Look who's a new mama...
Charlotte, age 5. She has now hatched out all three of the eggs that were under her and has two yellow chicks and one black. None of them are her biological children! She is a Sex-link hen, a breed meant for egg production (the the stewpot!) All the broodiness was supposed to have been bred out of her, but this month she got all maternal.
And she is an excellent mama. I watched her teach her little ones to drink and eat. Today I took them a few wild black raspberries. Charlotte broke them up with her beak, the clucked at her babies to come eat. It was utterly adorable. My little hatchery hen is turning out to be an excellent mama, and what's really nice is that because she is so tame and trusts me, I can pick up her babies without her freaking out.
It's so touching to so my oldest hen tenderly caring for her little ones. She has not gone broody once in the past five years. I guess it was time. And she's a natural!
Meanwhile, look what I got in the mail today:
My friend Penny sent me this fantastic t-shirt. Looks just like one of my little piglets. Well, back when they were still little. Now they look like breadboxes on high heels.
And guess what's in our garage? Cat #7. We think she's Emerson's mother, as they are the exact same colour and she shares his delicate features. We're not 100% sure it's a she, especially since she's a ginger. Orangey cats tend to be males. But she's definitely an adult and has big mitten front paws: polydactyl! And unlike Emerson, she's totally wild and almost unapproachable. She has been hanging around for a couple of months, but we've only caught glimpses of her in the garden. I had been planning on trapping her to get her spayed and vaccinated, but then she wandered into the garage. I've been feeding her in there and will be trapping her and taking her to the vet in the next few days, something I am not particularly looking forward to, as it will traumatize her further. But it must be done. Afterwards we'll release her here and she can be our barn/garden cat. I think she considers this place home, considering how long she's been hanging around. And now she'll get free meals twice a day!
We have been making the slightest amount of progress in the garage. I know her hiding spot now and can look at her from a reasonably close distance. Today was the first time she looked at me with squinty eyes instead of the usual dilated-pupil pits of terror. But of course trapping her will set back our progess... sigh. She is at least a good eater, and as per my friend Deb's suggestion, I put some logs on the floor of the garage for her to scratch and laced them with fresh catnip. Judging by the amount of bark on the floor, she's been enjoying this very much. And she seems to like the cat toys and treats I've left out for her too.
Apart from that, I've had my head stuck in my beehives a lot lately. More posts to come!