There’s been a late-summer surge of babies here at Les Fragnes. First came some finches. I bought a pale grey zebra finch, Clovis, to replace my last male who flew away. I popped him in with Cora (or possibly it was Dora, Flora, Laura or Norah – it’s hard to tell those five sisters apart!) and very soon there were cheeping and beeping noises coming from the little wicker nest. A couple of weeks later the babies emerged, and I was delighted to see on almost-white finch, and another who was very pale. Pretty little things. They’re now in their own cage as some little brothers and sisters have arrived.

One of my hybrid turkeys (black crossed with red) disappeared for a while. I suspected she was on eggs but, despite a few attempts to track her down, couldn’t find her. There are plenty of places for a turkey to disappear into her surroundings in our fields and woods. I was just beginning to wonder if she’d become someone’s dinner when she appeared one afternoon with six turkeylets in tow. They’re a handsome brood with two pale yellow ones, two light brown ones and two dark brown ones. See for yourselves!

We rounded them up and put them into the bunker for safety. Turkeys aren’t great mothers, as we’ve learned the hard way, or at least mine haven’t been. They are likely to exhaust their babies by route-marching them here and there, and then leaving them behind when their poor little legs get too tired. So by restricting their movement, and giving them plenty of food that the other poultry can’t pinch off them, the chicks can quickly build up their strength. I’ve started letting the family out for an hour or two at a time so the babies can go exploring and mama can stretch her legs.

The third litter to arrive doesn’t have feathers. Rosie the Berkshire sow has had piglets. We weren’t sure for a while if she’d produce babies or not this year, not after her epic delivery of seventeen last year, and what with her and Oberon being middle-aged now. However, on Friday morning she didn’t come out for her breakfast so we went to investigate. And there she was in her sleeping quarters in the barn with four piglets. Over the next couple of hours three more arrived. Chris and I got busy constructing a fence to restrict Oberon to the bottom half of the field he’d been sharing with Rosie. She gets the end with accommoation. We’ll have to construct a new shelter for Obie this month. He has plenty of trees to provide cover, but he’ll need something with walls and a roof before it starts getting frosty.

The piglets are very sweet, as they always are. So a late wave of cuteness to brighten up the end of summer for us.