We have been working in Cornwall for a few days which was really enjoyable, but as always on long drives home the discussion turns to what we will find when we get back regards our assorted poultry and pets. There hadn’t been any ’emergency phone calls’ while away so nothing drastic was anticipated, and upon arriving home we were pleasantly surprised that all had ticked over nicely.
We try to plan to hatch to coincide with when we are actually here, but sometimes circumstances dictate it occurs when we are away. So we were delighted to find that hatching had progressed well in our absence and there were lots of new hatchings which is always great to see.
Although it always tugs to leave our birds at crucial times it is so rewarding to watch those we have trained and left in charge become confident and competent. So satisfying to know others will be able to continue in our work when we no longer can.
Now it is just a case of logging everything in the record book. It’s an essential task when breeding, but I must confess when there are so many other things to do it can be a chore. However, the information collected informs the breeding process moving forward which is at the core of all we do, and in the winter months its good to reflect back over ones notes in front of the log fire.
There were fewer eggs collected than anticipated and we suspect that some hens have gone broody or moved their nests and missed collection. A quick look around the pens today confirmed our suspicions. We were planning a few moves between the pens this weekend so hopefully this will bring the birds back on track and stop them from going broody just yet. They get their turn at ‘doing it naturally’ a little later in the year.
We have three delightful ‘farm cats’, mum Lilly, her daughter Yoda, and son Willow. On arriving back we found a headless mouse in the kitchen which we ascribed that to Willow. He is a great mouser and does enjoy eating the heads from those he catches. But why he must bring his victims remains indoors I don’t know? Another mouse carcase was found in the yard, with head on. So that one we mark up to Lilly who like to bring her victims back to the house, but she rarely ever eats them. Yoda tends to catch her victims around the vegetable beds but has never been seen to eat them or to bring them home. So, all good mousers and the carcasses clearly show they have been busy in our absence..
Importantly, although all our cats visit the hatchery regularly none have ever shown any interest in the chicks or poults. We haven’t done anything special to deter the cats, but have just been lucky in that they prefer mice, and let’s hope it remains that way..