Friday 8th October 2010
After a stupid accident, which I am not prepared to talk about, we lost 2 of the teenagers so are down to 4 - the pied white, the range brown and 2 goldens. They are gorgeous and perfect and have now been sent to coventry....well, down to the greenhouse where they are currently residing in the lap of luxury under a lamp and inside the old guinea pig run. They have full adult plumage now, and to be honest, are almost as big as the original family, so I think it will be safe to let them out and take away the lamp. There is plenty of straw in the greenhouse, and I have nearly finished lagging it for the winter. When the weather gets really nasty, we have a small fan heater which we plan to put up on bricks and put an old freezer basket over it. This has a frost free setting which should just keep the kids cosy during the winter. There are also 8 large flower pots stuffed with straw in which they can huddle down, plus their lovely wooden home that Mark constructed, but only 1 seems willing to use. Maybe they will see sense as the winter weather sets in.
Group 2 hatched successfully....well, 5 babies made the hatch easily. Number 6 struggled and struggled for 36 hours, so we did the unthinkable and we gave it a helping hand. Of course, we should have let nature takes its course because when it did finally break free, it was bent double and couldn't hold itself upright. We gave the poor little chick 24 hours in the incubator alone to see if it improved, but it didn't and Mark quickly and kindly put it out of it's misery. Egg number 7 sat in the incubator for another 24 hours, but as there was no sign of action, I cracked it, and it wasn't fertile. The incubator has now been cleaned up and packed away until the spring. So, we have 5 little urchins leaping around, adult feathers already showing through, 2 pied whites and 3 goldens. This gang are much more skittish, but just as cute.
We haven't had any eggs now since the end of September, and although we toyed with the idea of giving them artifical light to encourage eggs, we have decided not to and to let them preserve their energy for the winter. The scruffy brown girl who was being constantly ravaged by the lads has grown all of her plumage back now the boys have lost interest in procreation, so fingers crossed, by the time spring is in the air and making babies is on their minds, the ratio of boys to girls will be better and she will be left alone a bit more.