Sunday, September 06, 2009

A month of good and bad

A month ... time certainly has raced past me over the past 30 days. Back from vacation and into the vortex of work. School started last week and the weeks prior to the start of school are always crazy. You know, everyone has to do everything that didn't get done the rest of the summer? I survived, only a little worse for wear.

Around here, we've had happy and sad events.

This morning we had a happy event which prompted me to post. Beatrice, our most "developed" girl, laid her first egg!

Here she is, the proud egg, layer shortly after the big event. We've been able to tell that she was almost ready to lay for the past couple of weeks (her crown and waddle have really come in and reddened up). The last couple of days she's been very noisy, so noisy I've started to worry that maybe we were wrong and she was really a rooster.

This morning, even before we opened up the house she was really loud. In fact, she was in the laying boxes when I went out to let them into the run. I could just tell today would be the day. She went out into the run for a few minutes and then went right back into the house. We heard lots of squaking and after one particularly loud bout, S wanted me to go out and check on her. The noises that came out of that girl for another minute were very loud exclamations. Then she scooted right out of the house, ran to the morning snacks, and left behind the cutest, most perfect, dainty little egg (pictured next to a regular grocery store egg in the picture below for comparison).

Instincts are really amazing. It has been fascinating to watch our girls go through the different stages of development and just seem to know what to do. We didn't put the laying boxes onto the house until they hit about 18 weeks (which is the earliest hens tend to lay) and Beatrice just went right in, checked it out, and seem to know just what it was for. The girls left it alone until this week and then I could tell Beatrice had been in there just checking it out, scratching a bit, nesting. Now she's a layer. Sigh ... where did the time go? My guess is we still have another week or two before another hen starts to lay.

Also, on the happy news side, we have another baby addition to the neighborhood ... a baby peacock.

The mom has lived in the neighborhood for quite some time. According to some neighbors, years (or another female at least has been here for years). I first saw her about a year ago on a morning walk. You never knew when you were going to see her, or what part of the neighborhood she'd be in, but it was always great to catch sight of her. About 2 weeks ago, driving home from work, I saw her walking in a yard along with her new little companion.

It's unclear to me whether she has an owner/caretaker in the neigborhood or if she really just lives wild in the neighborhood. I've seen lots of houses putting out water and feed for her. As far as I know, there is no male peacock in the neighborhood. There apparently was at one time, but no longer. So, either this girl is another immaculate mother or perhaps the fertilized egg was brought in for her (maybe by an owner?). It's a bit of a mystery, but a happy addition. I've only seen the pair three times so far, but every time is a treat.

Finally, some sad news. Earlier this week, we lost one of our own four girls. One of our reds, Althea, passed away. She just collapsed on Sunday morning last week, and despite a visit to the vet and some care, just didn't make it. We buried her under the budda and think of her often. We were quite worried that the other girls might also fall ill, but so far, no signs of any problems (and with Beatrice's delivery today I'm feeling more optimistic).

So we're remembering our lost friend and enjoying the companionship of the rest of our little family. Good and bad together... I guess that is how life is.

I hope everyone out there is enjoying the end of their summer and having a good labor day weekend.

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