At first light this morning I was excited to see how the pigs responded to snow. So armed with a bucket of food and the camera I discovered,by the time I got there, they had already explored most of the pen. They seemed bemused at their wallow and tentatively put trotter in one at the time only allowing three to be in at the same time.
Then the girl we are keeping noticed me taking pics and bounded over. Powdered snow leaving a smoky trail. Her sister soon followed. They didn't have much to say more interested in food.
By the time I went down with this evenings feed, they had more to say. Grunt grunt, oink oink oink grunt. I translated this as urgh this is horrible you could at least provide some nice shiny wellies and a pink hoody.
I'm not convinced at all that the wipe out was due to a four legged fiend. The sign left behind are not conclusive to an attack by a beastie.
There were no marks on the dead (apart from 1 cochin who had a tear on her chest and we had to put out of her misery.) No dismembered or half eaten carcasses. The hens that had been eaten were laid out in a way a bird of prey would have fed. I dont believe a bird of prey was the culpritt either. The fence was still secure and even though and animal could have got in quite easily it would have been difficult to have got out with a chicken (so many times) without leaving exit clues somewhere. There were no feathers or distortion to the fence.
The guinea fowl were completely gone, no feathers or remnants of body parts, flown away in fright I presumed. I scoured the fields for signs of them but couldn't find any.
However last night after feeding the hungary porker's, I questioned them about their whereabouts saturday night sunday morning and although I found their oinks and grunt's difficult to interpretate for some reason (it was still playing on my mind) I had yet another look around the guinea fowl pen. It was dark, not a lot of light and I didn't have a torch, but just catching the corner of my eye tucked in a clump of long grass was a packet of extra strong mint's! Oh how our urbin foxes have evolved!!!!
I suspect fowl play by a two legged animal!
Saturday I was full of busy. Moving the guinea fowl to their new run, moving the bees into the polytunnel to give a little extra protection. We received our new bed, heaven. with all chores completed we collapsed into our new bed, knowing we would have a day off on Sunday. It would be my neice and nephews 21st and we were looking forward to seeing them.
Sunday morning, the usual routine, weighing out food into containers to take to feed the animals. All was well until I reached the the orchard where the collection of welsommers, cochins and rhode island red's are/were kept. I could see 2 or three bodies in the run. Scared of the memories of the last masacre that greeted me I returned to the house informed Barry grabbed a bag and he accompanied me for the clear up.
Both Cochins, Rhode Island Red's, and all but 2 cocks and the 2 old welsomer hens were dead.
We cleared up Monsieur Reynard had been busy we muttered, but all did not seem right. The was not a mark on the birds. And how did he jump the fence, holding onto to chickens, without leaving a trace?
I couldn't talk about it I felt so sick. All the hard work this year of rearing a stock for next year almost completely wiped out.
I don't like the thought of the pigs being out in this atrocious weather. I felt so sorry for them when I went to feed them tonight. So while they were scoffing their tea I stole a moment in their ark! How cosy it was too, if you closed your eyes it was a snug little country cottage with chintz curtains, a wood burning stove with a whistling kettle waiting to make tea with plates of jam and scones on the table a family portrait on the wall. They will be as snug as a bug in a rug, all snuggled up!
If you have a phobia does it seek you out? Everywhere I venture mice seem to greet me. Even to the extent that cocoa the chihuahua who thinks she's a cat left me a dead one as a present !!! Urghhh (shudder)
The pigs have been a bit 'bull in a china shop' recently having broke two water buckets in two days!
This weekends clock changes have brought havoc, as usual to our household. From 5 o'clock alarms to remembering which clock had been changed already. Animals also find this a strange phenonemon and are waiting for their grub long before it's due.
On Sunday I became a thespian. Taking part in a commercial promoting Shakespeare to the ordinary folk which is being commisioned by the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. I had several attempts before we had a rap, leaving Jane to continue bringing all the tools in from the field by herself. She was to be my understudy incase I got stage fright. The chickens refused to perform entirely and I informed the director 'never work with children, animals or your mother'!!!