Just a quick chook update. With amazing foresight, that clearly eluded our political leaders, our 3 chickens decided to simultaneously moult at the same time as we got the stay at home notice for the pandemic.
So not only did we have to stay at home, we also had to buy eggs. We are in complete shock.
At least they are making themselves useful, eating the last of the brassica crop which is completely covered in aphids.
Two eggs is better than one. Left hand side 72 gms and right hand side 48 gms. The smaller egg comes from our oldest girl who finds hot days tiring and spends lots of time over summer moulting. This is her first egg since November.
This morning there was an avian invasion at Chez Fork, a family of White-winged Choughs dropped by. As with previous visits by these family birds our chickens retreated into the corner and looked on as the chough family did a thorough search of the yard for food.
It happens every year, after a summer of tending plants through stinking hot days, you wake up one day and the overnight temperature has dropped and those tomato bushes are past their best. Well that’s where it starts.
About a week ago we did decide to pull out the spent tomato vines and in the time-honoured way it has led to job after job in the garden. Once the tomatoes had gone the rest of the bed needed to be cleared of weeds. Then it was clear that the whole bed needed re-aligning to rectify some long-forgotten design decision we made years ago.
Thankfully our garden beds are not permanent, so up came the concrete block edge. Three days in and all the strawberry and sorrel plants that lived in those concrete blocks were transferred temporarily into tubs so the blocks could be re-laid. In the interim one of the chooks offered ‘assistance’ by eating the one sorrel plant remaining in the main part of the garden down to it’s roots.
Then it was off to the tip to buy a trailer load of compost. I’ll skip over the hard work of shoveling soil etc, because I was lucky enough to avoid that task. I injured my shoulder some days earlier, (the other half did an excellent job of the task).
At last we reached the fun bit, planting out. This bed now has lettuce, spinach and kale planted in it. Today the strawberries have gone back in. The sorrel, having proved such a hit with the chickens, has now gone back into the main part of the bed. Around the edge I have transplanted an allium, possibly a variety of garlic chive, whose white flowers look quite decorative. Of course the finishing touch is miles of plastic mesh and spiky sticks and tubes, which we hope may forestall chicken attack. Although we doubt it will work. 😊
PS defences were broken through, but we are retaliating with bigger and better defences.
Honestly, you’d think someone had been killed in here. One of our younger chickens has started moulting for the first time. Huge patches of skin can be seen! Yikes.
Today I see that one of the other ‘girls’, the little Arucana, has also started loosing her feathers. The very hot weather is effecting them as much as it effects us. The chickens spent most of the day in the shade next to my stone water trough, drinking as much water as they can.
Another interesting effect resulting from the moult is that the pecking order changes. The black hen who is now moulting was the number 2 chicken. This evening I see her being pushed out of the way by one of the chickens we are minding for our friend. This smaller chicken is normally two places below in the order. Once again I find that chickens are endlessly fascinating to watch.
Since arriving back from our overseas trip to our mini suburban savannah, TB has mown the grass down, at least to the point where we can find the garden beds. I have also unpacked the garden hardware we bought back from Japan. (No plants or seeds because we are not into causing bio-security problems and our wooden handled tools were declared at Border Security, no problems there).
As you can see from the close-up below, both the mini hoe and the triangular tool that looks a bit like a ho mi, have sharpened edges to help remove reluctant weeds. The mini hand saws have a sharp serrated edge which will be useful for cutting back all manner of vegetation.
I have also picked a slew of broadbeans, small and very tasty.
We are also getting a steady supply of eggs from our chickens.
Now it’s just a matter of clearing some spaces ready for our summer veggies.