There is an obvious lack of swallows this year. The first swallow arrived here on the 15th April, but only a few. From carrying out some research, I am not alone and less have made it back to the UK this year. The good news is that those who have arrived, have had the pick of the nests and now have fledglings, ready to try out their wings… and allow their parents time for a second brood.
From a quick count I think I am more than 50% down on last years numbers. I have 5 empty nests in the stables, and I cannot see all the nests in the barn to know how many are empty or not.
The lack of swallow chicks is more than made up by the number of chicken chicks! In March I filled an incubator with eggs. I now have 23 young chickens running around the yard. The majority are a breed called Araucana, and are notoriously difficult to sex, so as yet I don’t know how many cockerels and how many hens I have. I have 2 Brahams, and again I don’t know what sex they are. The rest are a mix of Araucana and Faverolles, and again who is a boy is not known.. I am busy watching to see who is going to grow tail feathers and who is going to cock a doodle doo first! Then some of the girls can be sold and I can see how many friends I have who would like a cockerel for free!
I have also had some self seeding chicks!! You know when you have a garden and you look at it and think.. I don’t remember planting that, it often happens to me with poppies, they pop up everywhere. Well the same thing can happen with chickens. I walked out earlier this month and looked around and thought… I don’t remember seeing that little mite before.
I have had two hens hide away and have chicks.
The mothers are a Silver Laced Wyandotte and a Jubilee Orpington, both bantam, and dad is a Faverolle, known as dinner (as that is what he was supposed to be but I “chickened out”)!
The yard currently looks like the scene from Jurassic Park where the little dinosaurs ran around ( thankfully though not eating anyone). I need to get some sold!
The stars of this month have to be my ducklings, Liametta, Jemima and Lucky.
The cutest bundles who will follow me everywhere given half a chance, including into the house where they eat the cats food and then paddle in the cats drinking bowl….. the cats are not amused.
Poor Squirrel and Tinker just do not know what to do with themselves. They know they are not allowed to eat the ducklings, but they are allowed to eat their cat food, and if there cat food just happens to be inside a duckling???!! They were told the answer was NO.