Sunday, 13 September 2015

What a weekend!

Wow, what a weekend!

We were already one-man down as Cat was continuing her yoga course in Stockholm at yogayama, so when the little chicks started popping out of their fragile eggs on Friday we knew it was going to be a frantic few days. In total, we had two hens, Vita Vera and Svarta Sara, laying on 14 eggs, all due to hatch on Friday, sure enough just after breakfast we heard our first 'peep-peep' and there was the first fluffy, wobbly chick.

7 freshly hatched chicks 
Throughout the day, the rest of the chicks started to peck through and before long our coop was a chorus of 'peep-peep'. We now had 8 little chicks bumbling around! We had lost one little chick during the day, so 5 eggs were left. In an attempt to keep them warm, as the hens were pre-occupied with their lively 'peep-peeping' hatchlings, Cecilia took one for the team and stuffed them in her bra!

After what seemed hours of seeing Cecilia walking around with a terrible swelling condition of the chest, we heard our next 'peep-peep'. The 9th little chick broke through! This little chick was very small and fragile, so we tentatively placed it in the coop under one of the hens for the night. The next morning, the 9th chick was still alive, but very weak and laying on its own in the corner of the coop. We quickly scooped it up and our 'chick recovery centre' opened. A box filled with lovely soft hay, with a warm heat lamp above has been its place of rest for the last 36 hours and as it is a safe distance from the incessant 'peep-peep' of its brothers and sisters, recovery has been swift. Tomorrow is integration day though, so fingers crossed the 9th chick will be embraced with open wings and a 'peep-peep' chorus!

The 9th chick
Saturday afternoon was also very exciting, as we were due to receive our first Gute Ram to join our 7 lovely Gute ewe lambs. At about 4pm, we heard a honk, as Cecilia and Mats drove up with the horse box in tow and the Ram inside. As the ramp was lowered, this heroic and steely eyed Ram stood there taking in his new surroundings. Wow, what a beast!

'The Ram'
Feeling slightly lacking without a pair of massive curly horns, I tried to make friends. At first he was very indifferent to my approaches, but the branch and leaf trick worked a treat and soon I managed to get within an arms length. We left him to explore his new field and march around as if he owned the place!

'The Ram' already owns the place!
Sunday morning came and we learned that we needed to introduce 'The Ram'* to our ewe lambs, so that he didn't become lonely wondering around on his own. Being pretty testosterone fuelled, a contraceptive apron had to be strapped around his waist to prevent him from getting too friendly with our ewes, and so that we had control over when lambing occurs. Cecilia, Kerstin and Tora managed to strap this apron on and coax and move 'The Ram' to where the 7 ewes were enjoying a peaceful life. Then chaos ensued as he went on the rampage. Mats had I had been out in town while all this occurred, so we returned to see Cecilia standing in the middle of the field between the ewes and 'The Ram' as a sort of peace keeper. 'The Ram' was strutting around not looking so manly, with a lop-sided apron strapped around his nether regions…HA! The next hour was spent trying to catch 'The Ram' and make alterations to his apron so that it was a more tailored fit. Thankfully, while this was going on, the ewes began to get used to their new field-mate and started making advances on him! Peace (sort of) resumed!

So, we have now increased our animal count and have 10 new mouths to feed, but the bonus for us is that we get more eggs and lots of lambs next spring!

*'The Ram' is nameless at the moment, so any suggestions are more than welcome!

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