Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Four minus three equals twenty-one

A shockingly low 10°C at 9am as we played truant from kindergarten and blew straight through Cannobio heading for the Swiss border (oh the thrill of it!). Raining hard and solid. The cucumbers are happy, the zucchini are happy, the tomatoes, the basil, the parsley, the radishes, the lettuces and the strawberries are happy. A very soggy Mama, trailing two soggy ducklings wasn't so content.

Behind the scenes in Carmine, a small tragedy has been unfolding. Not one, but three of the four chicks we managed to hatch this year developed clubbed feet. Click here for more. We fear a vitamin B2 deficiency or a genetic defect that comes from breeding fathers with daughters. But we're not experts - any friendly advice or information gladly (and sadly) received.

So we've had for the last few days a young singleton free ranging in the bathroom - at three weeks he's big enough to skip his coop and investigate the big wide world. When anyone comes in for a spot of private business he skitters across the lovely larch floor and bounces on the least mobile pair of feet he can find. From thence to a knee, an arm and eventually a shoulder, where he sits preening himself proudly.

He reminds me of Jonathan/Johanna, our seagull friend, who lived for several years in the kitchen and on the terrace before being sent into the wilderness to terrorise our second round of chicks. Why should that be? Despite M.'s many attempts to teach the seagull to perch on his shoulder, our web-footed friend could never get the hang of perching, so the similarity lies not in that direction. No, it's the fact that Mama has been spending a large proportion of her time skittering across the lovely larch floor with disinfectant wipes in hand, clearing up the chick's private business... and being reminded of this post...Chick doo-doo is, you may be interested to learn, slightly less corrosive and slightly easier to remove than seagull doo-doo. But they're both devastating to a tight schedule of domestic labour.

So, I hear you cry, how does four minus three equal twenty-one? And what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

Well, yesterday afternoon's mission improbable was to find mister-I've-imprinted-on-a-human (aka Singleton) some chums.

First, I thought the answer might lie with the next nearest fluffy things - the cats. In the absence of mice to chase they must surely be bored enough to want to make a new friend. I caught Trouble lying across the bathroom threshold the other day, listening attentively to the chirping beyond. The look of guarded excitement on his young, feline face led me to believe that perhaps the cats were not it.

Sending Singleton packing back to mama-hen wouldn't do either. Singleton's parents wouldn't believe me when I tell them he's theirs, and at this stage would probably peck it to its place in paradise sooner than check its maternity-ward wrist-band.

So off I went in the World's-Most-Battered, with the two sproglets in tow, to a chappie I know in Verbania who had found me what our little yellow friend seemed to be hankering for...

Twenty two-day-old chicks (a euro a piece, poor things) - 12 boys, 8 girls.

A rent-a-crowd.

A porta-party.

And Mama went chirpee-chirpee-cheep-cheep all the way back up the hill.

Last night, Singleton bedded down in the very centre of a mound of warm, fluffy friendliness once more and didn't give my boots (or the disinfectant wipes) a second glance.

Mission accomplished.

12 comments:

chrysalis said...

Loved this story and the way you told it - just great reading!

Anonymous said...

Suspect inbreeding. You need some distant genes.

ladyfi said...

Great reading. Real chick lit! ;-)

Christine Gram said...

I can't believe you have chickens in your bathroom. I have a hard enough time convincing my relatives that I don't sleep on a cot in the kitchen. God help me if they ever read this.

Louise said...

@Christine Gram : Well, the bathroom's about 25m squared for a start so they don't take up too much of that space. Then it's a place that's easy to keep clean, and there's a convenient cross-beam from which to string the warming lamp and the daylight substitute lamp. And most importantly you can close the door and keep cats and children out, and jumpy-jumpy chicks in!

Louise said...

@Anonymous : yep, the chicks we have aren't of the same family, they're not even the same breed...fingers crossed.

Louise said...

@LadyFi : Chick lit - LOL!

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

It is so pleasant to read your stories. The inbreeding comment made me think of my hamster experience - 2 hamsters soon became 27, 3 generations later, and the inbreeding did start to show. I had to give them up when we moved to an apartment that didn't accept pets. A pet store gladly accepted them, saying that home-bred hamsters were much friendlier than store-bred!

Vanessa said...

Nice post, Louise-.

Debbie said...

Success! I enjoyed reading about your exploits with this one.

Joy said...

Are you putting your chicken doodoo in you garden. It would make great fertilizer.


Joy

Louise said...

@ Joy : we most assuredly are! Either as an additive to the composter or neat as a mulch when I'm feeling very brave. Powerful stuff, chicken doo-doo!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Four minus three equals twenty-one

A shockingly low 10°C at 9am as we played truant from kindergarten and blew straight through Cannobio heading for the Swiss border (oh the thrill of it!). Raining hard and solid. The cucumbers are happy, the zucchini are happy, the tomatoes, the basil, the parsley, the radishes, the lettuces and the strawberries are happy. A very soggy Mama, trailing two soggy ducklings wasn't so content.

Behind the scenes in Carmine, a small tragedy has been unfolding. Not one, but three of the four chicks we managed to hatch this year developed clubbed feet. Click here for more. We fear a vitamin B2 deficiency or a genetic defect that comes from breeding fathers with daughters. But we're not experts - any friendly advice or information gladly (and sadly) received.

So we've had for the last few days a young singleton free ranging in the bathroom - at three weeks he's big enough to skip his coop and investigate the big wide world. When anyone comes in for a spot of private business he skitters across the lovely larch floor and bounces on the least mobile pair of feet he can find. From thence to a knee, an arm and eventually a shoulder, where he sits preening himself proudly.

He reminds me of Jonathan/Johanna, our seagull friend, who lived for several years in the kitchen and on the terrace before being sent into the wilderness to terrorise our second round of chicks. Why should that be? Despite M.'s many attempts to teach the seagull to perch on his shoulder, our web-footed friend could never get the hang of perching, so the similarity lies not in that direction. No, it's the fact that Mama has been spending a large proportion of her time skittering across the lovely larch floor with disinfectant wipes in hand, clearing up the chick's private business... and being reminded of this post...Chick doo-doo is, you may be interested to learn, slightly less corrosive and slightly easier to remove than seagull doo-doo. But they're both devastating to a tight schedule of domestic labour.

So, I hear you cry, how does four minus three equal twenty-one? And what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

Well, yesterday afternoon's mission improbable was to find mister-I've-imprinted-on-a-human (aka Singleton) some chums.

First, I thought the answer might lie with the next nearest fluffy things - the cats. In the absence of mice to chase they must surely be bored enough to want to make a new friend. I caught Trouble lying across the bathroom threshold the other day, listening attentively to the chirping beyond. The look of guarded excitement on his young, feline face led me to believe that perhaps the cats were not it.

Sending Singleton packing back to mama-hen wouldn't do either. Singleton's parents wouldn't believe me when I tell them he's theirs, and at this stage would probably peck it to its place in paradise sooner than check its maternity-ward wrist-band.

So off I went in the World's-Most-Battered, with the two sproglets in tow, to a chappie I know in Verbania who had found me what our little yellow friend seemed to be hankering for...

Twenty two-day-old chicks (a euro a piece, poor things) - 12 boys, 8 girls.

A rent-a-crowd.

A porta-party.

And Mama went chirpee-chirpee-cheep-cheep all the way back up the hill.

Last night, Singleton bedded down in the very centre of a mound of warm, fluffy friendliness once more and didn't give my boots (or the disinfectant wipes) a second glance.

Mission accomplished.

12 comments:

chrysalis said...

Loved this story and the way you told it - just great reading!

Anonymous said...

Suspect inbreeding. You need some distant genes.

ladyfi said...

Great reading. Real chick lit! ;-)

Christine Gram said...

I can't believe you have chickens in your bathroom. I have a hard enough time convincing my relatives that I don't sleep on a cot in the kitchen. God help me if they ever read this.

Louise said...

@Christine Gram : Well, the bathroom's about 25m squared for a start so they don't take up too much of that space. Then it's a place that's easy to keep clean, and there's a convenient cross-beam from which to string the warming lamp and the daylight substitute lamp. And most importantly you can close the door and keep cats and children out, and jumpy-jumpy chicks in!

Louise said...

@Anonymous : yep, the chicks we have aren't of the same family, they're not even the same breed...fingers crossed.

Louise said...

@LadyFi : Chick lit - LOL!

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

It is so pleasant to read your stories. The inbreeding comment made me think of my hamster experience - 2 hamsters soon became 27, 3 generations later, and the inbreeding did start to show. I had to give them up when we moved to an apartment that didn't accept pets. A pet store gladly accepted them, saying that home-bred hamsters were much friendlier than store-bred!

Vanessa said...

Nice post, Louise-.

Debbie said...

Success! I enjoyed reading about your exploits with this one.

Joy said...

Are you putting your chicken doodoo in you garden. It would make great fertilizer.


Joy

Louise said...

@ Joy : we most assuredly are! Either as an additive to the composter or neat as a mulch when I'm feeling very brave. Powerful stuff, chicken doo-doo!