Confusion all round!

Finally, there’s some real springtime warmth to the weather, although today is more of your damp and drizzly warmth as opposed to the blue-sky variety. Even so, the appearance of the cherry blossom seems to have given many of the residents of Garybuie a welcome – in some cases – shot of enthusiasm! I was inspired to buy a few bedding plants for various containers early in the week and Kevin mowed the grass which is seemingly making up for lost growing time. Meanwhile, three – or more accurately two and a half  – of our birds have gone broody. Unfortunately, enthusiasm seems to have overridden practicality! 

Just pretending!

The ‘half’ bird in question is Puff who as you can see by the picture looks fairly comfortable sitting on about 15 eggs. She can’t quite make up her mind though and after repeatedly sitting for some considerable time over the last couple of days, she has a change of heart and flies off for some serious grazing. Which encourages ‘Confused chicken no.1’! One of the Wick Chicks is determined to hatch a family of her own and apparently she’s not fussy what species that family is! She’s been laying regularly in the duck house, usually in Puff’s nest where she snuggles down in a determined fashion, until we pull her off. We always remove her eggs and block off the nest box. Latterly, as she’s seemed so single-minded, we’ve put her newly laid eggs  in the adjacent nest-box along with a few extras, in the hope of encouraging her to sit on hen eggs rather that ducky ones. After some squawks of complaint, usually accompanied by a fierce peck when she’s lifted off Puff’s nest, she seems to settle well on the nest next door. But no matter how many times I go out and check that she’s in her own domain, the minute Puff leaves the nest – and no one’s looking! – she goes straight back to the duck eggs. Maybe Puff is deliberately leaving her eggs to the surrogate mother so that she can maintain her freedom! I think we’ll have to have a rethink on how to handle this situation. Any suggestions? 

Looking settled

‘Confused chicken no.2′ is another of our Wick Chicks. She decided to go broody in the very awkward place of the top nest-box in the layers’ coop! Obviously this is not in the least bit practical, so we put a selection of eggs in a temporary nest-box within the spare coop by the polytunnel, and transferred a very disgruntled hen into the box. Surprisingly, she settled very well, the confusion arising at feeding time in the afternoon when she emerges from the nest. For the past two days after eating her fill, she’s returned to the nest-box just fine. Unfortunately though, the wrong one! So on both occasions, amid more squawking and pecking, she gets transferred to the other nest where she settles once more! I don’t know how successful she’ll be on her first attempt at motherhood, particularly as there’s usually 2 or 3 eggs poking out into the elements, but so far I rate her chances higher than Puff’s or the Wick Chick who really wants to be a duck! 

Still on a chicken theme, two of our 10 week-old chicks have been granted an extended lifespan after being adopted by or neighbours, the Kinlochs. 

Iain and his poultry pals!

Iain has had three chickens from us previously, but after the cockerel came to an untimely end earlier this year, a couple of replacements seemed like a good idea. So now one cockerel and one pullet have gone to join his remaining two hens and are settling in well, despite being well and truly made aware of their lowest rank in the pecking order! No doubt social status will be amended when ‘Chicken Joe’ reaches maturity! Even now, if the young birds realised that their alternative was to take up residence in our freezer, I somehow don’t think they’d complain about the odd peck! 

Fun by the pool!

At almost four weeks old and having been in the great outdoors for around one week, the ducklings finally discovered the pool, even though they waddle past it twice a day to and from their coop! They seemed to have a great time but obviously decided that one plunge per day is quit sufficient! I’m sure that will change. Another youngster getting bigger every day is Brenda’s chick, who this morning during a particularly persistent spell of drizzle decided to be all independent and take shelter in the lower branches of the hedge rather than under mum. Mum wasn’t too far away though to keep a beady eye on her branch-hopping offspring!

Look at me mum!

Believe it or not, we do actually take a break from Garybuie occasionally and take a ‘three-hour holiday’. The weather was beautiful on Sunday, so we took such a holiday to Braes, just on the other side of Portree. We saw some lovely sights on our shoreline walk, including seals and the nest of a herring gull. Our friends Jenny and Patrick live en-route to Braes so we also took the opportunity to call in on them, see what they’re getting up to in the garden and enjoy a refreshing cup of tea! 


Herring gull's nest

Rock and Trotternish ridge

Trotternish ridge


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