Early June – Indian Runner Ducklings and Dorking Chicks

Early June – Indian Runner Ducklings and Dorking Chicks

I decided this year might be my last chance to breed some Indian Runner ducks and some Dorking hens.  Earlier in the year I had put a ‘wanted’ advert on Preloved for Dorking hens to go with Dillon, my Dorking cockerel.  I had received a reply from someone in Yorkshire saying they had hatched some Dorking eggs and I replied that I would be interested when the chicks were a bit older.

By the time I got around to replying, the fox had got Dillon (I was really upset as he was a wonderful, placid, gentle, friendly cockerel.)  It was during the day and I was around outside most of the day – I just couldn’t find him at bedtime – searched everywhere and all I found was one tail feather.

Anyway we went to Yorkshire to get three Dorking chicks.  When we arrived, in the pen next to the chicks were some Indian Runner ducklings – so we came back with two ducks as well.

I am so scared of losing them that they have been in a pen in the hen house at night and painstakingly moved to a pen outside each day.

One of the chicks died – not sure what happened but one morning he just sat all hunched up and within a few hours he had gone.  The other two are thriving, not sure yet of course if they are boys are girls!

Now the ducklings are bigger I have let them have free run of the hen house but they are not going outdoors until I am sure they know where home is and I’ve checked that there are no gaps they can get through!  The first day, they stood poking their heads out of the door and looking all around.  Can’t wait until they go outside and find the pond!  They love the water bowl and try swimming in it but they are much too big to even get their heads under the water now.




The days are getting longer

The days are getting longer, Spring is in the air, with the promise of summer to come, there’s a great sense of excitement in the garden, you can almost feel the grass growing and the daffodils bursting into brilliant yellow splashes of sunshine.


Here is Charlie with his foster-mum – Mrs Grey – and I’ve called the other chick Ebony – I think he (or she) is a pure  is a pure Vorwerk.  If so (s)he’ll look like one of these when (s)he grows up:


This is Captain Von Vorwerk with Violet, they are quite impressive hens and they lay little white eggs.

What Happened to Amber?

What Happened to Amber?

After the squirrel episode yesterday, when I went to let the hens out, I looked for Amber, half expecting a squirrel to be in her pen again – and all I found was a pile of feathers!  The door of the pen was open and the protective wire had been ripped off the bottom of the pen.  Amazingly Charlie chick was OK but cheeping pitifully.

I put him in with the other broody hen who has two chicks and watched with my heart in my mouth to see if she would accept him – quite often hens will not have anything to do with chicks they haven’t hatched themselves – but thankfully she let him snuggle down with the others under her feathers and he stopped cheeping.

So what had eaten Amber?  I’ve seen foxes rip open wire pens and get through really small gaps but foxes generally carry off their prey and eat it somewhere else.  A polecat maybe?  I know that I didn’t leave the door open because there’s a picture of the pen on this website that I posted yesterday – so what opened the door?


A Squirrel in the Hen House

A Squirrel in the Hen House


This morning when I went out to feed the hens, Amber was making such a commotion, so Betsy and I went over to see what all the fuss was about.  Amber is in a pen on her own as she has just hatched one chick and it’s only two days old.  I couldn’t see the chick anywhere and Amber was squawking like mad.  When I opened the door of the pen, there was a squirrel inside!  Betsy soon saw him off and shortly afterwards the chick came out of hiding and calm was restored.  But how did the squirrel get in?