Posts Tagged ‘nesting’

No staying power

February 4, 2019

That would be Thelma. To be fair, she was a wee bit of a fidgety-britches on the nest and, as was semi-expected, she’s abandoned the eggs. Curiously though, she’s still staying with the other girls but next to them, rather than in the nest-box.


Maybe she just fancies being an auntie this time around, instead of the whole mother thing. If so, she’ll certainly provide a valued extra pair of eyes when the chicks hatch. We had a big problem with theft-by-crow last year.

While the snow has been around, she’s had Wee man to cuddle up to in the straw. He really dislikes walking on the snow (never used to bother him) so refuses to come out in a morning! Wuss! Anyway, most of the snow has gone now, washed away by the rain, so it’s just Thelma and the girls once more.

You can just about see Garybuie in this shot, at the end of the fence-line, between the trees.

Never before…

January 26, 2019

…have we had three Silkies sitting in a row!



BB, Thelma and Louise all appear to have gone broody at the same time, although Thelma is a wee bit fidgety, so only time will tell! We don’t usually allow the girls to settle so early, just in case the weather turns inclement. But this year we have some exciting travel plans in October, so we need all hatching and dispatching completed before then, returning to minimum bird numbers for our ‘chicken sitters’! There’s more than enough room in the Silkies’ home for the new families if it does turn cold. As usual, we’ve exchanged their wee eggs for regular sized hens’ eggs, so assuming that Denis is doing his job, we’ll have some good sized meat birds for the freezer.

As I’ve been neglectful of Garybuie’s blog, it’s been AGES since I shared ‘The View’. Well, the other day I was out for a walk in the glen and on returning home, there was a weird kind of light over the ridge. Like a very diffused spotlight.

Kind of eerie don’t you think?

Not quite Goldilocks…

October 3, 2015

…who as we all know, carefully tested everything in the Three Bears’ home until she found perfection.

Polly Blue-tail

We don’t have a Goldilocks but we do have a Polly Blue-tail who has been testing various nesting sites over the past couple of weeks; her own house, the Guineas’ house, the shed and finally the silkies’ home. But even there, she built FIVE nests before deciding on the perfect one in which to lay!


She will NOT be allowed to rear a third brood!

Weird family planning!

May 11, 2015

There’s plenty of family planning going on around the place at the moment. Polly Blue-tail appears to have been the only mother who planned it right; in a nest box in the duck house. Unfortunately, being a single parent, without eyes in the back of her head, has meant that she’s lost two of her offspring, probably to the dreaded crows.
ducklings Yesterday, Mrs Under-by hatched her new family of eight, an extra two having been sneaked in there after MY family planning of a ‘Max 6’ strategy! You may remember that her spot of bad planning was the fact that she chose a nesting-box in the Guinea Gang’s house, a foot off the ground! In order to avoid concussion of the wee mites when leaving the nest, we decided that some nice, soft straw should break their fall. Kevin went out first thing this morning to let the Guineas out. Soon after, Mrs Under-by took herself off for some ‘me time’, instructing the wee ones to stay put! The ideal opportunity then for Kevin to transplant the ducklings from box to straw, under the stern gaze of herself! On her return, it didn’t take long before she encouraged them out into the big, wide world where they met their cousins!


There was confusion for a while with the new kids not knowing who to follow and mother ducks scolding each other’s offspring! It’s interesting to see the difference in size, with Polly Blue-tail’s ducklings at three weeks old now.
Still with ducks, Puff has been settled on her nest for about a week, with Biggles still laying next door. Yesterday however, Puff decided to move into Biggles’ box, possibly because the ducklings had taken to sleeping with her and making a mess in there. So, the revised plan seems to be one of sharing!

Puff and Biggles

Planning with the Silkies involves ‘Musical Boxes’. Louise started to sit (on regular hen eggs once more) about a week ago. Then Thelma joined in.

Thelma and Louise

If they both leave the nest at the same time, the music begins and whoever returns first just plonks herself down on the first eggs that she sees!

Thelma and Louise

But the award for the worst planning of all goes to the Plymouth Rock hen, a first-timer. You’d think that all was well with this cosy looking nest…

Plymouth Rock

…but don’t be fooled! Two of the other hens are still laying in the same nest (which I remove) so a couple of eggs have got broken. The nest is also somewhat nomadic, moving to different positions in the coop. Sometimes she sits on the eggs, others she sits on the straw with no eggs. Somehow I don’t think she’s cut out for this motherhood malarkey!

And finally, a technique which seemingly involves no planning at all! The Guinea Fowl Technique. We’ve had about half-a-dozen eggs from them so far and not a nest in sight; just a single egg placed randomly on the grass or by a bush! I understand that they like to lay in a shallow depression in tall plants, well, everything’s so slow at coming on with such unseasonably, cold weather, that any formal nest-building has been put on hold!


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!

Moving forwards…

March 19, 2015

…to spring, hopefully. It was another beautiful day on Skye yesterday, albeit a wee bit hazy.

the view

Everybody’s just been happy doing what they do. Sitting on the shed roof checking up on what I’m doing in the kitchen…

Puff and Biggles

…taking a dip…


…or a snooze…


…or just watching the world go by.


The guinea Fowl are enjoying widespread foraging in this dry weather. (They are also starting to arrange themselves into pairs ready for the spring season)

guinea fowl

It’s foraging nearer to home however for our young Silkie family. I love seeing them all together!


BB however has other things on her mind – or under breast to be more accurate! Here she is in a dark corner, happily sitting on 6 eggs. (Not her own of course but don’t tell her!)


As of yesterday, someone else decided to sit too – Polly Bluetail. Here she is giving me that warning look through the a wee gap in her nest box!

Polly bluetail

Today I closed the hens’ Winter Spa’, a decision which didn’t go down well I can tell you! I told them that I didn’t give two hoots, as I need to get the place ready for planting. The displaced soon had plenty to do though, ‘helping’ Kevin as he cleared some of the rough ground outside the old church in preparation for quail summer housing.


An update on Garybuie’s gang

October 17, 2014

As promised a couple of days ago, here’s an update of avian antics on our wee patch of Skye. After freeing Dotty, one of the musco-teers, from her confinement after she’d ventured just too far from the homestead, she upped and disappeared the following day! Kevin has searched but there’s been no sign of her since. Either she’s come to a violent end or she’ll return in a couple of weeks with yet more ducklings in tow. So now we’re down to two musco-teers and one of them, Mrs Under-by, who raised her family under the chicken coop you may remember, has now gone broody INSIDE the coop!

Mrs Under-by

I’ve removed her eggs but she’s still sitting and each evening I remove her too, putting her in the main duck house, hoping to break the broodiness. At least BB finally gave up on her nest in the duck house after being transported home every evening.


silkie eggThelma and Louise, BB’s Silkie offspring, have come into lay but unfortunately have followed their mother’s example by laying in the duck house too! Hopefully they won’t go broody.

Most of the hens are undergoing their annual moult and look a bonnie mess, even Big Fella has lost his magnificence!

Big Fella

There is someone who’s looking good however; Brenda.

Broody Brenda

She’s still spending life quietly but obviously that’s doing the trick as her limp is far less pronounced and she’s looking in generally good condition. What a star!

There are some new faces around the place at the moment as the cows have come to make their annual visit to the field behind us. They come to check that I’m doing things right at cleaning-out time, congregating by the fence watching my every move with those long-lashed eyes.


They seem a lot less frisky than last year’s herd – and no bull – so hopefully Chance won’t get trampled this time around! Don’t you just love a cow’s nose…

cow's nose

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

Double view

April 25, 2014

On this occasion I shall treat you to a double dose of THE VIEW. These photos were taken on consecutive evenings; Wednesday and Thursday this week. The first one is my favourite kind of lighting and the second is a ‘reflected’ sunset.

the view

the view

And here are the remains of the same sunset over MacLeod’s tables at the opposite end of the glen…

MacLeod's tables

There seems to be an air of contentment around the place at the moment. BB is enjoying motherhood immensely. Here she’s showing her family the hidden treasures to be found in the ditch, with Wee man keeping an eye on things from above.

BB's family

Biggles has decided to go broody…


…and this morning Puff was peering at me from her nest box in a state of indecision!


It didn’t take her too long however to decide in favour of this broody business! Coming out of the duck house Huff was making sure that I wasn’t interfering in nesting matters.


The B and B is going well too, not at full tilt yet but we have guests most days. At the moment we have three dominant varieties of visitor – English, French and American. A couple of days ago, Pusscat was regretting not having a passport as he was contemplating heading across the Channel with our young French guest!

Pusscat & friend

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