Posts from October 2010

Autumn sunshine and a wonderful fine weekend at home. On Saturday morning when the clouds cleared from the sky there was a light covering of snow on the hills, a visible change in the season. The snow soon disappeared as the sun warmed the ground. A perfect couple of days for gardening, cutting the final sweet peas, picking the pumpkin from its exhausted plant, feeding the last caterpillar ravaged broccolli to the chooks. We also had an abundance of outdoor time and restorative fresh air and sunshine. Fabulous.The colours of the leaves have such immense variety, the changing light throughout the day always emphasises this wonder of nature. We made time to play.


Picked some thorle pippins.
And spent a bit of time hen watching.
These fellas are now 14 weeks old. We have 9 hens of varying older ages and 9 'new' ones, 5 cockerels, 4 hens. They are quite settled together and enjoying nestling into the edge of the pen to capture the warmth of the sun. The chicks came to us when they were a week old and were kept in a large cardboard box in the house initially to keep them warm. As they grew we made a new temporary house outside from a bed frame and chicken wire to acclimatise them gradually and then eventually they were introduced to the existing hens.


A couple of the cockerels facing each other out. Generally there has been great harmony amongst the growing chicks and even the merging of the two groups only exhibited a low amount of hen pecking/pecking order goings-on. I think from now the cockerels will show more natural competitive behaviour and will have to be seperated and removed.


As the afternoon progressed we took a bit of a walk locally, admired the view of Ben Lomond and then went up our local hill The Dumpling to watch the sun set and the full moon rise. A lovely end to a fine weekend.

Hedgehogs


We found these wee fellows in some loose straw by the edge of a stack of bales this afternoon. There were two adults around as well so we are sincerely hoping we haven't overly disturbed them. The hay has been in the same place for quite a few weeks and is protected from the wet Autumn weather we've had this week. Although it seems a bit late for breeding apparently females can have two litters a year and these would be September babies. They must be over 2 weeks old as their eyes are open and their spines fully out (they are born with the spines under the skin to save the mother some pain!). Hedgehogs tend to go their own way at 4-5 weeks of age. There are loads of worms and insects around so we hope they and their parents are getting plenty of food. Hedgehogs go into hibernation when the temperature is cool enough rather than a specific time of year so all being well they've got plenty of time to grow and lay down fat stores before the weather turns chilly.

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