Monday, April 24, 2006

Saturday, 22 April 2006

A simply gloriously sunny day. I was out this morning and in my absence my OH complained how noisy Freckles was whilst I was out. You would have thought that she was a cockerel the amount of noise she was making apparently. He even went out to tell her to be quiet - but she didn't take the slightest notice - a bit of bribery might have helped. I had to pick her up and give her a cuddle to try and calm her down.

So I guess that this is an opportune time to introduce you to my other chooks – my adopted Bantam Babes, which I nickname the London Ladies – because that is where they came from and they also remind me of ladies (of the chicken world) dressed up in their finery almost like the grand ladies in My Fair Lady.

They are Pekin Bantams, with wonderfully soft feathers that cover all their bodies and legs.

I have a Lavender one – called Dilly Dilly, she gets call Dilly for short, and it saves on the typing. Lavender is one of my favourite plants for its versatility in cooking, aromatherapy and herbal uses.

I also like the old English song……..Lavender’s blue Dilly Dilly, Lavender’s Green, When I am King Dilly Dilly, You shall be Queen…….and so on.

Dilly is a very dainty little lady, and loves a cuddle and is quite talkative but not in a loud way, and she can be a bit bossy and give the others a peck now and again to remind them who is top of the pecking order. She also will not be rushed whilst concentrating on the business of egg laying and had been known to sit there for hours - to the annoyance of the others.

Freckles, well she is a real pain, but what a little character, you just can’t help but love her. She adores to be picked up and cuddled and is so soft you want to bury your head in her lovely black striped feathers with ginger freckles.

If you stroke her on her head and under her chin she closes her eyes in ecstasy and will often nod off. You would never have thought that a noise so loud could come from such a tiny little frame!

She struts about as if she owns the place, but really she is bottom of the pecking order. She walks tall, shouts, and is always up to mischief. She also has a couple of toes missing - I discovered that a few days ago - so too Dilly, but they seem happy and healthy otherwise. Freckles was the first of the three to lay an egg.

The last lady of my little trio is Pumpkin – a Buff Pekin – who should really have been named Road Runner.

Her previous owners mentioned that she was ‘haughty’. That has to be the understatement of the year. She is the one that everyone falls for instantly. She has attitude – big time.

When all the chooks were together it was Pumpkin, who fearlessly ran and pinched the apple cores, and tasty morsels from under the 'noses' of the huge hybrids and ran hell for leather with the others in hot pursuit – but she always gave them the slip.

She does't usually say very much, she is a doer, not a talker - and is too busy getting up to mischief and when she does say anything it is in quiet undertones as she plots with the others to try and get them to distract me so that she can make her escape. I think that she must have all her toes if you saw what she does!

She is a great tunneller, and digs huge holes all around the perimeter fence which I take great care to fill back in.

If I open the gate an inch she is out like a rocket so I have to be very careful. I have started putting pots strategically placed around the pen in some of her big holes as a deterrent, but it is a waste of time as she digs around those too.

I would love to be able to tame her like the others, but the lady is not for turning. When I do manage to sneak up on her and pick her up for a cuddle, she just looks at me indifferently as much as to say, ‘I don’t like you invading my personal space, but I will suffer it with dignity’.

The first thing she does every morning is race out of the run, and around the pen like greased lightening to see if all is in order. Then she runs and jumps up onto her favourite log and pecks through the fencing at the ivy growing up the wall on the other side!

I started this by telling you about the noise that Freckles does to get attention - the only way that I could shut her up today was to give her a flower pot with some weeds in the top - all to herself! It worked for about 15 minutes which is all the time it took her to eat them.

I do believe that she was just attention seeking and was lonely as I found out what the other two had been doing for a couple of hours or more.

Sitting in the nest, talking amongst themselves and in no hurry to shift. When they finally emerged a couple of hours after I came home - they had laid a wonderful pure white and clean egg each - so hot when I took them out, that you would have thought they would be cooked inside.

But they weren't of course and made wonderful Yorkshire puddings today.

There is so much more I can tell you about all my girls but this is enough for one day – you will get to know more over the coming weeks.

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