The young birds have also been plagued by sparrowhawks, feral ferrets, buzzards and, by the look of a few in the woods with their throats ripped out this morning, possibly a stoat. We can counter the disease, we can't combat protected predators. We're tired and a bit disheartened, which is normal for this time of year. I promise I will be more philosophical and witty when I'm not falling asleep in my cereal bowl.
I can at least muster a quick critter update:
Grandma Brown is the proud (and very grouchy) mother of 4 chicks -
We have two Japanese bantams and two Buff Orpingtons. Fingers crossed for a breeding pair of each.
Barbara's chicks are now big enough to range around the garden without being food for crows. Barbara is tidbit-ing them a piece of bread -
There are two more chicks lurking under the hedge. Barbara is a relaxed mother.
Gertie's chicks are now bigger than she is -
Chick (L) and Mom (R)
They still loosely trail around with her, and she hasn't kicked them out of the nest yet. Gertie also raised this silver Silkie chick, who already has a standout personality -
I really hope it's a little hen because she'll be a cracker. She's curious and friendly, and was the first to venture out without mom. Even if she's a boy, she's staying.
I took Spud to puppy agility class last night, just for some new experiences, and she did great. Dakota came along as nursemaid so I stuck her in the next class up for fun. She ran the course, including both tunnels, without any training. I don't think she found it as much fun as looking for deer or chasing rabbits.
We're dogging in now, i.e. pushing wandering pheasants back home with dogs. Sometimes three times a day. Pip wants you to know that she's sustained the first injury of this season -
It was Pip vs. barbed wire fence. Pip lost. She tore a flap of skin from her leg but it appears superficial and she's not lame. I cleaned and reassembled the wound, and dressed it. I've given her some antibiotics just in case. She has taken to her bed to recuperate, which looks suspiciously like my bed. That woeful expression on her face should win her a best actress award.
The best news is that the horses are back in work!
I have found two wonderful ladies in the next village who are always ready to ride around the country lanes on horseback. Kitty and Alan are enjoying the change of scenery. When we get the fence finished at Milkweed, they will be enjoying some fresh grass as well.
The sheep are growing so big I needed to get them a bigger trough -
The orphans are catching up with the in-lamb ewes, size wise. I hang over the fence wasting too much time watching them convert grass to sheep shit. I still can't believe they're mine. But what really makes me feel like a farmer? -