Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A holiday for the homies.........The cote doves are surprising........an old favourite returns

29.3.14 - Cissie is top bird in this photo while Cloud relaxes in the run - they are both getting used to spending some time in here most days.

 Look what I've found! - Cloud has also now discovered that if she walks to the top of the run-way, there's a little house!

 30.3.14 - Mothering Sunday and my beautiful youngest daughter was taking me out for an afternoon surprise, so I had arranged to take Cloud and Cissie to their holiday home in the morning. Cloud grumbled in the car  - she'd never been in the car before...well neither had Cissie of course! I hated to leave my birds, but I knew they would be in good hands - here is Caroline with Cloud at Surrey Poultry - Holiday home for poultry - and my pidgies!
 John arranged my birds' accommodation by stapling chicken mesh so they both have their own space, but can see each other. I put their night boxes inside, a brick to perch on and their water bowls. Cloud hid in her box for a while, but then ventured out, and both seemed reasonably content.
 I showed Caroline how to hand feed them, which she found tricky, and it's been so long since I first started hand-feeding pigeons that I have forgotten that I must have been all fingers and thumbs too in the beginning. I hope she will get the hang of it, or feeding times will take ages.
 Stunning feathers on this calm cockerel
 The hens have the advantage of freedom here
 With their own houses - apparently they know where they live and run to their own little homes when it's time to be shut in for the night. While I was there Caroline was feeding a treat - grapes! - to one ex-battery hen who is a special favourite and now reached the age of 7 years, so beginning to be quite an old lady! Though it has been known for chickens to live up to 20 years.

Later on, Caroline sent a text to say that the second feed was fine, she and John did one bird each and took them into to the sunshine outside the main barn to feed which was kind of them and the birds seemed to enjoy. Apparently Cloud went into her night box of her own accord and they put Cissie in before they shut the barn and left for the night. I was so relieved to get the text and know that my homies were ok.

Mon 31st  March - When I left, Snow White and Lucky were fighting for the cote, and Charm saw off Star Light. Well, off to Butlins now and leaving them to get on with it!

Butlins - There were still a few white doves and pigeons around, but didnt see as many as last year. The seagulls are very bold and wait near the outside cafes and restaurants to grab any leftovers. My daughter had a shock as one swooped down beside her when her back was turned to nick a piece of the children's left over ham!

Friday 4th April 14  – When I collected Cloud and Cissie from the Surrey Poultry Farm, I saw that Caroline had put a  sign on their accommodation saying ‘Cloud and Cissie, special needs, holiday girls’ and a smiley face! Apparently they created some interest with people asking if they were now selling doves as well as chickens and ducks. My birds seemed to recognise me and be pleased to see me, and I was grateful for the care they had received. Caroline and John said they fed them outside so they could see what was going on in the yard, and let them stay to enjoy the sunshine in their little night boxes for a couple of hours. The cost was £24 for the two – Sunday to Friday.
At home I allowed them a longer time than usual in the garden - here they are out on the path

 And later snoozing in the conservatory - there's no place like home!

Sat 5th – It was pleasantly quiet to be feeding my early morning birds again after the hubbub at Butlins. Big Boy was there and coping even better than before I went away – needs must perhaps! Lucky and Charm were there, and Snow White, but I didn’t see Star Light. Grace turned up too, and so I felt happy - I don’t think there were any losses while I was away. Hubbie and the Surrey Ark girls had managed the feeding schedule well between them. I do fuss about my birds - of course they manage perfectly well without me!

I had thought that maybe one of the two pairs - Lucky/Charm and Snow White/Star Light would be nesting by the time I got back, but there was no sign of it. Star Light turned up for a late morning feed - you'll have to come earlier than this SL, I'm often out by now!

Later, I could see two doves cosying up in the front nestbox....... but who?

 They look very much in love!

But as I observed them something seemed to be odd though I wasnt quite sure what.... until I saw Lucky in the back nestbox..... have Snow White and Star Light taken over then?

SW flew out and I could see his rings so I knew it was definitely him. Hubbie says Snow White is a 'girls' name but SW is not Snow White from the Seven Dwarves, he is just the perfect snow white dove!
 SW on top of the cote, with his female inside
 Snow White has pink round his eyes
 SW on the hedge
 When the female came out of the cote, you could've knocked me down with one of her feathers.....it was CHARM!!!!  This is most, most unusual.... you can see how lovey-dovey they were in the photos above, and yet her mate, Lucky, was right there in the back of the cote, and doves and pigeons usually mate for life and only find a new partner when the other dies or disappears - as Snow White had found Star Light after poor Rose Red was killed. 

Here's SW, left, and Charm on the table together......
 And Charm looking perfectly charming, and not the faithless creature (and hopeless mother!) she really is.....I have not forgiven her for the deaths of the poor little squabs hatched in January. Oh Snow White, you don't know what you are getting yourself into!
 Poor unloved and unlucky-Lucky stayed in the back of the cote
What is going to happen? Why is SW no longer with SL? (maybe she didnt like being married...we've all been there, darling!) Did Charm entice SW away and will they stay together? Did Lucky fight for Charm ... and lose? Well she is no loss really Lucky....the worst dovie mother I have had in the cote, I'm afraid. Below, the three menage a trois doves....

Later, as it grew dusk a few pigeons turned up with the lovely bonded pair, Mr. Strong and Frances - and Mr. and Mrs. Woodie duck came too.

 Mr. Woodie seemed rather agitated and kept quacking - hurry up Mrs. I want to get home!
 Frances stood up in a funny manly way - maybe her dinner wasnt going down well

Sunday 6.4.14 - Star Light didn't turn up at all today that I saw, and the other three carried on as before, with bewildered Lucky having done nothing wrong, but now shunned by Charm who flaunted her new love in front of him!

 Here on the roof is Charm, low right and SW above right, with probably Lucky behind but I can't see his markings. The pigeon is, I think, one of the pair I called 'the seagull twins' in the summer.

 Snow White mates with Charm

 And then Lucky - if it is him! - and \SW chase her down the roof
 It's a sorry situation for Lucky, but he doesnt give up and if Charm does evenutally lay I wouldnt put money on who's the daddy

There was a mouse in the airing cupboard - sigh! just where you don't want a mouse! - and as Bertie was around I thought he could catch it for me....so I went to look for him. For a split second, when I looked out the kitchen door I thought 'How convenient, there he is'....sitting in the door way of the shed kitchen, but then I realised it wasnt him! It was our adopted cat Loopy, that we had from our neighbours in May 2012 when they moved abroad. We tried to settle Loopy in, but she escaped after 3 days and has lived feral ever since - and we hardly ever see her, though she slinks into the shed kitchen each night for food. What a surprise! She looks well. if slightly grumpy, and is no way as pretty as Bertie. When I gently opened the door to speak softly to her, she dashed away across the garden.

Again, at dusk Mr. Strong and Frances came - the only birds in the garden
And in a blur....gone!

Mon 7.4.14 – Started off the morning as before with Snow White and Charm in the front box together and Lucky at the back, but by 11am Lucky had gone, and SW was sometimes on the top of the cote or on the hedge, seeming to be hovering around, waiting. 

Is Charm getting ready to lay? My stress is just beginning.....

Star Light didn’t turn up again – maybe she's frightened of Charm!

Tues 8.4.14 – Much the same with the ménage a trois doves, but something really special happened at the morning feed – Autumn was there! In case you have forgotten, Autumn was hatched in my cote, with her sibling Spring, at the end of July ’12 and is unmistakeable with one yellow and one red ring. She is now my oldest surviving ‘baby’ (that I see anyway) at 1 year 9 months old. I haven’t seen her for weeks and weeks – the last time I made a note of it on my dovie calendar was January 10th – I also saw Destiny then (who is another of my cote babies grown-up) but she is still on the missing list. Welcome back Autumn, have as many peanuts as you like! It’s wonderful to know that some of the doves are able to find enough food, living away from the garden, but remember us and come back to visit occasionally. Autumn (and Spring) were Sky and Summer’s third set of babies. I am looking back over my blogs and compiling family trees as I don’t want to forget any of my cote babies.

To be cont.....


Fennie said...

Well, what exciting times! It's good to know that the doves come back and you can be writing now to all the pigeon encyclopaedias telling them the story of Lucky, Charm and Snow White. Will they have three babies, I wonder. Plucky, Flirt and Snow Down.

Faith said...

With Charm as a mother, SW will be 'lucky' to have ANY babies!!!

hopeinparis said...

It's turns out Charm is very well named :-) Isn't it fun to observe all the personalities? Thanks for a lovely posting, Faith. xx