Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Indoor Days and Outdoor Days

The weather in Britain is less than predictable this time of year. Mike checks the BBC news at stupid o'clock in the morning when it's still dark outside to see what the weather's going to do. You can only have faith in the weather for up to 6 hours from the forecast, so checking the weather becomes like a compulsive disorder.

We cope by planning 'indoor days' - ie all the work that can be done inside when the weather is horrible, and 'outdoor days' - extra outdoor chores that are more pleasant to do when it's sunny, or at least not squally showers and hurricane-like winds.

Most days are hybrids, like today. A bit of outside and a bit of inside. But that can mean starting your day at 5am in order to fit in some outside time. It's nice being up though. It's half 9 in the morning now; I'm on my second pot of coffee, but I squeezed in a few extra outside chores before the winds and rain beat me.

This morning I found the first Barbu D'uccle chicken egg from this year's chicks -

And I found that my rat trap had worked -

Look at the size of her - she's as big as my hatchet! And fat from helping herself to the meat chickens' food.

The chickens are nonplussed by the weather and carry on their chicken business. Although Paula didn't make it (old age), the Barbu D'Uccle chick is recovering. She injured her leg or hip joint but was getting around fine. Then she started to go backwards and I couldn't understand why until I caught one of the young roosters showing her a good time - at least from his point of view. I think it was aggravating her condition, not to mention it was taking advantage of her inability to run away, which it what the other hens do when they don't feel receptive. The equivalent of a chicken headache.

She now gets her own day retreat with a personal food and water supply.

Our chickens have learned to recognise vehicles which have food in them. There is often wheat or pellet spilled in the back of the work truck or quad bike from feeding pheasants. The chickens offer a kind of valeting service and clean up the loose food. I've seen sparrows doing the same.

Or maybe she's waiting for a lift somewhere. Adventure chicken. They're smarter than you would initially think. As a child I lost more than one game of Tic Tac Toe to a chicken at the Aqua Circus in Cape Cod. I'm still harboring a grudge.

The little phoenix hen is still determined to hatch her small clutch of eggs. No sign of chicks yet, and I'm not sure when they're due. She's a sneaky sitter.

I would like to put some hay under her for her comfort. But I've tried that before and the hen thought the nest looked different and rejected the eggs. I guess if she chose to sit there in the first place she's happy enough. I can put some hay in when the chicks come.


Paula said...

I'm glad I read this early today. I'd planned a bunch of things that need to get done (hang book shelves, clean toilets, finish laundry, etc.), but they are all inside chores. We're supposed to be getting a series of storms here in Oregon starting tonight. So that means today would be better spent outside, and those chores would be rake leaves and more leaves, and cut up the barberry bushes and put them in the green recycle bin. I can see the barberry bushes easily taking up most of the day (as well as most of the bin) because they are covered in thorns, so this will not be a fun chore. Or maybe not- it's only 6:30 in the morning here, and I can hear a pretty good storm kicking up right now. It's really coming down out there. Well, rain or shine, now I've got the day planned either way. It doesn't sound very fun. Maybe I'll squeeze a nap in there somewhere....

Terry Scoville said...

Great story. My goodness that is a large rat, that picture made me smile. Sounds like your chicks are quite the opportunists. i hope the weather gives you sleep in privileges soon.

Poppy Cottage said...

Mmmm.... I planned an outside day today, but then again I had this idea in my head for making a different scarf from the one Kim and I made, I really did try to put it to the back of my head, but I kept thinking. Check out my blog to see how it turned out. (needless to say I never managed to get anything done outside!!

Tamar said...

Nice work on the rat! Would your trap work for chipmunks? Those are the varmints that get into our chicken feed. At first, I figured they couldn't eat all that much. Then I watched for a while after one of them made trip after trip from the chicken feeder to its lair, its pouches stuffed with high-protein pellets.

I'm this close to closing the cat up in the chicken run.

Jennifer Montero said...

Colette - the poppy scarf was a work of art - seriously. Hope you'll bring it to K&N group and show it off.

Tamar - Chipmunks, eh? I expect if they're legal to trap that someone makes a trap especially for them. I don't know what you'd bait it with - chicken feed apparently. The cat is another sensible option, if the chickens don't mind!