Friday, August 08, 2008

Georgina Gallina plus a visiting pigeon

Our neighbour mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he was expecting a delivery of 150 ex-Tesco free-range chickens that had done their year's work of egg laying and needed retirement homes! As we'd been thinking of getting Georgie a friend it seemed the perfect opportunity to have one of them. He delivered our brown hen on Monday and she promptly escaped over the garden gate so not a good start with the chap and me trying to catch her among the nettles in the pub garden!

Georgie has been going through a rather annoying brooding session this last week and a half where she just wants to stay cooped up in her coop trying to keep invisible eggs warm ready for hatching. Poor love! The websites and books say to turf her out in order to break the broodiness and to stop her from over heating (which, naturally, it dangerous for her health) but my friend suggested I just leave her alone. It can take up to three weeks to return to normal (the time it takes to incubate eggs), and during this time we are not given our daily egg! We left her some of the time and enticed her out at others, but she's been pretty grumpy with puffed up feathers and angry "words". We wondered how the introduction of "brown hen" would go down, but all seemed quiet and peaceful (as we introduced early evening. Apparently resident hens think the new recruit has been there all its life if you do it this way!).

Couple of mornings later, brown hen (now named Georgina Gallina (Latin for hen)) woke me up at 6.30 with the most awful sqwarks and bashing noises. I was kind of hoping it was perhaps feeding time for the other 149 hens at my neighbour's house but closer inspection showed a desperate Georgina pleading to leave the coop as she was being pecked by Georgie. Not too sure how to deal with this. The poor girl has already gone through alot of pecking with Tesco (she's lost feathers on her back and bottom) and I really don't want it to continue.
Photobucket GG's bare bot!

Having secured the garden of escape routes (hopefully) we let GG out to pootle around on Wednesday and have been watching her and Georgie closely; things have been improving, but Georgie still has the occasional peck and chase. No major noises from the coop this morning although Katie noticed GG's comb had been bleeding. I'm hoping it's just the "pecking order" thing and it'll settle down. Any ideas or tips, please leave your comments. One good thing - Georgie's forgotten all about her broodiness now, I guess she's got bigger fish to fry!


A rather interesting thing happened on Saturday afternoon (apart from the W visit - see below). A lost racing pigeon turned up in our (empty) swimming pool looking rather forlorn. By the evening it had gone, but reappeared in the morning and continued this routine every day. It was a pretty friendly thing and was happy for us to get close enough to read the ID tag on it's foot which revealed that it was very young, having an 08 birthdate. Through some web searching, we found it was registed with the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and they responded very quickly to my "lost pigeon" email. It seemed to enjoy it's food - dried rice, split peas and lentils (had to laugh at this website about the bread, it certainly did turn it's beak up at it!) Lovely gentleman and his wife turned up from North Lincs. earlier today to reunite it with its brothers and sisters and to have a well-deserved rest! Apparently it had been racing from the Yorkshire area on Saturday and must have either got lost or homed in to the fact that Katie wants to look after every animal in the Kingdom!



At 10:26 am, Blogger Minnie said...

Aw!! Hope little hen settles in ok. Wish we had a big enough garden for chucks and ducks.

At 8:54 pm, Blogger Elaine, Ellies Treasures said...

Thanks Minnie, little hen is beginning to settle very well thanks. Elle

At 10:13 pm, Blogger Claire said...

I have been reading up on hen bullying in preparation for our six new ex batts arriving in October. Apparently squirting the offending hen with water when she goes for another hen is effective.

At 8:04 pm, Blogger Elaine, Ellies Treasures said...

Thanks for that Claire, I'll keep it in mind. They seem to be getting on alot better now, but Georgie still has the occasional peck when she feels she's not getting her share of the food!



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