This is Pippa Jay reporting for duty...
Some of you may have noted my absence from social media despite the end of the summer holidays. Some personal issues plus my new job (even though it's only a couple of shifts a week), the extra time and effort I've had to devote to the chooks, and a general despondency (probably a touch of SAD as the weather took a very definite autumnal turn just as the monsters went back to school after a very hectic and occasionally stressful last two weeks) led me to deactivate my Facebook account temporarily (maybe) and to avoid my traditional venue to chat on Twitter. While the scary health issues have been resolved, I'm still finding social media too 'noisy'.
But I know many of you have loved the chook updates and some were super concerned about the first batch of chicks that you've followed along from the arrival of the eggs to their early adulthood, especially as it turned out they were all male, throwing their future into doubt.
I'm happy to say that this weekend, my five beautiful boys went to a new (if possibly temporary) home on a ten acre site with assorted other fluffy and feathered friends. Potentially temporary because the new owner will continue to try finding even better forever homes but the boys will always have a place with him if not. It would be nice if they could end up with some hens of their own somewhere. I'm following them still so will let you know if they move on elsewhere.
Marvel and Firefly are now coming up to four weeks old and have been happy to move into the newly vacated nursery coop now my boys have gone. Just in time as they were starting to flutter out of their enclosure in our summer house! Unfortunately it looks like Marvel is a cockerel - after the last batch we know a bit more of what to look for. He's a fraction bigger than Firefly, has a more pronounced comb emerging, and is bullying his sibling. It's especially heartbreaking after almost losing him to hatching issues and bringing him back from the edge, but that's the reality of animal ownership. At least now we have somewhere we know is a good place to take him.
Plans are afoot for us to demolish our current set up of two wooden coops and run in preference for a single larger plastic coop (the wooden ones are prone to red mite infestations, and these little buggers suck blood and can seriously harm the health of chickens) with a larger run. This will improve the chooks' health, and give them better security and more space, as well as making life easier for us. The run will be a walk in version - at the moment we have to crawl around in the current run as it's only three foot in height. We'll also have a better view of the chickens from the house to keep an eye on them. This will happen over the winter, and we hope to buy a couple of new hens, possibly of a different bantam breed , as our hatching adventures have only given us one hen out of 12 eggs!
Our older girls have now stopped laying and stopped being broody ready for winter. It looks as though Kyru - our second oldest at three years - may have reached the end of her egg laying years like Scoop (now five and eggless for the past two). They're still our pets though, but this is why we need some new blood - Pitch, Effie and Fizzgig may well stop laying after the next season if two years productivity is typical for the breed. The girls are also moulting but my poor Fizzgig apparently decided to do it en masse and spent a few days horribly half naked. She currently looks like a cyborg chicken - the blue pins that will become new feathers look scarily like circuitry! But I'm happy to see the new growth - I was on the verge of making her a jumper to keep her warm. Apologies for the shaky photos - she's a fidget and won't keep still for a second!
Nor-Con is in less than two weeks though my post on that will be slightly delayed due to the release of Pets in Space 2 featuring crew member Laurie (check out her recent posts for more info on that). Currently I'm rushing to remake youngest's Luigi cosplay because he's outgrown the previous one (damn growth spurts!), while my newly turned 13yo (yes, I now have TWO teens in the house and boy do I know it) still needs a belt and scabbard for his Witch-king. Must get back to it. Meanwhile, Unexpected is still with the proofreader with no news on a release date as yet.