Goodness, I hadn’t realised it’s been a month since I put in an appearance in the blogosphere. Where has June gone?
It got off to a great start with Caiti coming back home from Canada. She left with one suitcase and a small rucksack and came back with two suitcases and three rucksacks! I met her at Orly Airport so she didn’t have to try and get across Paris with all that lot. Either her or the luggage would have gone missing somewhere along the way.
Anyway, Caiti enjoyed her Canadian experience. However, she’s enjoying Les Fragnes too as both Ophelia and Rosie have produced piglets for her. Caiti is very fond of piglets! She’s also taken over monitoring the incubator and oversaw the hatching of the latest batch of eggs. We have another five chicks to add to our collection. TT and the Eurovisichicks are out in the Eglu now, but will have to join the main flock soon as we’ll need the Eglu for this batch.
My egg hatching production line has come to a sudden halt due to the unexpected death of our good natured cockerel, Humperdinck. He was right as ninepence one day but dead the next. Puzzling and unfortunate. I’m no longer convinced that TT is a cockerel, but there’s bound to be one amongst the Eurovisichicks that I can keep to be Humperdinck’s replacement. I don’t want to buy in a rooster as I think our home-reared ones will be friendlier.
The female turkeys are all sitting on eggs. I’ve had a few turkey eggs in the incubator but have yet to hatch any. I really hope I’ll get some Rouge Ardennes turkeylets soon, but any turkeys will be welcome.
We’ve added another four ducklings to our feathered menagerie. They were rather wild to start with but now that they’ve joined the main flock, they seem to be settling in better.
Now, to the piglets. On 14th June, in the space of two hours, Ophelia gave birth to thirteen spotty piglets. We lost one but the remaining dozen are a lively bunch of rascals. They’re much noisier than any of our Berkshire piglets have been. If you lift one up, it screeches at an earsplitting volume! The day Ophelia decided to have her piglets was cold and thunderstormy. We’d wanted to move Ophelia into the stable pre-birth but she just wouldn’t go. We tried again after the babies were born, but again, no. We took all the piglets over, and despite hearing them squeal in protest and watch them disappear from sight, she wouldn’t budge. She seemed puzzled that they’d gone and looked for them in the shelter, but she wouldn’t leave her field to find them. So we brought them all back, getting soaked through again in the process. I got through three coats that day and as many pairs of trousers! It was a deluge. We tried again to get her into the stable in the evening, but to no avail. We piled hay around the entrances to the shelter and blocked any holes in the roof or walls to keep the weather out, and hoped for the best. We were quite concerned that the babies would get chilled. However, they not only survived that first night but have thrived ever since.
Learning from our timing mistake, we moved Rosie into the nursery the next day, but she kept us waiting for another week until she produced her ten piglets, very quietly and unobtrusively, overnight on the 22nd June. Chris got a nice surprise that morning when he went in to feed her. We checked them all over, and Caiti and I cuddled a few, and not a peep did they make. They are such laid-back little dudes compared with the Tamworth-Gloucester Old Spot crosses. They’re outside now and enjoying life.
In other news, the hay is made and baled. Edouard, the farmer who does this for us, had some mechanical problems and ended up calling a friend in to help. For the first time in our nine years here, we’ve ended up with a hay bale in the lake. There are two very near misses as well. The person who was baling in the lakeside field obviously underestimated the gradient of that field!
Other things have happened but that’s probably enough for now. Other than to say we’re in the fierce grip of a canicule (a heatwave) at the moment that’s forecast to go on for the next week and a half. Temperatures have been in the high thirties the last couple of days, and it’s going to be even hotter tomorrow. It’s a bit tough going in the afternoon but bearable, and the pool is wonderfully warm. We’ll cope!
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