Broody chicken

Elly chicken is brooding. Had noticed a drop in egg production. Next she was permanently sitting on the nest, reluctant to move. Finally, whenever I pushed her outside she'd have a right strop... see this video for a minute's worth of unhappy chicken.
Even when pecking around with the others she'd suddenly rush off as though pursued by a swarm of bees. Finally she was spooking the rest of the girls to such an extent that I didn't get any eggs at all one day.
So I knocked up a box with a wire base and she's been in there since Monday. I'll let her out this weekend when she'll hopefully be back to her normal self. See pictures at the bottom of this posting.
Babysat Connor and Paige last Saturday. Some incredulity on Beth's part when I said I was going to walk them to Hill Rise Park. As we arrived Connor announced he needed a poo ... desperately! Paige piped up that she needed one too. Now when Paige says she needs a poo you take notice, 'cause she's probably not been for a month. So some panic on my part as I tried to divert their attention onto ice creams we'd get on the way back. Paige decided she couldn't hold everything back and promptly downed tackle so she was bare from the waist down to have a wee.
By the time we got back home we were all desperate for the loo. Paige got in there first but was obviously too rushed... had to get her up from bed later to change her knickers. She sat on the loo and said she had to do a red face to make it work. Little sausage!
We've got yet another nesting bird in our garden, this time a collared dove. Difficult to realise at first since it's nest is the most haphazard platform of twigs imaginable. Here's a picture of mum (click to enlarge) proudly suspended above what should be two eggs that have another couple of weeks to go before hatching... so hopefully more photos to follow in future postings.
We've had some great results this year, with our first robin chicks in Spring, a blackbird nest a month later and numerous baby blackbirds that have escaped to the safety of our garden from the surrounding area. Might try making a set of sparrow boxes over winter.
And to confirm my success in the habitat-making sphere, the hedgehog box I installed in Beth's garden last winter was occupied a few weeks ago by a nesting mum. Unfortunately a dead baby hedgehog has appeared in their garden since then. Apparently there is a high rate of loss, but since the average litter is three or four newborns there's still a good chance of success.
The work to extend the cemetary has now finshed and I've resumed my peaceful cycle to the plot from that direction again. Managing to stay on the Pashley all the way with some significant wobbles on the rough ground. Made the mistake of attempting it after a heavy rainfall... only got about two metres onto soft earth before my tyres were so clogged up with mud they wouldn't turn any longer.
Here's some interesting water piping that's been left by the construction workers. Looks like no-one wants it... I certainly do. Would look rather nifty as part of my yet to be built fruit cage.
Been hoping I'd see the groundsman so I could ask if it's surplus to requirements, but no sign of him recently. If any of my fellow Hill Risers scroungers are reading this... I've staked my claim first!
Worrying news this week that a few sheds have been broken into. Hope it's not another spate of vandalism about to start.
Had a great day out walking with Barry yesterday. We did the Abbots Ripton walk and finished up with a great pub lunch at The Crown Inn in Broughton. Lovely village, really peaceful. Highly recommended. And we finished off the day in style with a wine tasting session at The Old Bridge Hotel, the last decision-making event in the build up to Becky's and Barry's wedding on Saturday 22nd August.
Thanks for reading my blog. More photos below. John

Chicken in a basket box
(click to enlarge)

First crop of rapsberries and blackcurrants

Potato flower with visitor

Sunset over Allotment Heaven

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