Saturday, 27 September 2008

Coming of age - the adventures of Dusty

OK - I know that some folks will see this pic and think "how has she taken a photo this good of planet Zogg". Others will look at it, and think "huh?". Others will realise what it is and either think it's a miracle of nature or that it's truly gross.

I fall into category three - to me, it's a miracle of nature and one I've been waiting and hoping for over the last three months very anxiously.

It's the first egg from our three new babies - Dusty has been growing a fantastic bright red comb over the last couple of weeks. This is a sure-fire indication that she's about to start laying. On Wednesday, I poked my head into the nest box to find this little beauty - a pale alabaster pink egg, quite small but absolutely perfectly shaped. The egg was smeared with blood as is always the case on the first occasion a hen lays an egg. My little girl is now an elegant and beautiful young woman - she has come of age, biologically speaking.

She's a Blue Andalusian (a rare breed), small, slim, has a terrific long tail and a massive comb compared to our other hens. To be fair, it's a breed thing and she's just got what all Blue Andalusians have, it's simply that we only have one. Her feathers are amazing - dark on her head, then getting lighter along her body, though each individual feather is edged with black, giving her an appearance of being almost scaly. She's named after one of my heroes - Dusty Springfield, because when we picked the three new hens up from the farm where they were born and raised, they sang to us in low voices so they're all named after singers.

To celebrate her journey into womanhood, she decided to go on a "rites of passage" rebellious romp on Thursday. I could hear a commotion that was obviously chicken, coming from up the hill from our home. I thought nothing of it because several of our neighbours also keep chooks. Then I looked up and noticed a lovely Blue Andalusian sitting on top of the six-foot high fence between our next-door neighbour's house and their next-door neighbours on the other side of them. Ooops. There is only one Blue Anderlusian in our village and that's Dusty.

I called for reinforcements (David), got a couple of long sticks and some corn and we set off next door to effect a recapture. She, of course, like every rebellious young woman, was not interested in recapture so she flew over my head, landing in the garden. There followed ten minutes of charging around with us after her while old nimble feet neatly evaded our every lunge. Finally, she flew up onto the shed next to our own boundary and all we needed to do then was to give her a gentle prod in the bottom to get her to fly down into her own territory.

By the time we'd got back round to our own garden, she was in the hen house clucking indignantly and looking a bit "bothered" about her adventure. Let's hope that she has exhausted her wanderlust!

By the way - this is the first time I have taken a new photo for my blog in the six months or so since I left pbase.

For anyone wondering about Archie, his progress is slow but he's certainly showing improvements.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that Archie is doing better! I can hardly think of a better scene than you and DM chasing a hen about the yards...

GailD said...

Hello, I've been away for a couple of weeks so just catching up with Archie's illness. I've got everything crossed for him... xxxx