Posts Tagged ‘Broody Brenda’

Double loss at Garybuie

October 27, 2016

I know, I know, it’s been quite some time since you heard from Garybuie, but more of that another day. It’s unfortunate that my ‘Returning To The Blogging World’ post is one which brings sad news – on two counts. Firstly, Broody Brenda, our wonderful mother hen, died yesterday.

" Is this my best side?"

” Is this my best side?”

She’s been quiet for a few days, nothing specific but just winding down I suppose. She was ten years old and a great character, raising scores of chicks over the years. She was a frequent visitor to the kitchen, stealing any leftovers from the cats. All cats respected Broody Brenda!

Brenda with Dottie

And secondly, Patches has gone missing. We returned from our end-of-season holiday last week and we haven’t seen her. Our cat/chicken holiday carers didn’t see her but there was nothing unusual about that as she’s not keen on strangers and will only sneak back to continue her snoozing when they leave! We’ve been searching the area although she never wanders far. Plump as she is, she can move pretty fast the minute she hears a car, so being killed by one seems unlikely. I phoned both vets in the area, but no one has brought in an injured cat. With Brenda, there was hard evidence of her demise but not so with Patches so I still have my fingers crossed that she’s gone off in protest and sneaks back for food during the night. In our former life in England, we once had a cat go missing for six months after which he came sauntering up the driveway like nothing was amiss!


Still here!

July 2, 2015

Dinner guests Good grief! It’s AGES since I posted on Garybuie’s blog but worry ye not (on the off chance that you were!), we’re still here, just busy, busy with guests, gardens, birds and dinners! Skye is heaving with visitors so we are full every night and many of our guests have been taking us up on the offer of dinner.
Besides spending more time in the kitchen, outdoor tasks are also at their peak. The weather is awful; damp and dreary, cold too until the last few days. We may have reached mid-summer but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Of course our daylight hours are abundant and Pusscat seemingly disapproves, trying his best to seek SOME darkness to facilitate his naps. At least I have an eye mask to help!


Anyway, as it’s been so long, I decided that a pictorial ‘catch-up’ would be easier, so here goes!

The quail are OUT!




Aunts Puff and Biggles took over ‘child-minding’ duties of Polly Blue-tail’s offspring…

Puff, Biggles, ducklings

…whereas Mrs Under-by’s three remaining ducklings have been learning all about adult conversation…


…and are seemingly unimpressed by it!


Broody Brenda decided to sit…


…and the Plymouth Rock decided to join her!


Brenda appeared with the first three chicks of the joint hatch…


…followed a couple of days later by the Plymouth rock and seven more. They’re still all sharing the same coop.

Plymouth Rock

Feeding time is certainly more chaotic with such a motley crew.

Feeding time

And as for the Guinea Fowl, after having most of their eggs stolen by our local, dastardly crow, they have finally made a nest out of his sight – which they’re all sharing – and we’re now getting a great supply of eggs! They do enjoy our rare days of sunshine taking a bath…

Guinea Fowl

…or squawking up a tree!

Guinea Fowl

As a culinary conclusion, we’ve enjoyed our first quail and have sold our first eggs!

Roasted quail

Quail – part deux!

April 13, 2015

Our second batch of quail eggs seemingly got lost in the post so the supplier sent replacements which arrived today. I’m just ‘revving’ up the incubator for “Quail-Part Deux!”

quial eggs

Our first batch of birds are two-weeks-old today and continue to be entertaining! For the past few days they’ve been practising their jumping technique; this is a skill used in the wild as a means of escape when surprised by a predator. They can get a good distance off the ground using their in-built springs; about two and a half feet in fact, which is quite startling to observe. The comical thing is, that when one of them performs such a feat of athleticism, after landing, the athlete poses, legs apart, head and chest forward, just as though he’s waiting for onlookers to award him points out of ten!

There’s also other incubation going on around the place. Mrs Under-by, one of the musco-teers, has set up camp in the ‘over-by’ coop in the lower nesting box.

Mrs Under-by

The thing is, the over-by coop is actually the home of the guinea fowl! I suppose that at least this time she’s IN the coop rather than UNDER it!!
There is other seemingly serious nesting going on too. The ‘box-within-a-box’ which we always provide for Broody Brenda has been adopted by Louise, the silkie. Brenda meanwhile, has made a lovely nest behind the box, within the main body of the coop! I don’t know, but maybe there’s all this sudden nesting just so that the birds can get out of the weather! We seem to get a couple of good days, then we’re bombarded by strong winds and hailstones! Maybe you can see the next squall brewing at the bottom of the glen; at least when we see such a sight, we can head for cover in plenty of time!

Rain coming!

Good and bad things on our return

March 3, 2015

We managed to avoid any snow on our return journey north but for the last couple of days, we’ve awoken to varying amounts of the stuff. This morning big, fat flakes fell to earth and it looked as though they meant business but by the time I took a shot of The View this afternoon, the snow line had retreated to higher levels.

The View

It’s good to be back at Garybuie and even though it’s been a pretty action packed week with our grandchildren, Granddad Skye seemingly involved in most of the action…



… we feel as though our batteries are suitably re-charged for the start of our new season, just one month away.

There have been good and bad things to return to. Dad was most upset to find one of the hens dead whilst we were away. It was Nest Thief. At least Broody Brenda’s nest should be safe this year; I’d like to think that Brenda is much too nice a girl to have been involved in a murder! And just today, Kevin has had to dispatch one of the Guinea Gang who we noticed wasn’t well when we got home; slightly laboured breathing, loss of (dishevelled) plumage, sitting alone. I looked online for any hints as to what it could be but I’m none the wiser. Better to be safe than sorry, plus the fact that we don’t like to see any creature in obvious distress.

The good news however, is that Thelma and Louise have still got their two chicks. They finally ventured outside last week, although with the weather being so cold, they’ve returned indoors for most of the time. They are VERY careful mothers!


And look at this, here’s aunt BB in the foreground, sharing a mealworm treat!


In our years of raising chickens, never has a mother hen allowed any other hen near her chicks. The Silkies have a different attitude however; all just one, big happy family – including Wee Man!

A prisoner and an escapee

September 28, 2014

Well, we may have clipped Dotty’s wings but she wasn’t to be thwarted, deciding to WALK all the way to wherever her nest is! So now, for her own protection, she is a temporary prisoner. Hopefully it won’t take long for her to give up on the nesting idea.


Meanwhile, Brenda discharged herself from the hospital wing yesterday! She moved back into the main coop last night, on the perch with the other girls. She’s still limping but has walked quite some distance already today, her few days of peace and quiet apparently having done her some good.


Nesting urges and some intensive care

September 24, 2014

A certain duck named Dotty is in trouble. She’s stayed out all night a couple of times and we suspect that she was laying away. Dad saw her launching off his roof and flying towards the river on several occasions. The last thing we want are yet more ducklings (Kevin’s just about finished dispatching the abundant earlier group), especially not out with the bounds of Garybuie. So, before she had the chance of getting settled in the great outdoors, where of course predators lurk, she has suffered the indignity of having her wings clipped once more. Only a pool-side perch for now Dotty dear! Dotty Someone else who’s decided to nest in an unsuitable place is BB! Here she is, in the corner of Huff’s house. BB She’s taken to laying her eggs in this corner for a week or so. Of course I’ve removed them each day but she’s none the less gone broody! So now she has to be unceremoniously transported to her own home each evening!

A couple of you have been kind enough to enquire after Brenda. There’s not really any improvement in her walking yet, but the unwanted attentions of the great, galumphing Big Fella, was doing her no good at all! So last evening, after all the other birds had gone to bed, Brenda sidled quietly into the coop where she settled in the corner. She’d been hiding under the bushes all day. I took the opportunity to take her to a more suitable location for her (hopeful) recovery. So now she’s ensconced in the over-by coop where she has food and water and can get out into an enclosed run if she wants, safe from sexual harassment! Fingers crossed that the peace and quiet will give her chance to heal. Brenda

If you snooze you loose

September 20, 2014

Patches and Pusscat

Now you might think that Brenda, Her Broodiness, is out for the count here, perched on the wee wall outside the kitchen door.


But do not be fooled; you only have to turn you back for one second if the kitchen door is open and she’s IN, devouring any tasty morsels left as a later snack by those comatose cats!


Just ten minutes ago however, she wasn’t quick enough when crossing the road outside and was caught by a passing van. We suspect that she just received a glancing blow resulting in a small cut on her left leg and a limp with her right. She is bearing weight on it though, so hopefully a good night’s rest will do her good. She’s looking a bit shell-shocked at the moment and Big Fella is keeping an eye on her, after all, she is Top Hen.


She’s our special girl so hopefully she will make a full recovery.


An explosion of ducklings

June 24, 2014

It seems that wherever we look there are ducklings. One minute they seem to be all neat, tidy and under control…

muscovy ducklings

…the next they’ve exploded everywhere!

muscovy ducklings

muscovy ducklings

muscovy ducklings

They’ve even exploded into the field behind us where the grass is very long and must be a challenge for all those wee legs.

muscovy ducklings

swimming poolThey’ve also ventured into the swimming pool and we had an ‘almost’ disaster when the stones positioned to help them climb out slipped, resulting in four of them unable to get onto dry land. Fortunately, Kevin heard their calls and rescued them. One wasn’t too bad and snuggled in with the crowd but three of them needed hairdryer and infra-red treatment to stop their shivering!


Of course just because we are inundated with ducklings, there’s still another family to consider: Broody Brenda and her chicks. They are getting too big to fit underneath her now but it doesn’t stop them trying!


Taking care of all the birds is quite an addition to all the other chores at this time of year but there’s still an odd hour here and there to fit some recreational activities in. I finished my latest portrait some days ago and I’m sure that some of you will recognise this happy character!

Marcel the Happy

P.S. BB is sitting again as of yesterday. This time we’ve exchanged her eggs for some of the bigger hens’.

Confusion all round

June 3, 2014

THE VIEW – 6 p.m.

the view

No, it isn’t a crime scene there in the foreground, it’s just one of our flapping, cracking crow deterrents after losing Three Lives, the Silkie chick. So maybe it is a crime scene after all!
Anyway, we’ve got some new additions for you. Broody Brenda produced 4 chicks and they’re all doing great.


Over the last couple of days, Puff and Biggles’s ducklings have been hatching. This morning however, Kevin caught seven of them visiting the musco-teer next door!
By the time I got out there, just two were left clambering all over her – the others had disappeared under her!

musco- eerwith neighbours

This has all led to some confusion as the musco-teer is responding to the ducklings’ calls presumably thinking that they’re hers! Of course Puff and Biggles are having none of it, the wee ducklings don’t know who to obey, so there have been a couple of kerfuffles in the duck-house! Kevin managed to get the musco-teer back onto her nest and covered her entrance hole up.
This afternoon, Puff and Biggles took their eight new offspring for a stroll in the sun…

puff and Biggles

Whilst they were out, I uncovered the Musco-teer’s entrance in case she needed to feed. Within minutes she’d located the ducklings and a great, vocal competition for custody ensued. After some time I managed to herd the musco-teer back to her nest. Not an easy task. Anyway, she’s in there as I write, although I’ll have to give her freedom soon so that she can do what she has to do before nightfall. Hopefully her eggs will begin to hatch overnight and she’ll become re-focussed, otherwise I fear that she will abandon her nest and share parenting with Puff and Biggles.
And that’s not the only nest complication! Seemingly, we have a dual-purpose coop!

shared coop

This is the pollytunnel coop where the second musco-teer is sitting. For some time, one of the Plymouth Rock hens has been sneaking past the wee box and laying an egg most days in the corner. We removed them daily but at the weekend, the hen decided to sit. On nothing. When a hen decides to sit there’s not much you can do about it so she is now sitting on 10 donated eggs! The duck’s family will arrive first so we’ll have to move them all into a new home when they do. Another challenge ahead then!

Biggles and Puff

Return to routine

May 25, 2014

the view

It’s nice to be back home – with our more usual scenery – after our Orcadian adventure. Back into reality with a bump. The B and B is now at full tilt with all that it entails and life is good at Garybuie. Most of the time. Look how the wee Silkies have grown…


silkie chick

You may have noticed that there are only two chicks in this family group however. Do you remember Three Lives? Well, it was seemingly destined for a short life after all when one of those darned hooded crows had it for tea. I hate those birds and we’re going to have to be on constant alert when all our imminent new arrivals are here.
All the Muscovies are sitting although Puff has decided to share with Biggles and leave her own eggs with the Musco-teer next door who took over! One of the Three Musco-teers went missing before we went on holiday and we suspected that she had laid away. On our return, Kevin went in search of her. The clever girl isn’t far away however, staying within the boundaries of Garybuie, underneath the over-by coop, directly under Broody Brenda’s nest!


She must wonder what’s going on ‘upstairs’ as today Brenda’s chicks have started to hatch. We were getting worried because they are three days later than expected but we should have known that such an experienced mum knows exactly what she’s doing. We’ve only seen one cheeky face as yet…

broody Brenda

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