I went out into garden before dawn today - it was hammering it down with rain so I had to wear my waterproofs - it was that bad - and is still raining now.
I checked all the girls were OK, and that the new girls were fine - which they were - all cozied up together.
Then I opened the door to let them out.
Suzie Silkie - my new BIG bantam, and Mary Mille Fleur Sablepoot decided that they wanted breakfast in bed before flying down with the others.
Mary Mille Fleur named after Mr Lottie's mother. (She wasn't contrary but Mary Mille is.)
She gave me a real fright when I went back out an hour later to see if her and Suzie had ventured out.
Suzie hadn't bothered and was tucking into some rainbow Chard which I picked for them to have with their breakfast. Mary was missing.
She wasn't in the nest box next door - I couldn't see her in the run, I looked and looked - even thought she was hiding in the pot so I turned that around to have a look - no sign of her!
Do you ever get those moments when you think you are going mad? I was getting drenched - but Iwas determined to find her.
I kept counting all the bantams to make sure that I hadn't missed one. It has hard to see clearly through the covered run with all the rain hammering down on it. so I crawled inside - still no sign of her. I went up the other end, where thankfully I had made a panel that opens like a door under the Palace - and still couldn't see her. By this time Dolly was there, so I moved her to see if Mary was underneath or beside her - as often happens with my others - but still no sight - nor sound of Mary.
Mary is about twice the size of the Sebrights, Snowy and Poppy (named by my grandchildren) and bigger than the modern game birds too - so not hard to miss.
I knelt there in the pouring rain totally baffled and getting soaking wet. Then I moved Dolly again and saw a feather sticking out - just one - by the wheel of the run. When I lay down to have a closer look, I spotted Mary crammed in between the wheel mechanism and the wire cage. I really don't have a clue how or why she managed to get behind it - non of the others ever have, not even the teeny ones when being chased!
I couldn't push her forward or upwards because of the lever mechanism of the wheel. I could only just squeeze one hand in there it was so narrow. So carefully I found her two feet and gently pushed them upwards to make sure they didn't get trapped, and then managed bit by bit to gingerly pull her out. I still dont know how she squeezed into there or how I managed to extract her!
I snuggled her into my jacket - she didn't seem too bothered, checked her over, and popped her into the run. Then dashed and got a couple of house bricks, wrapped them up and put one behind each of the wheels to stop it happending again. The gap is only the width of a chickens head! The bantams love to perch on top of the wheels to preen and sunbath, and do so throughout the day.
As you can see from the photo above - Mary hasn't a care in the world - and has just preened a few loose fluffy baby feathers out.
A little later nine out of the ten banties where perching side by side and I dashed out to get a photo - yes you have guessed - they heard the back door closing so some jumped down ready to meet me.
They are still a bit put out about the rain - but hopefully it will stop before the day is out and they can be off flying around the garden as usual.
Dolly Silkie at the back seems happy to just potter about in the run, eating and just chilling out in the Aubiose. Apparently her hairstyle affects how/what she can see, but I think she is just acclimatising herself to her new surroundings.
Mary seems quite at home and I have been watching her practising her flying skills. She's been having so much fun flying from one roosting bar to the other - not caring if someone else is on it - she just plops herself next to them and snuggles up - it's a joy to see them all perched together
She's acting more like a canary than a bantie the way she has been flying. The other girls usually fly around the garden. Bluebell the red/blue game bird has been amazing Mr Lottie by flying 30ft or more horizontally and about 5ft high off the ground, to overtake the flock running along after something good to eat.
Must dash - I have trug loads of spuds to sort and put into sacks