Renaming the Cock!

For those of you who follow the blog, it will be of no surprise that we are a bit of a soft touch with animals, whilst not really having a clue about farm animals. We are learning though and each event, mistake, disaster or accident provides us with much needed learning opportunities. We have had plenty of these opportunities so far, therefore our knowledge should be as vast as Wikipedia, although I fear it’s more at the level of an Old Macdonald picture book!

We love chickens and our growing flock really is down to Charlie. He most definitely takes the lead in being Chief Poultry Expert.  Before we moved to the farm, I had this fantasy of being completely self-sufficient and planned to eat our free-range chucks. However, this is becoming very unlikely. I mean, who knew chickens had fabulous personalities. Especially when you raise them from eggs, watching for signs of hatching in the incubator, seeing these alien like creatures climb from their shell, then suddenly becoming fluffy balls of cuteness. As they grow they develop a love of routine. They lay eggs in the morning, go explore the farm, have a dust bath early afternoon, root around for snacks (usually in the flower beds), follow us around a little, tease the dogs, play with the donkeys, have dinner, then off to bed. What a wonderful existence.

We have had a chick live in the house with us. A recent batch of Swedish Flower Hen eggs resulted in only one chick. I didn’t want it to feel lonely out in the brooder, so decided it would be best in Charlies bedroom. She loves Charlie and I am quite positive that ‘Jem the Hen’ thinks she is a person. She completely relaxes when you stroke her feathers and has a little snooze perched on your hand. She obviously means a lot to us as we named her after a very special friend from England who surprised us recently with a visit. Love you Jemma.

The first batch of eggs we hatched were a mixture of Bantams, Silkies, Rhode Island Reds and a Sussex. However, once hatched, we had no idea how to tell what sex they were. Because they were different breeds, they all looked different. After a little while we decided to have a local come sex them and take away the cockerels. We agreed to keep one cockerel. I quite liked the idea of hearing our cockerel singing in the morning, like on a proper farm. Turned out that out of our 11 chicks, 6 were cockerels.

One cockerel stood out from the rest. A very handsome Bantam who we decided to name Nando. Yes, this is the name of a very popular restaurant chain who specialise in….‘Chicken’ ….but it seemed appropriate at the time. So, we had to say goodbye to 5 of our babies. Charlie hung his head with embarrassment as I became a little emotional. He tried to convince me that they were going to a good home and not necessarily ‘The Pot’. Nando was gorgeous. It’s like he knew we chose him. He happily followed us around the farm as we went about our business and he greeted guests with his little ‘cockadoodledooooo’.  Unfortunately, as he became more confident with his role of being ‘The Man’ around the hens, he became less, well, pleasant with the men on the farm.

I would often catch little glimpses of Nando chasing Stuart and Charlie as they ran to safety, Nando puffing his chest out to show them he was rock hard. I chuckled as I saw how sly he was with our friend Tim. Nando ran towards Tim whilst Tim walked with his back to Nando, as soon as Tim stopped and turned, Nando would stop and turn the other way. This continued across the whole yard, I nearly peed myself laughing.  He didn’t do it to me though, I felt rather smug that Nando loved me.

Turns out Nando doesn’t love me!!!! I was minding my own business, emptying the wheelbarrow of alpaca poop (alpacas poop A LOT) and I found myself face to face with Nando. The area between the wall and the gate suddenly felt smaller than usual as I struggled with the wheel barrow. Nando looked different. He looked a bit pissed off that I dared be in his presence. He had this kind of look in his eyes that made me feel a little uneasy. “Im being stupid” I thought, “Nando loves me”. “Hiya Nando” I said in an over enthusiastic, high pitched but a little shaky voice.  He just kept looking at me. I wondered when Nando had gotten so good at staring you out. Like, he didn’t blink once. I was about to turn and it was at this point I realised that this wasn’t an innocent game of blink but more like a fast draw shoot-out that you see in the cowboy movies. I moved first…. Nando responded by puffing his chest out, flapping his wings, shouting, like really shouting COCKAFLAMINDOODLEDOOO!!!!! Then he jumped up with his spikey, sharp, fighting claws and stabbed me in the leg.

It’s funny how names evolve in time. You know, like nicknames, pet names and alter ego names. We don’t always intend to change names it just happens….

At Curraghduff Farm, Nando is now more commonly known as ‘Piss Off Nando’!!!

 

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