Saturday, 23 January 2016

Darya the hen

The cold weather decided to stay and to really dig in making an impression on us all. Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My pop out for a stroll occasionally and seem to be fine with that. The day they decided to become racehorses on snow was memorable. They headed off outside one morning, bouncing with energy. They were going to take over the world in one fell swoop, apparently. First stop was the bird-feeding place. I had become wiser and had fenced off the area, the day before, and this made our four sheep so surprised that they started an almighty show fight - running and head butting and snorting loudly. It was fun to watch, although the weather was fierce.  I should have let them be but as I wanted them in to warm ears and feet, I called them over. The speed they got up to before the last corner was heart stopping. When four sheep then came around the corner, gliding on their sides I just stood there, thinking about broken bones and the domino effect. I also thought that maybe I should have left them to do their bird food raids....

The hens are everywhere, in the stable. Sometimes it feels like you can't move for hens around your feet.  I'm sure they feel the cold creeping in to the stable and they are so mind numbingly bored, being inside all the time. Monty and Eric are getting on each other's nerves and the tooting goes on a lot. They have formed a duo of loud sounds and the sheep are soon putting them up for sale.

Darya, the youngest hen in the group saw snow for the first time. This made such an impression on her that she wanted to look out of the window all the time. The problem was that she only saw the sky from the small stepladder she was perched on. I did not understand this at first, until Darya started babbling loudly at me, every time I saw her. Luckily I figured it out and gave her a log to stand on. Balancing on her ladder with her piece of wood, she now saw the world, in white. The running commentary went on for days. Then she wanted out to test the snow.

When the cold weather set in, a few of the hens realised that it's warmer when sitting in my lap. They never have the time to hang out with me in the summer, but I seem to have become the village feet warmer. Darya also sees me as the entertainment around here so we now go out to look at the snow, once a day. She sits inside my jacket commenting on everything we see and then we go in again. When it's a sunny day she closes her eyes and sighs happily. Hens are quite wonderful, when they give themselves the time to enjoy life to the full. Darya has found both time and her sense of humour. Apparently she wants to be a parrot and sit on my shoulder. The problem is that she digs her claws deep into my jacket and I can still feel them. To think what it would do to someone wearing just a t-shirt, having Darya landing on the shoulder.... So we are training to sit nicely in the lap instead. If Darya had her way I should be buying an eye patch and a wooden leg, right now. Then I could walk around with her babbling away, looking like the pirate who fell on bad times. We could join the circus. Until then I will have to be the entertainer and hope the weather turns warmer, soon!

Credit: Dasha Dimitrova

I saw the most beautiful picture of a giraffe the other day and started reading about them. I learned that the male giraffes do head butting as a display of dominance. This is called necking. I think Monty and Eric do something similar, maybe they are related? Long legs, long necks and fast runners... Lina the hen thinks they are just silly cockerels and theres nothing very special about that.

I read more about giraffes and they are not doing so well, either. It seems the list of animals in need gets longer all the time. It's good to keep in mind that we can help someone, somewhere. I have spent this week catering for the blackbirds. Every third hour out with fat, corn and seeds, to keep them going in the cold. I also built an Igloo style feeding place so the wind could not get to them. It worked. They are getting slightly tame and it's nice to see that the gang let everyone have a go at eating. No chasing away a friend when everyone's in trouble.

Stay warm!

Text by Nina

Next blog post on the 31st January.

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