Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Myfanwy the Chicken

I have been reporting a lot of bad news on the chicken front, so I thought I would catch you all up on the good news stories.

Do you remember Myfanwy the egg-eating hen? As Charles's last remaining heir (I let a friend have her two sisters and a fox got them both...sorry, a bit more bad news I forgot to tell you about) I was very fond of her. As a egg-eater, I was very annoyed with her. My attempts to reform her failed. I found her a home but it fell through. This turned out to be a bonus as the home was with her two (recently departed) sisters and their vulpine visitor.

We finally made the hard choice to put her in the pheasant pen in the woods. I was sat with her on my lap in the front seat of Mike's truck. As we left our driveway I had a great idea. The Manor house flock was down to only a few cockerels after repeated fox attacks (I think we have taken care of the culprits now). No hens. No eggs. What did we have to lose by making Myfanwy a "gift" to Lord and Lady S? At worst she would wander down the drive and back home to us, and we'd have to go back to plan A. At best, the Manor house cockerels would have company, and maybe even the odd egg.

It has been a complete success. Myfanwy immediately took up with a little Cochin cockerel. The housekeeper tells me they are inseparable. As a bossy hen, she's leading him rather than the other way around, but they both seem content with the arrangement.

Doesn't she look happy, more purposeful? Do you remember the hen with the rolling pin from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons? That's Myfanwy. She just needs the straw hat with the flower to complete the picture.

I just walked down to the house to deliver some fresh eggs, and Myfanwy was having her picture taken by tourists-

Myfanwy now lives in this garden -

It's a step up from our front yard. No wonder she decided to stay. All the men to herself, a fancy garden and the adoration of tourists all summer. She's must feel like a celebrity (or is that a celebirdy?)

And to top it off, she's stopped eating eggs. Can you believe it? The housekeeper says she picks up an egg most days.

The ducklings I hatched for Lady S are happily reunited with their parents. The family group spends most of their day waddling around the churchyard attached to the manor, adding ambiance to the place. The ducklings are splashed black and white, a mix of their parents -

I have a small hatch due out on Sunday, so maybe there will be more good news - the start of a small flock of Buff Orpingtons. I have sourced a handful of Barbu D'Uccle eggs and I will set them next week.

The last bit of good news is a 'blowing my own trumpet' announcement: I administered the last dose of injectable wormer to the sheep last week All.By.Myself. No accidents, no jabbing my own hand. I penned them, caught them, rolled them and jabbed them. And they're still alive. Later my husband surprised me with a gift he had made for me -

My very own shepherd's crook. We still have quite a few working blacksmiths in England and Mike found an old pattern and had the smith make it for me. It's used to hook the back leg of a sheep and hold it. The girls are going to have to endure me practising yet another technique on them.

I've just registered my flock with the AHO (Animal Health) as required by our government. Once I receive my flock number I will be an official sheep keeper. I'm about to register with the Polled Dorset Sheep Breeder's Association and I have to pick a prefix, as a name for my flock. I've chosen Yankee. The Yankee Flock of Polled Dorset. I think it suits us both.


  1. Glad to hear Myfanwy has found new digs, and not in the stewpot either. Perhaps she just needed to, uh, have a lot of men to boss around! But I am concerned. Given her move to the manor house, do you now need to refer to her as Lady M.?

  2. El - You bring up a good point. As she's taken up with one of Lordy's cockerels I guess he would confer his title to her so yes, Lady Myfanwy it is.

    It was so odd to see how much Myfanwy's personality has changed in new surroundings where she's top hen. She's much more confident, and definitely seems happier.

  3. I'm happy to hear about (Lady) Myfanwy, it does indeed sound like she has been lucky in finding a place with many males to boss around...
    and congrats on injecting the sheep by yourself, without injecting yourself!
    PS the shepherd's crooks rocks :o)

  4. Nice crook! I don't know if you read Living the Frugal Life, Kate's blog about self-sufficiency, but she and I were just talking about gifts. For her birthday, she got a mailbox repurposed to hold garden tools, and a lovely wooden hod. For my birthday, I got a shotgun. The kinds of gifts we get are, I think, indicative of the hold this kind of life has taken on us. A crook is WAY up there!

    However, if it doesn't pan out for me, perhaps you can arrange to have my adopted by Lord and Lady S. Myfanwy seems to have it pretty good.

  5. martha in mobile24 June 2010 at 15:05

    Sometimes all it takes to bloom are different circumstances. I think that I, too, would prosper with several men to do my bidding, luxurious surroundings and an aristocratic title.

  6. Having a very relaxing time down here in Cornwall but still managing to read a few blogs!!

    See you when I get back,

    That was so sweet of Mike.

  7. uh, that would be the Widda Hen, in the blue bonnet. "Ya-yess!" Foghorn Leghorn was, and still is, my absolute favorite Warner Bros. character, possibly because he was such a southern-fried idiot. "Listen to me when I'm talkin' to ya, boy! I say, I say, that's a JOKE son!" Good times, good times....

    Hey congratulations on not sticking yourself! and on your wonderful reward for becoming a furreal sheep keeper. Husbands can be truly wonderful sometimes, can't they?

    I like the name you've chosen. I grew up in California, where I learned the whole diversity thing at an early age. We were supposed to find out what our ancestry was, and when I asked my mom, she frowned at me and said, "you're a Yankee!" But maybe that's because her folks were from Philly, back when it was known as Fort Du Quesne....

  8. Soooooooo.......

    Have you got your ewes??????????????????

    Can't wait to meet them xx

  9. Maria - I'm trying to refrain making any feminist jkes about men needing direction from women, regardless of species...

    Tamar - I can for sure say that my birthday presents in recent years differ considerably from earlier ones. I thought Kate's mailbox was superb! I'm looking forward to your first "pot shot" with your new gun.

    Martha - Myfanwy is a fairy tale chicken princess. I kind of envy her too.

  10. Paula - A fellow Yankee eh?! Do you still get the inbred urge to make a pot roast with boiled potatoes occasionally? The Widow Hen - I couldn't remember what she was called. She had old Foghorn's number though.

  11. Colette - Ewes are here, their fleece is in the tub soaking right now. The house smells of hot sheep!

  12. :) That's quite a hook! And a thoughtful gift too. Very cool that this sort of thing can still be commissioned locally over there. How do you pronounce "Myfanwy?" Not knowing any better, I'd go with "mif-AHN-wee." Am I even close? Is it Welsh?

  13. Kate - It's great that there are still working blacksmiths around, and surprising how often we call on one.

    Myfanwy is welsh - well spotted! Your pronunciation is very close. The Ys sound like As, so it's Ma-FAN-way.