After the Ash Cottage Massacre, we had one depressed chicken and 2 depressed children so I called the lovely family at Handpecked Chicken's. They are a local business from whom I've been buying my chicken related paraphernalia, feed and bedding since I got our first hens. Lovely, lovely people, they answered my "emergency" email despite being on holiday in Turkey and on the following Friday the little foxes and I went to pick up a new buddy for Astrid. Her name is Cecilia, she is a pretty little brown hen.
The children and I were devastated at the loss of our old hens, Agatha, Anoushka and Ashley. I moped a bit so for my birthday friends offered to buy me 2 new chickens. The following Monday I was back in the car with my buddy Rochelle, driving back to Hertford with my friend Gail's cat travel box to pick up 2 more chickens. Clarice (a beautiful Bluebell hybrid) and Caitie (a fiesty little Skyline who might lay blue eggs) joined the new flock much to Astrid's further disgust.
The hedgehog had, sensibly enough, rolled into a ball of defensive prickles, and I never saw anything other than this state of affairs. There was a little blood and the dog had probably been worrying at it for a good 10 mins so I feared the worst. I popped the hedgehog into an empty rabbit hutch that we were renovating for the quail and ran to pick up the children from school.
On my return the hedgehog was still tightly balled and prickly and the little foxes and I were straight off to one of their after school classes. I took the hedgehog to my nearest vets en route, a hedgehog specialist (Who knew?) and promising to give details over the phone later and pay up should the hedgehog have received any dog related injuries that need fixing up. Hedgehogs are becoming quite rare you know, and our indigenous wild-life needs preserving.
It turns out our little hedgehog was absolutely fine, no injuries sustained and I had just found myself a very nice vet who does a lot of hedgehog work.
Skip forward a week and my quails seem to be under attack from something (mouse/rat) getting into their cage at night, eating their food and taking a chunk out of them to boot. One had a nasty wound on her back and the other a large cut over her left eye. Back to the hedgehog vet's, this time I managed to forget my purse, who nevertheless did a great job patching up Squeeky Cheese and Amber - or "Staple in Her Head" as we are now calling her. All I can add to this is that it is not easy to get a quail to take antibiotics twice a day.
Over the bank holiday weekend we re-jigging our avian accommodation to; give our adult hens more room to roost at night; get our seven increasingly smelly young Maran chicks out of the house; protect the quail from attack and lower their stress levels in case the injuries are being inflicted on each other by over stressed birds. The quail now have a much bigger pen with outside space, safely housed inside the main run.
I now have one much loved but aggressively, domineering adult hen, who is a wonderful layer (Astrid), 3 young POL hen's who live in terror of the old girl (Cecilia, Clarice and Caitie). Three, purple streaked, stapled quails who have just come into lay - Yum, yum, (Amber, Sleepy and Squeeky Cheese). And 7 Maran chicks whose gender we constantly debate - we think we have 3 roosters and 4 hens.
Oh, and 2 hives of bees; one doing great shakes, the other has not really built up numbers since winter and is bad tempered and mean.
However, I must admit that in the last week I have spent more than one very satisfying evening sat in the sun watching the hens negotiate their new world order. Pecking squawking, chasing aside it is all very simple and understandable and quite amusing to watch.