen Angie peck Leanne a couple of times, not with much aggression, but enough to point out who is boss!
They also come running if they see or hear either of us coming, then they flock around our legs as we come into their yard.  Just as well we are fencing the section beyond their gate as it wont be long before one of them escapes, it is hard getting out of the gate!
Here is Angie concentrating hard on some minute speck on the ground with Anne coming over to have a look.  They have amazing eyesight!
 Here is Wilma looking grand.  We'll just ignore the embarrassing tail.  :-)
Here is Leanne coming over to say hello whilst I sit on the ground.  Amazingly I managed to sit in their yard with my camera and didn't sit in any chook poo.
The girls made their own decision about where to have their dustbath.  They grovel in the dirty, dusty sand, getting absolutely filthy, then after a while have a darn good shake to get rid of the dirt along with any skin irritations.  We have been adding wood ash to the sand to make it dustier, and I have also ordered some diatomacious earth to add to their dust bath, it's supposed to do a good job with cleaning up their skin.  I subjected them all to a grab and inspection of their skin after seeing some horrendous photos of skin parasites on Google.  Thankfully these ladies seem to be skin parasite free so hopefully with a good dust bath it will stay that way.  In saying that, the rain bucketed down overnight and their dust bath is currently a quagmire!  I was thinking that one of those bright blue clam shell sand pit thingies with a lid would work a treat.  ha ha ha
 This is the view of  The House Of Chic and yard from our house, pretty isn't it.
And we are very very very glad that we were prompt with netting over the top of their yard.  I was in the kitchen the other afternoon, about 5pm, when I noticed something large and dark out of the corner of my eye.  On closer inspection, it was a wedge tail eagle, on the ground behind our house.  And it had something.  After a moment of panic re chookies, I realised the eagle had caught a rabbit.
Thankfully we didn't have to witness the capture and kill, that had already happened, but we snuck into our back bedroom, where the eagle was just outside, and quietly watched.  Isn't it a beautiful bird, so magnificent.  And so big, we realised that our hens wouldn't stand a chance against something like this.
I wont horrify you with gory photos, but I watched as the eagle ate the top half of the rabbit, gulping down the big chunks it was tearing off.  I expected it to take away the rest of the rabbit but it didn't, eventually flying away, leaving the lower half of the rabbit on the ground.  Next morning it had gone whether the eagle returned or a fox grabbed it, who knows.
On a final note, the kangaroos have always occasionally enjoyed citrus accents with their grass, but suddenly they are getting stuck right in to eating our trees, small as they are, down to nothing.  Steve made these terrific tree protectors which I think look rather classy as well as keeping out the pesky roos.  Take that pesky roos, eat the grass not the trees!

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