Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A lodger at the back door...

We have had a very bedraggled lodger camped at the French windows throughout the day, looking extremely sorry for herself. Charlie hen is moulting. She is beginning to look positively bald. Her feathers are falling out everywhere. The dog kennel resembles a war zone. Feathers litter the floor there, but don’t be deceived, the bold hen took it upon herself, when the weather got wild, to take refuge in the dog kennel snuggling up behind Mist the pup. Often Mist can be seen, a scowl on those chops, tucked up outside in the pouring rain such is her disdain at her new kennel mate.

Charlie has stopped laying eggs just now, but why she chooses to come off the lay and lose all of her feathers when the weather is so harsh and cold is beyond me. Usually you would see her surrounded in her feather duvet, as she fluffs the feathers all up around herself to keep warm in the rain and gales. Just now though her feathers are scant and she has huge bare patches where new feathers are beginning to grow. She looks so uncomfortable and itchy as she continually pecks at the old feathers. She isn’t endearing herself to the happy farmer either, he is less than impressed with all of the ‘parcels’ she deposits at the back door as she refuses to go foraging just now, preferring to  wait for scraps from the children as she huddles into the door frame. I can’t say I blame her either and Mist seems to have joined her lately as well. The two of them sit, poised, with noses and beaks pressed firmly against the French windows, come rain hail or shine, as they watch the various comings and goings in the farm house kitchen.

Charlie did manage to keep laying an egg a day throughout December and for most of January. Even in the snow and ice we still found frozen eggs. Mist the pup has been enjoying Charlie’s eggs as well. I saw her carefully checking the nest when she thought we weren’t watching, pretending to have a pee nearby, before sneaking a quick peek into the roll of fencing wire Charlie was using as a nest. Mist only took an odd egg though, so we can cope with that, so long as she doesn’t get too greedy when Charlie comes back on the lay. No wonder Mist is so enthralled with her feathered pal.

Until next time….

13 comments:

Jan said...

Oh poor Charlie. I do hope she grows new feathers quickly, I feel so sorry for her.

Pondside said...

Poor Charlie!
We have three bedraggled hens who refuse to lay. I had to buy eggs last week - horrors!
Every time I open your blog and see that header photo I have to catch my breath.

Elizabethd said...

I think you should knit her a little tweedy jumper.

MILLY said...

I like the way Charlie makes himself at home and takes over the dog kennel. They all look friends on the photograph.

Fennie said...

What a beautiful story, Posie. So true and delightful. So typical of hens, though you have clearly discovered the secret ingredient by which there is an outbreak of peace between the farm yard animals. Maybe you could apply it to the Middle East?

lampworkbeader said...

What chilly weather to be losing your feathers.

Chris Stovell said...

Gosh, sorry it's been a while - life has been completely chaotic here, but when I read about the new best friends over at yours it seems pretty topsy-turvy there! Lovely photos, but that image in the header is stunning!

jane said...

Posie I love your Charlie tales - I dont blame her taking refuge in the dog kennel I am sure as soon as her feathers grow into place again she will be back on form as cheeky as everx

mollygolver said...

Poor Charlie, with all this wind it's no wonder she wants to keep warm in Mist's kennel. Love your pictures.

Jayne said...

Get your knitting needles out Posie and make that hen a jumper.
Just love the word chops.
Lovely blog as always.

Posie said...

Jan, she looks completely awful, the photos were not taken in full moult, it would be too cruel!!
Pondside - isn't it just awful when you have to buy eggs, sometimes there is deluge of eggs, and then suddenly nothing...
Elizabeth - Wouldn't it make a gorgeous pic, Charlie in a little tweedy jumper. I bet she would love it too!

Posie said...

Milly - Mist very patiently puts up with Charlie but also seems to be aware that it completely cramps her style, I think she feels it isn't right that a sheepdog should be friends with a hen, but secretly loves Charlie!!
Fennie - thank you for your lovely words of encouragement and yes if only we could apply such good relations to the Middle East, if hens and dogs can live together peacefully then would n't it be wonderful if we could get peace for all the people there too.

Posie said...

Lampie...exactly, why does she choose to moult when it is sooo cold.
Chris - lovely to catch up...totally topsy turvy here.
Jane - thank you and yes she will soon be back on form and running amok!!
Molly - lovely to hear from you as always
Jayne - Yep definately need to knit something, as I do think it would make for a gorgeous photo and keep Charlie cosy...maybe Pipany could knit me something ??