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A tail of two roos

The rooster on the left was once the #2 boy. The boy on the right was #1 when this picture was taken.

The girl in the middle was eaten by a fox, but that’s another story.

One day, rooster #2 had a beakful of it and beat the snot out of roo #1, becoming hisself #1. I didn’t realize this until I came out later and the white chicken was nowhere to be found. I called and called and he finally slunk out of the bushes all muddy and bloody and sorry for himself (he wasn’t seriously hurt, but comb and wattle injuries bleed horribly).

Since that day, the white chicken (whose name is Sam because he hatched on the 4th of July) has gotten smaller and smaller. He’s about half the size of Mo now. He mopes around the back door, away from the other chickens. I make sure to throw him treats. Honestly, I’d love to fatten him up a bit.

So! Is this hormonal? Emotional? Is he ill? (If so, he’s been ill a long time without being visibly sick). It’s sad, really. Chicken politics is savage.

November 22, 2022 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 4

My poultry empire groweth

I fully intended to downsize my flock, but the boys have all hung on tenaciously and there’s one poor rooster whose housing is simply unacceptable. It was okay in Summer when he could swan around a sunny garden all day, but completely inadequate for the long dark nights and biblical levels of rain we’re having.

This is the cheap little house I bought and it’s just right for one adult bantam. It’s due here tomorrow. I suppose I can always use it as a hospital pen or a way of introducing baby chicks to the flock.

No more roosters, ever again. Sadly. I’ve enjoyed my boys, but they are a helluva lot of extra effort.

I reckon this will just fit between my first house and my second, making a sort of chickenhouse city skyline. Though I’m mighty tempted to put wheels on one end and roll it around the garden. (Some of the really expensive ones do that).


Oh! I forgot Jerry Lee Lewis died last week and I promised you a Dead Pool this week. Okay, okay…queueing one up now…DEAD POOL TODAY.

November 3, 2022 — 7:04 pm
Comments: 9

That was quick

My power supply arrived. Yeah, these people are good.

It’s a monster – hand for scale. It says it fits in an ATX case. Let us hope. But did I install it this evening? I did not.

I was busy chasing a little white rooster round and round my neighbor’s driveway. Damn, that little bastard is quick.

I chased him through blackberry brambles. I chased him through stinging nettles. I am alive with small ouchies.

I never caught him, but I did manage to chase him through a hole in the hedge so he could make his way back to the henhouse. It was well past chicken bedtime.

You know the previous post, when I said only one of those chooks in the picture is still alive? It was him – the little white bastard on the right. He was pushing his luck tonight.

September 28, 2022 — 7:18 pm
Comments: 7

This guy!

Excuse late, I’ve been chasing a chicken ’round and ’round a sheep field.

Occasionally, one of my birds pops through the double fence and finds itself in the field next door. This is bad. They frequently can’t find their way back and, isolated from the flock, they’re very likely to get picked off silently by something carnivorous. So when somebody doesn’t turn up at roll call, that’s where I look first.

Unfortunately, it was Sam – my quickest and nimblest chicken. Bastard ran me ragged.

Worse, we’ve had thunderstorms all day. Every time I ducked under a hawthorn, it pissed down my back. Worse yet, I finally cornered him in a patch of stinging nettles. Yes, I was wearing shorts.

My shins are alive with the sound of music.

So I’ve had a hot bath and a cold gin and I’m off. Stupid rooster. Yes, he’s fine. Wet and sorry for himself, like me.

August 17, 2022 — 7:49 pm
Comments: 5

Chicken selfies

Teej pointed to this site a couple of threads ago: chicken.photos. Yes, .photos is a top level domain now. From the about page:

The system consists of a Canon 7D, a speed flash, a Raspberry Pi, and an ultrasonic motion trigger.

Whenever a chicken (or any other animal) passes in front of the motion sensor, the Pi snaps a photo on the camera, which in turn fires the speed flash. Once the photo is taken, the Pi downloads the photo from the camera’s SD card and uploads it to our website. The photo is then tweeted and potentially minted as an NFT.

Everything is protected in waterproof housing and uses custom designed PCBs for power and signal routing between the components. It uses the gphoto2 library to interact with the camera, and CircuitPython for the firmware on the Pi.

I still do not understand NFTs. As far as I can tell, you’re buying…bragging rights?

So, they’re motion-sensor selfies. I like the sort of milky, porn-y soft focus. I reckon that’s damp on the waterproof housing. It gives them an otherworldly look.

It’s worth reading their About page. Oh, and looking at all the lurrvly chickens.

August 2, 2022 — 7:15 pm
Comments: 11

The Year of the Pigeon

Excuse me if I’m bleary; we were startled awake in the wee hours by a pigeon. Pigeons. There was a lot of flapping and hoo-hooing.

It was so loud, I was sure it was a bird loose in the bedroom, but it warn’t. It was perched by an open window making a terrific racket.

Might have been multiple pigeons. Was probably sex-motivated.

Zo! In the last hour, two senior members of the Cabinet – the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care and the Chancellor of the Exchequer – have resigned. The is big and important, but I’m damned if I can tell you what it means.

An immediate coup? Maybe. Or maybe they’re distancing themselves in case of a coup in the near future.

What can I say? I am, after all, a ferriner. I can only tell you this has been a dreadful government and more dreadful people still are waiting in the shadows.

Doooooom!

July 5, 2022 — 6:49 pm
Comments: 12

These are not my pigeons

Today has been a day of pigeon drama. When I got to work early, one of the little ones was on the ground by the front door, looking stunned. I could see mama pigeon perched above watching him and I thought to myself, let nature take its course, Weasel. I found the other one had flown off (never to return, Wikipedia tells me).

About an hour later, when he hadn’t moved from the spot, I lost my nerve, brought him upstairs and put him back in the nest. After all, one of them was several days younger than the other, so perhaps this one was not quite ready.

Both mom and dad turned up to feed him, several times all morning. That in itself is unusual – we might see one of them, once, feeding the chicks. So I figured they were helping him build strength to try again. Which he didn’t seem at all inclined to do.

Until these two showed up.

These two are not the parents. They are totally different birds. I’ve never seen them before. They began to peck and pinch and kick the baby and make him squeak. I had never heard of any sort of bird community parenting – does it really take a village to raise a pigeon? – but I assumed they were encouraging him to fly off. Concerned aunties, maybe. It seemed awfully cruel, but I thought to myself, let nature take its course, Weasel.

The little one was ducking under the geraniums, squeaking and squirming and refusing to fly off and I lost my nerve again. Spooked them away.

I raised the blinds so they could see me better and waved at them. I shoo’d them off half a dozen times, at least. Eventually, they stopped coming back, though they did investigate the window box at the far left for a while (there are three).

You know what I think? I think they were trying to kick him out and steal that primo nesting spot. The internet won’t tell me if pigeons ever do that.

I’ve watched this little bird from egg to ugly mutant and I wasn’t about to see him harmed just as he was looking like a proper bird.

Things were stable when I left. Mom had been back to feed him again. He was stretching his legs and his wings and looking a lot more capable.

Thing is, I don’t work tomorrow. I will probably never know quite how this turns out. When I go in Thursday, there’s likely to be nothing to see, no matter what the outcome.

Except possibly a pigeon sitting on eggs again. They mate for life, return to the same nest and will hatch littl’uns over and over again, even in Winter, if the food supply is good.

I’m told oatmeal is good for them. Or rice.

June 28, 2022 — 7:40 pm
Comments: 4

Boneless chicken

Chickens blissing out in the sun dissolve into formless heaps of feathers.

When we see a cat folded in half backwards off a sofa with his paws in the air and his mouth open, we’re like d’awwwww, he’s drooling. But a chicken relaxing in the grass looks like a stern object lesson about pesticides in the garden.

Relaxed chickens are impossible to paint.

June 22, 2022 — 7:56 pm
Comments: 9

More, d’aww…

Yes, they both hatched. I forgot to tell you. You can just make out a second beak at the arrow.

Pigeon number two is several days younger and therefore smaller. I couldn’t really see him until the parents started leaving the nest for longer periods.

Both parents are still highly attentive. I can’t tell if they both feed the babies, but they both babysit. We’re having a bit of a mini-heatwave at the moment and the parents don’t sit on the nest, they sit on the edge and provide shade from the morning sun.

Honestly, smarter than I thought pigeons were.

Have a good weekend!

June 17, 2022 — 7:20 pm
Comments: 5

Meet my cleanup crew

They they go through a lot for this for this. The chicken run is clear around the other side of the house and they have to go through a fence (specifically set up to keep them out) along the way. Anything for those sweet, sweet Friskies.

You will never forget the unmistakable sound of three beaks bouncing off a cat’s bowl. Who needs a Roomba?

p.s. actually, I do. I hate Hoovering. Have any of you got one? Does it work?

June 16, 2022 — 6:51 pm
Comments: 6