I think there is still a mouse in the corner cupboard in the kitchen, or possibly in the walls. Or it might be a rat. Or a squirrel. Or The Hounds Of Tinderlos.
Do The Hounds of Tinderlos eat chocolate? Because Kate is coming for lunch and she's going to bring some to bait the mouse-trap.
These photos are really for our friend Sam (Hi, Sam!), who came to visit last year and gave Black Beak her name. I am very keen on descriptive names for animals, and he therefore hit the nail on the head. Black Beak has hatched six chicks. The eggs were (mostly) laid by Mable and the daddy is Dennis, who are both Speckled Sussex and a few of them were laid by Mary and Sandra, the Barnvelders; but Black Beak sat on them for three weeks, hatched them out, and is a very good mother.
They are now in the little ark that we bought - it has a house and a pen, so we can move them on to fresh grass every day. The chicks really like eating the grass seeds and Black Beak gets very excited when she finds a beetle or a worm, and calls all the babies over to share it. Then one of them will pick it up and run away with it and all the others will chase them. Black Beak then follows on behind them all, running to catch up, clucking at them, a bit like a small ship with a HUGE amount of sails on it.
When they get a bit bigger (four or five weeks old, probably) and can look after themselves, they will go in to a house by themselves and Black Beak will go back to live with the other chickens and will hopefully start laying eggs for us again.
This week I am going to set another few eggs under Sandra, who is really, really broody; and also some under one of Black Beak's sisters, Left Behind Chicken, who is so broody she growls at you when you open the door to her house.
In case B is reading, I hasten to add that these chicks will NOT be for us. They are for Ma. For Mother's Day I bought her some Dutch Bantam eggs from eBay, to put under her single Dutch Bantam hen. Only one hatched (it isn't great to send eggs through the post, so fertility is always a bit lower than one would normally expect); it was three weeks old, perfectly healthy, a very happy little chick.
And then when I spoke to Ma in the week she was almost in tears, because she had gone out to check on it and it's mum and it was dead.
So it is her birthday on Sunday and I am getting her some more eggs. She doesn't have a broody at the moment and she has lent her incubator to someone, so I will put them under Left Behind Chicken and Ma can have them when they are old enough to leave their mum. Sandra is getting some Vorwerk eggs, also for Ma. She lost her two best Vorwerk hens to the fox a couple of weeks ago - who knew that the fox would climb up six feet of chicken-fence and over the top, through a small hole in the netting?
B is home in a couple of hours. Yay!