Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Bad news

Everything has been going really well lately (apart from the weather) but that all changed today.

I was away all weekend at Discover Dogs helping my friend, Pauline, on the Association of Pet Dog Trainers' stand. We sell dog related goods to finance the association's presence at important events including Crufts. The idea is to promote reward based dog training in the UK and members of the APDT have to abide by the code of practice and have their dog training and class instruction skills assessed before they can become members.

Although we work long hours it is very enjoyable and we generally have fun in the evenings relaxing in a pleasant restaurant and even imbibing the odd glass of wine.

I arrived home yesterday shortly after 11 a.m. and soon got back into the normal routine. Mike helped me to set up the second hand knitting machine which I bought some time ago. I supervised whilst he undertook the less demanding task of assembling it. We suddenly realised that darkness was fast approaching so I went to shut the chickens in. They usually put themselves into the hen house if I am a bit late. As I looked inside to count them I realised to my horror that there were only seven chickens. All the black rock hens were there but only one of the new Buff Orpington/ Rhode Island Reds. I searched everywhere and as it was getting dark rapidly Mike got the torch and went to search the alpaca shelters which the hens often frequent. There was no sign of them so we had to give up.

This morning we found feathers in two paddocks - one being the chicken's home paddock and the other being on the opposite side of the boundary going into our neighbours fields. The fox had used a paddock with no alpacas in it as a corridor and must have caught them as they were going to bed. It must have happened very quickly because we did not hear any noise and the dogs did not bark in the excited way you would expect if they had heard a lot of mayhem. We would have ignored the odd yap as they occur quite frequently.

Our neighbours on that side feed the foxes as they work on the principle that if they feed them they are saving them from taking their meals on, for example, other people's chickens. That worked then.

It is quite a worry as obviously there are times when Mike and I are both out and this would be an ideal opportunity for the fox to return.

When we get the extra chickens we will have to put them behind and electric fence as we cannot risk major slaughter and we cannot gurantee to have alpacas in every paddock that free ranging chickens might wander into.

The second, less important event was then whilst in the shower this evening I noticed a spider had rolled itself up and was presumably drowned by the shower - or maybe it was a large fly. I tried to push it down the plug hole as I did not fancy treading on it. At first it would not go but I finally forced myself to actually touch it with my foot and give it a good shove which succeeded just as I realised it was my favourite stud earing which I had forgotten to take out before washing my hair.

Now I am waiting for the third thing.

I am going on a Goat Farm Walk and lecture tomorrow which will be part of my pre goat owning education. Nick says it will be very interesting. He worked on the goat farm at Ford Abbey for thirteen years. As it is only a couple of miles away it is ideal.

Nick helped me do a few jobs with the alpacas and then he and Mike measured up the large shelter in the bottom paddocks with a view to making it into a goat house. I phoned Steve at Corrymoor to confirm our order for 5 maiden females and we are also buying a prize winning stud Buck. Starting to get excited.

No comments: