There has been a change of the guard here.
Not the guard dog. She still presides – seeing off the foxes and generally lazing about. The neighbours have gotten two red setter pups and they are just the most fantastic pair. Brothers – one big and goofy and lovable and then the runt of the litter who may be the brains of the operation from what I can tell. But both boisterous and difficult to train. Mrs. Neighbour says it’s like having twin toddlers except there is no reasoning with them and reckons she is too old to have taken this on. Mr. Neighbour nods and smiles and says all will be well. Whenever the pups escape, they come straight here. Big Brother parks himself in front of the guard dog and waits patiently to be acknowledged. The Runt sets up camp watching the hens and ducks. I found him herding the hens one day. I am watching developments here carefully The guard dog is unimpressed with the pups but takes some consolation in the fact that she now has a steady supply of treats because she can nip over and steal theirs when they leave them behind to go off and chase their tails.
The hens are new. Boris and Hoppy have both departed. Hoppy was looking a bit sick and forlorn and eventually keeled over in the nest box one morning. Boris hung around for another couple of weeks and then came down sick too. I found there was an mite infestation. I scrubbed out the hen house. No improvement on Boris and she too kicked the bucket. We scrubbed out the house and disinfected it and got all set for new hens. I have lots of plans for hens in the future and what breeds to get etc etc. But this time, I went shopping purely for hens that would bring me joy to watch. I went for pretty. And came home from a poultry fair with a Black Rock, New Hampshire Red and a Bluebell. At least this time everyone will be able to tell the difference between the birds. We are still to name them. Mr. Fairweather has vetoed any suggestions so far. (Sorry Kate.)
I also managed to pick up two more ducks. Our eight Khaki Campbells were starting to mature and their adult feathers were coming in. We had bought them unsexed. Five appeared to be developing the dark heads associated with drakes. It would not bode well for my egg plans. So at the poultry fair I kept an eye out. It’s a bit daunting with all the wheeling and dealing. One pair really struck me as shady dealers but they had lots of birds. Lots of Campbells but not all necessarily Khakis no matter what he said. To cut a long story short, I took two Dark Campbells and gave him back another three birds he had shoved in to my borrowed cage. In the meantime the birds at home were maturing. Turns out I have three drakes, three Khaki females, two females that may be Khaki Dark crosses or just a darker strain of Khakis, and my two new girls. I don’t mind too much. In fact, I think it makes for a gorgeous looking flock. They are more skittish than the Aylesburys and much quieter. And I don’t know how they feel about classical music but we have time to figure it out. I just have to figure out how many drakes is enough for my seven ladies. Those that luck out are probably destined for the pot.