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Thursday, 20 March 2014

A big bird with character

This is just a story about one of our chickens, known by various names, not always nice, and who always does her best to amuse and frustrate us. Any reader not interested in chickens may pass!

Regular readers will know that we were given five chickens last summer as a housewarming present after advertising for some point of lay pullets. It was a very kind gift from someone who lives a long way off, and it was a lovely long drive over the Stara Zagora mountains to meet him and pick the chickens up.

They were a mottley crew, age skipped over but young. We were told that they had chosen all different ones so that they were easy to tell apart, and we had a chestnut, a brown and a white with topknots, and two blacks, one with gold neck feathers and one, the subject here, with silver neck feathers. We were warned that, because of her attitude, Silver (named for her neck and because it was a sexless name) could be a male. Just what we didn't want, but they were a gift.........

So Silver and her friends were settled in and it soon became apaarent that they were all girls though eggs were not a feature for a long time later! Silver also had a twisted foot and is very clumsy, but she was full of character and a favourite of mine. So we had Cagney (boss) Lacey, Bunty, Venus and Silver, Bunty being the bottom chook and still making baby noises despite being the same age as the others, and trying to get the others to brood her. Here is the link to the introductory post.

Silver is a clown. She is hilarious to watch run (I know, you shouldn't laugh at the afflicted!) She is greedy and has turned into a large chicken. Once the Shumens arrived and started laying our's decided to get going and we were soon having a glut of eggs. They got a diet of chicken food (not really interested) and as much veg as they could wanted, and would demand their afternoon veg by standing under the window and shouting. It wasn't long before Silver started to clumsily jump on to the windowsill and tap on the window. I don't know how she didn't go through the glass, nimble she aint! She soon had Venus doing the same and the two big birds would sit tapping at the window until you fed them.
Chubba/Silver and Venus demanding treats

Silver has always been the most consistant layer and laid big eggs all through winter, but unfortunately since having a half moult in autumn the eggs have been laid with a soft end, so more often than not as she gets up she would tread on them and then invite all the others in for a warm snack. This has continued despite supplements and everyone else's eggs are fine.

There is no getting away from it, she is a big girl, with hanging neck, awkward gait and not pretty. Saying all that she was the cockerel's favourite even though she is bigger than him, and it has to be said they seem to miss each other since we split the Shumen from the 'misfits' They still make time to chat to each other through the mesh. She has had several changes of name which we will not go into here, but is currently known as Chubba.
Sevi sitting with his favourite girl while she lays

Not beautiful, but with a certain charm

Curtain up when Sevi and Chubba were split up

Three of her five original companions have died from different reasons, so there is only her and Cagney left. Chubba is not at all tolerant of the other misfits and can be rather a bully. It seems the chap who gave the chickens to us has had problems with his flock and has had to go a way to get fresh blood to try to strengthen them so though I felt rather guilty about losing three, I feel that it is not my fault after all.
At large in the garden with Cagney

She is very vocal at laying time and it seems Cagney is the reason why. Cagney lays before Chubba, and although there are three boxes to go between the five layers, they all lay in the one that the ex-batts sleep in at night. The ex-batts lay first, then Cagney. Trouble is, Chubba gets more and more agitated and I'm sure Cagney takes her time on purpose. Chubba shouts and grumbles, lollops around and in and out of the house, shouting at Cagney. She made so much noise this morning that Sevi poked his head round the wall and growled at her, which shut her up briefly. But she couldn't wait and jumped on to the box and glared at Cagney, then shouted at her, then got in the box and pushed her out! She then laid with the other four eggs, trampled her delicate one and called Cagney in for a cocillatory snack!

I want to go in the box

Cagney, get out of the box!!!

I really need you to let me into the box.....

Ahhhh the relief. Cagney is not impressed!

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