Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More sad news of a feathered kind …..

On Saturday it was showing 35° C on an outside temperature indicator that we drove past, brilliant sunshine. On Sunday the temperature didn’t get past 9° C on our gauge and rain, rain, gloom and snow!. Ridiculous.
But, despite the weather we were having a lovely Sunday. Just relaxing. Lovely roast chicken for lunch. A DVD in the afternoon. La D had a good chat with her sister – La Contessa. I went out to lock the chickens away at 7 but could only find one, huddled up in the corner on the nest box. At this time it was snowing, a fair bit. I couldn’t see them anywhere.
I rushed back to la D and then we both went out and spent an hour calling and searching getting soaked through and very cold. We came in when we could hardly see beyond the end of out noses. Nothing. No sign of the other two at all. What had happened? We didn’t see any signs of a struggle. No feathers, although the gloom and the snow made it difficult to see much detail. Could an eagle have got them? We had seen an eagle munching on something in a field we passed in the car not far from here the week before. Although they normally stay nearer the mountains, but obviously they will search further afield if food is not available at this time of year. We couldn’t have lost more chickens to the f***ing fox, could we? We felt guilty, cross, sad and whole lot more irrational things. We’d only had them for six weeks and not all of three were laying yet. Rotten..
The next day we checked over our remaining hen and she does have some feathers broken and missing on her side. We are going to call her Xena, Warrior Princess for surviving the ordeal, whatever it was. We did find some feathers where they shouldn’t be, although not many. We think it must have been the fox again.
We have raised the level of the fence to over 2 metres now all round by various means of protective material. It looks like a small fortress, something out of a Mad Max movie.
We looked up various sites on the Internet and we seem to be everything right. One new thing we are doing, or at least I am, as it is not a very lady-like thing to do, is to start peeing all round the edge of the pen in the evening. Apparently foxes do not like the smell of human urine at all. As I have got lots of ketones in my wee from my diabetes, I am hoping that the fox(es) won’t even come into the area let alone anywhere near the pen as they’ll pick up the scent miles away. I have also thought of getting a small shot gun, something like a 4/10, but we did read that if a fox is killed, another one moves into the area to take its place. So they are difficult to deal with permanently. So deterrence seems to be the only answer
Xena, is not wandering about much at the moment, poor girl. We haven’t rushed off and replaced the other two yet but will probably later this week.
Oh the joys of living in the countryside.

Lighter subjects ….

The birds are back and how.

The noise of the birds in the morning is so loud at the moment. Myriad calls fill the air from about 5:45 onwards.
We’ve seen a small group of Gold Finches bustling about the top garden. A couple of Redstarts have been flitting in and out of the budding Hibiscus bushes. A little Blue Tit looks like nesting again in the wall just where we have the gazebo. Woodpeckers tree boring can be heard from the woods all around us. Various little birds can be seen occasionally with bits of Bertie’s hair in their beaks as they start their nest building escapades. It really is lovely and I have to say it is my favourite time of the year, especially when it was so lovely and sunny and warm last week. As I mentioned earlier, we have regressed a little with the weather but it will get back on track soon.

The return of the Wiltshire Winkers

Yes, they are coming again. They arrive next week for a few days. La D and myself are really looking forward to seeing them over here again.
We have gone into major Spring cleaning mode.
The panty is spotless (as it can be given the fact that it needs re-plastered!) and looks almost bare as we went through all the food items and surprise, surprise, threw out about a third of them as they should have been consumed in the previous millennium!
I think we are ready, but are they ready for the Bert? They have not had the pleasure yet. Will report later.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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