Sunday, 20 September 2009

Highs and lows

Several things to report: the hatching is over. No further black chicks have emerged and so we have turned the incubator off. Some disappointment there, but you can't help but be entranced by the two that did hatch successfully - they are like little balls of black cotton wool, and quite vocal.

The Gold Partridge five are now in their second home as they have been moved out of the lounge and into a more suitable rearing pen in the workshop - I think that they will find it quiet there as they must have got used to the sounds of us talking and music as well as the television. Hopefully they will get used to the noises of the outside world as well.

The older chick, Coco, is still in the house as we can't put him in with them; we tried and they ganged up on him and a swift rescue had to be effected. He'll be moved as soon as another suitable pen can be constructed. The two black ones have been moved from the lounge to the utility room: I will be so glad to get rid of the chick smell from the lounge as even though they were cleaned out daily and the window was frequently open, there was an inevitable pong!

I have to admit the tragic demise of one of the very first hatchlings from the first incubated clutch of eggs, the Light Sussex. The five of them were growing well and we needed to move them up to a bigger house and pen, so I prepared the new pen on Thursday and we moved them over on Thursday evening, once it was dark and they had gone to roost. We have always found this to be the best time to move them as it is easy to pluck them from the perch in the old house, and they can settle in the new house overnight. They were all put into the new house and the lid put down. As I walked around the garden, I did hear some loud banging from the house, but I presumed that it was the chickens sorting out who was perching where, and it soon stopped.

When I went to let them out on Friday after their first night in their new home, only four emerged. This didn't worry me as sometimes one is apprehensive about coming out into the new run, so I opened the lid of the house, expecting to be able to shoo it out into the run. Instead, I found it hanging by its neck from the top of the wall of the house; as I had put the roof down, it must have stretched up and it caught its neck under the roof. As there is some felt overhanging, and it was dark, I hadn't seen the head. And the banging I had heard must have been the death throes of the bird. I was in pieces on Friday morning after finding this - I know that we do kill the birds to eat them, but that is after they have had a suitably good life, and it is a swift and merciful death. That poor chicken should not have died like that, and it was a terrible accident, but I still feel impossibly sad that it happened that way.

Saturday saw us at gym, working hard, and then relaxing a little in the afternoon. An unexpected phone call at 5pm about today's church service soon had me busy, though - there was no preacher available for our service this morning, so we had to have a DIY service; I have mentioned this before. However, last time we had this arrangement, our service was very basic - hymns, readings and prayers, and it lasted barely 20 minutes, compared to the normal hour-long service. So, given the chance to pad it out this time, I worked until 1am to prepare a service which would last as close to the hour as I could make it. The YFG and I worked on a Bible Bingo game until she went to bed and then I finished it up, and I spend some time on Methodist websites, gathering resources and ideas. All in all, the service did last the allotted hour, and it was well received by the congregation so I was very relieved, and pleased that it had been acceptable. It was my first time leading the worship, so I was nervous!

Today is my uncle's 70th birthday - Happy Birthday to You! - and he popped over this afternoon on his way to my sister's house. Once again, he didn't come empty-handed, so we have fruit and veg to sort out tomorrow but we were able to give him some gifts: a new shirt and jumper, and some Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

School uniforms to iron now, so I had better get busy. Good night all!

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