We have three hens sitting on guinea fowl eggs, two on ducks eggs and one on a clutch of our own assorted hens’ offerings.
It is a poultry maternity zone. Whether all of them will stay the course with the guinea fowl and duck eggs is another thing though.
Both of them take a month to hatch as compared to a hen’s eggs three week incubation.
And frequently our scatty hens decide enough is enough and desert the nests after twenty one days; but just occasionally our broodies stay the course. We shall see.
Due to top management (moi) miscalculations, we are overrun with eggs and hens. If I can put an egg in it now, it has two. At least John is over faced with Yorkshire Puddings for the start of every lunch.
My administrative errors in hen numbers stems from the fact that I never expected as many to survive the winter. We always have fox/dog/rat depredations, but not this year.
The cackling is deafening from the grain shed as most of the little horrors prefer to lay in there rather than the hen hut.
It is a good job I am not worried about heights as the ladder is in frequent use to get to the top of stacks. Lambing has virtually finished now for us. Just half a dozen ewes left to give birth. Twins during the night but nothing else so far today.
We do not scan the ewes so there is a possibility that these sheep may not be in lamb, but until the end of this three week cycle, there is no point worrying.
Our murderous ewe who squashed both her lambs is down at the pond with the tups and a few of last year’s lambs that are still not fit for market. Or the freezer.
Any of these remaining ewes that are not in lamb will join her on a trip to market. One way.
Meanwhile one of the oldest cows in the herd, at eleven, has earned herself a reprieve by calving this afternoon. In the nick of time.
John had hoped she was in calf but was not sure as she had not shown any signs of bagging up; a sure sign when the udder distends that a calf is on the way.
She has demonstrated a good sense of timing in when to give birth.
In the next week or two the cows will be out and she will have access to fresh grass for herself and her offspring instead of the rather tired silage clamp that the others still have to dine off.
John has no intention of turning the cows out until all the forage has gone. He is quite Victorian in this approach. “Eat up your silage. No fresh grass until you have cleaned up the clamp.”
The cows themselves are sounding bolshie and rebellious, lined up at the gates, smelling the grass, bellowing their frustration.
But until their metaphorical plates are clean, they can’t have the next course.