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Escaped cow halts motorway traffic

It happened in Surrey this morning. No, not very near to me. No, it didn’t impact my morning. Yes, her name is Daisy.

What? That’s the most exciting thing in my news feed today.

September 9, 2021 — 7:11 pm
Comments: 10

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

That’s a still from a mildly amusing Youtube of cats interrupting meetings. You’ve probably seen it; it was making the rounds.

I post it because I don’t have any pictures of my moggies making absolute nuisances of themselves just now. I had to host a Zoom meeting of the managing board, and there’s me trying to look all professional and together, and there’s my cats waving their assholes in the camera.

They’re not usually so clingy. I know what was up. They were *pissed* that I was jabbering away at an inanimate object and ignoring them, the dual centers of the universe.

That’s nothing. You should’ve heard when I was late for Chicken Bedtime.

September 7, 2021 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 3

Lookitim go!

Bill the Badger takes his leave. I tried slowing the video down, but then he’s just a slower streak of blur.

He was snuffling around the front garden late last night right when I wanted to go to bed. I knew the moment I opened the front door he would vanish, and there you have it (I can hit a button and manually record to this computer).

Behold, my white trash chicken empire! This is what happens when you expect three or four bantams and you get ten.

The house to the far left was my very first. It was slated for demolition when I suddenly had to house a bunch of cockerels. The one in the middle was a hospital cage I used for sick chickens. It was never meant for permanent housing. Whoever gets stuck in it overnight gets the most free range time next day to compensate.

The one at the far right is the proper new chicken house. Currently, it houses the two hens and one rooster. Why is the fox so much better at catching hens?

September 6, 2021 — 6:40 pm
Comments: 6

He’s back, dammit

I kept the chicken food inside for six weeks, which was a right royal pain. I thought by now, he would have gravitated to a new neighborhood, but my June badger has returned to pinch chicken food.

That’s the picture from last time. After that, I somehow managed to turn off the recording function on my surveillance cameras. I’m kind of relieved. I always dreaded seeing something awful unfold on video.

So late last night, I spotted an amorphous hump of fur rooting around in the feed bin on the camera last night and I said to Uncle B, “You sure you don’t have raccoons in England?” El baj was so into eating my layers pellets that I walked right up to him and he didn’t notice me until I spoke.

It’s a nearly full 20-kilo bag of chicken feed with a nearly full 20-kilo bag of cracked corn, so I don’t think I can drag them in the house without making a mess. Funny, he’s never been interested in the corn, just the pellets.

I tied the lid of the bin down with a bungee, but I doubt that will stop him and I don’t want to hurt him. Bungee cord-associated ocular trauma is a thing, y’all.

So I put a couple of folded, defunct metal lawn chairs on top of that. It won’t stop him either, but I’m hoping it’ll be loud and that will startle him. Or at least alert me.

I’ll keep you posted. Good weekend, all!

September 3, 2021 — 7:28 pm
Comments: 20


We went to see my friend with the pet turkey today. This is her with her best friend, a rescue hen. They cuddle. (D’awwww). They’re largely inside pets now.

Yes. I asked. They just wipe it up. Bit of a hippie, this one.

She had a whole flock of rescue chooks at one time, but the fox got most of them. This girl was spared because the other chickens didn’t like her so she was asleep on the porch by herself when tragedy struck.

There’s some kind of life lesson there, but I can’t work it out.

Miz Turkey was amazingly vocal this time. It wasn’t gobbles, either. It was little whistly sounds. She was trying so hard to talk. Then she walked over and got a big beakful of my upper arm and gave it a good shake.

Ah. Hungry.

The lady would maybe like to take one of my four cockerels and I’m tempted, but they do seem to have an awful lot of accidents re: fox. I’d have to live with the fact I sent my boy into the danger zone. Also, these two are so sweet together, I wonder if a loud-ass rooster is really wanted in the mix.

I’ll have a think. Good weekend, everyone!

August 27, 2021 — 7:24 pm
Comments: 5

And at the other end…

Check out Albert’s spurs. This is the weapon roosters use to kill each other in the ring, though they are sometimes equipped with wicked metal cockspurs to increase the damage.

He can do plenty of damage without. The tactic is to leap in the air and come down spur first on your opponent’s vulnerable bits. Shins, in my case. He can actually poke bleeding holes in my flesh right through jeans (somehow, mysteriously, without poking holes in the jeans themselves). If he catches a joint, he can cripple me for a day.

Two of my other boys also try this gambit, but they’re such fuzzy lightweights it’s merely amusing.

That leaves the blessed Mo, who has never been aggressive. The girls love him and he leads them all around the garden. Wot a rooster is Mo!

I never go out there now without a walking stick that I keep between Albert and me at all times. He almost never gets past my guard now.

God, aren’t Poland legs ugly?

Good weekend, everyone!

August 20, 2021 — 7:29 pm
Comments: 10

My chicken is purple

I don’t know if the Ivermectin is helping Albert or not, but I noticed a couple of days ago that the bald spot was bleeding. Chickens will do that. Even though he’s a strapping big brute, it’s not out of the ordinary for a fellow chicken to sneak up behind him and have an experimental peck on an odd patch of skin.

And once blood is drawn…chickens are absolute piranha with a bleeding chicken. That’s when chicken keepers pull out what we call ‘purple anti-pecking spray’. I bet you’ve guessed what that is already.

Gentian violet.

It acts as a disinfectant and the purple color isn’t nearly as attractive to chickens. Holy hell it goes everywhere, though. And, of course, indelibly stains anything it touches.

When I was a kid, it was seen as a last-ditch treatment for poison ivy. My brother, who was terribly terribly allergic, spent most of his Summers with purple legs.

When my mother was in nursing school, one of the med students was getting married. They chased him down, stripped him and barber-striped his penis. (His fellow male med students, not the nurses).

If that story is apocryphal and every med student knows it, please don’t tell me. I like it too much.

Oh. Right. Purple chicken. Sorry for focus. Albert is never still.

August 19, 2021 — 7:38 pm
Comments: 13

Lookee what I got

Ivermectin. Just like the covid medicine.

Well, no, not just like – this is a spot-on animal treatment. Ivermectin is kind of a miracle drug for small animal and bird parasites. It gets rid of internal and external bugs with a topical application. Apparently, it’s brilliant for earmites in bunnies.

Albert the cockerel has developed a big bald spot on his head. I can’t see any parasites, but I can’t think what else it can be. I don’t think Polands molt like that. Or maybe they do.

Anyway, I didn’t need a prescription, but it was super expensive. And it looks like I miscalculated – this is formulated for budgies or something. Albert is a substantial chicken. He’s going to take alllll the pipettes.

August 9, 2021 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 8

Of course he’s a ginger

That’s Beano the cat. His owner thought about taking him to the pet service, but decided against since he hates being in a box. So Beano decided to turn up on his own and stroll around the place absorbing blessings.

He’s been to church before. Also, the local pubs. And he’s got himself shut into an empty house, twice.

Yes, the pet service is a Church of England thing. I almost turned up with my favorite chicken one year, but I thought the other animals would probably stress her out too much.

Also, do you know how early morning service is?

August 5, 2021 — 6:35 pm
Comments: 7

Playing tree

When the cats want to come in, they jump up on the windowsill outside the livingroom and importune. When it’s the big cat, there’s an extra step: you open the door and go out and he runs up this elder tree here and puts on a little show. When he’s ready, he steps off this fence post into your arms.

We call this ‘playing tree’.

I’m convinced he’s reliving that awful 18 hours he was stuck high up in a tree as a kitten. I sat under the tree most of the night with him. If I stepped away for a moment, the horrible local brute of a farm cat came and circled the tree trying to get up to him.

It wasn’t the only time that cat came after my boy. He clearly had some kind of grudge. We think maybe they both came out of the same feral cat colony.

Anyway, early the next morning, a plumber turned up at the neighbors and, in the face of great personal danger, managed to crawl up high enough to grab kitty by the scruff and hand him down to me. And I think that’s the origin of playing tree.

Sorry for blurry. This is the only known image of a game of tree.

Good weekend, everyone!

July 16, 2021 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 6