Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cloud's (and mine) Trials and Tribulations

Sunday - 14.6.15 – I got up at 6am and Cloud was fine after her night in her nest. I took her out and fed her and put her in the conservatory with the other homies for about ¾ hour, but when Sultan was around I put her back in the hutch. He collected a few sticks and brought them in, but didn’t seem very enthusiastic about it and when the weather turned dull and gloomy by 8.30am he had gone away. Cloud sat in her nest and seemed fine, but she is not sitting on the egg, which is still covered up in the corner and so far hasn’t laid another. I really don’t think now this will all come to anything but you never know.
By lunchtime I had gone and collected my grandchildren and brought them back here. The afternoon was sunny, the kids played, the birds did their thing and I was able to keep an eye on all of them.  But the problem of what to do about the birds while I was away for the night was looming. This was what I decided to do, though it wasn’t ideal at all – leaving a lot of risk to the homies. I decided NOT to take Chino or Cissie with me, though I could’ve done I suppose - but to leave them in the conservatory for the rest of the afternoon, the night and til I got home. That was fine, as Chino can feed herself, and Cissie was fed before I left and had a pot of food to keep her amused even if she couldn’t pick up much of it – the problem there was how hot the conservatory might get before I got back. Hubbie checked the forecast for me and it wasn't due to get too warm. I left the roof window open, and the side window, and hubbie promised to leave the door into the house open but I  was still concerned, but nowhere else I could safely leave them – I didn’t want to leave them shut up in their small night boxes in the spare room. But the main problem was Cloud and her nest. According to the ‘book’ she would lay another egg in the afternoon, and in the morning Sultan, her mate, would want to come into the hutch. I took a massive risk, not seeing what else I could do – I shut her up when I left, having given her a good feed, and then asked hubbie to open up the hutch when he went to work  in the morning– thus allowing Sultan access. I also asked him to put up the gutter ladder so if Cloud went down, she could get up again. But obviously this arrangement was very risky for Cloud, leaving her and the egg/s open to predators, for several hours.
In the evening I didn’t need to worry about the birds, but by morning, and at the time I knew hubbie would’ve left for work,  I was very concerned but I just don’t see what else I could’ve done. The very worst terrible scenario would be that Chino and Cissie would over-heat and die in the conservatory, and poor Cloud would be caught by the hawk or something. The morning was chilly which was good, as far as I was concerned – I had to take my grandson to school, then my grand-daughter to nursery – then go back to the school for grandson’s sports day because my daughter and son-in-law couldn’t be there. They’d asked me to have the kids overnight before Christmas so they could go away for their anniversary, and of course they didn’t know when they booked their break that the school would have sports day on the Monday – and Cloud having an egg was something I had never had to consider before! Anyway....after it all, I was driving home just before noon, and by then it was very sunny and I was imagining the conservatory like an oven..... I screeched into the yard, jumped out of the car and rushed into the garden. Cloud was there – alive and well, thank God – sitting on the dropped down part of Chino’s section of the hutch. I had a quick peek in the nest-box, Sultan was inside, but there was a sticky mess in the main part of the hutch – a smashed egg! I then ran to the conservatory but hubbie had remembered and left the door to the house open, so though it was warm it wasn’t like an oven and Chino and Cissie were both fine. They have boxes inside their crates for shelter and shade. Obviously, I took them both outside straightaway – and in retrospect I really think I should’ve taken them with me, however awkward.
Once they were settled I went back to feed Cloud and investigate the hutch. She obviously HAD laid another egg, as I could see one under Sultan but one had definitely been taken – probably by the jackdaws – the runny sticky yolk was in the hutch – and there were pieces of shell in the raised bed.

I was not surprised..... and felt one egg was a small price to pay for my homies being ok, but I wish there had been another way. Later on, when neither bird was on the nest in the hutch I was able to check the egg – it was the first egg laid as I drawn a little cross on it. I would’ve preferred that egg to be taken and the second one left, as I felt the second one had more chance. When my flightless dove Jose and her mate Happy laid eggs in the (old) hutch, the first egg was stolen, and Jose went on to lay two more (but only hatched one) so I am wondering if Cloud will lay another to compensate for the loss. I doubt if the egg with the cross on will hatch.... I would be amazed if it does.
Of course, Cloud and Sultan’s nest is very interesting but we have Lucky and Lottie’s nest too, in the cote, with eggs due to hatch around the 21st. Their first egg together came to nothing, so I am really hoping they do better this time.
In the afternoon, I had the gutter ladder up and Cissie went up and down,very interested in the nest and the egg – but I seem to feel that she disturbs Cloud and Sultan, and in the end I had to remove the ladder and leave her down. The situation is awkward enough without her interference though I feel sorry for her as I believe that after her girlie relationship with Cloud, and a few matings with Sultan that she thinks this is her egg too!
Tues. 16.6.15 – Early this morning, when Cloud appeared in the main part of the hutch, I took her out to do her morning poop (which is enormous) and feed her. I checked the egg when I put her back, and either she had moved it out of the stick nest onto the towel part, or it had rolled itself but it was stone cold – but an hour or so later on she had moved it under her again. If she was to lay another egg, I suppose it would be late afternoon/early evening today.
I wanted to go out in the morning, but I had to wait for Sultan to come in for nest duty. Lucky came down for a drink – which he always does prior to taking over in the nest and then went into the cote at 10.00am and I hoped Sultan would follow suit. He came down to the raised bed, also had a drink, fiddled around and then went back to the roof. I got on with chores in the kitchen, keeping one eye on the window, and eventually at 10.45am he flew to the raised bed – so I went out to open the hutch for him. He picked up a stick and flew in – a bit like a husband late home from work with ‘sorry’ flowers!  I waited to see what would happen, but soon Cloud emerged into the day part of the hutch, having swapped with Sultan, so I made sure it was shut up safe and was free to go out! Although I don’t think this first egg – laid last Friday – has any chance of hatching, I can’t know this for sure but it has been treated very haphazardly. But I don’t want to stop the birds doing their thing – and if another egg is laid that might be the one to hatch.
In the early afternoon, I released Cloud from the hutch and also Cissie and Chino from their confines. It was perfectly obvious that Cissie wanted to be up in the hutch – she kept craning her head and making little unsuccessful jumps to try to get up there. It’s sad to watch her, but as I said before the situation is complicated enough. I am hoping she will soon forget about it.
I wondered how long nest duty would last – I need to know so I can plan my days. Sultan came out at 4.10pm, having done just under five and a half hours on the nest. Lucky came out of his nest a minute or two after. Later, Sultan wanted to go in again – and did another short session on the nest from 6.00-6.28pm.
Loretta, Solo’s mother, has returned – I’ve seen her here the last few days. And my Autumn, who was here regularly for a while, has gone off again.
Wed. 17.6.15- My youngest daughter has now been married a full calendar month – where did the time go? This morning I was a bit disappointed that there was no replacement egg for the one that was stolen. Cloud had obviously been sitting all night on the egg as it was warm.
Thurs.18.6.15 – Sultan’s routine is a bit restrictive for me. He likes to go in around 11am and today wanted to come out early at 3.30pm – then he likes to go in again for a while. Today it was 5.12pm -6.12pm. I do feel I must be mad trying to help these two as I am convinced the egg won’t hatch.
Fri.19.6.15 – Today was very exasperating.  I wanted to go out as soon as Sultan arrived, which I hoped would be shortly after 11am, but I waited and waited and he didn’t turn up. Poor Cloud wandered out into the main part of the hutch at 11.40am, but as he wasn’t there, she had to go back again. She’d been sitting all night of course, and her only break had been about 6.30am when she’d probably heard the flock, and come out, like she usually does at the moment, so I’d taken her out to do her poop on the patio and hand-feed her quickly before back to the egg. So Cloud and I were both waiting impatiently and I’d pretty well given up on what I wanted to do in the morning – and eventually Sultan came into the hutch, which I’d left invitingly open – just to eat! And then he went out again! The other two homies were out in the garden so at 12.10 I let Cissie have her heart’s desire and put the gutter ladder up, which she scooted up quickly, so she could be with the egg – which she has a great interest in. She went into the nestbox and Cloud wasn’t too sure, but wasn’t too upset, and basically I was thinking well if Cissie sits on the egg then at least someone is, and Cloud can have a break! But while the two females were deciding what to do......I pinched the egg, and candled it. It was laid a week ago, and, if there was a developing baby in it, I would’ve expected to see a bit more vein development, but all I could see was a vague pinkiness and pale yellowishness. I put it back anyway and I could see that it was obvious that Cissie wasn’t going to sit on it, but I left her in there with Cloud anyway..... and then Sultan came in... and seemed surprised to find Cissie in the nestbox! So I removed her and by 12.30 he was doing his nest-duty. This sort of time is most inconvenient for me! I can just about cope with 11am, though 10am would be better. I was very nearly at the point of taking the egg away, but I don’t want Cloud to be upset, and of course I can’t be absolutely positive at this stage that it won’t develop – though I am nearly sure! Anyway, I then went out and Sultan stayed on the egg til 5.10pm. The last three days he has sat approx 6 hours, 5 hours 50 mins, 5 hours 30 mins and today 4 hours 40 mins so getting shorter by the day. When you think that there are 24 hours to egg-sit, then you can see that poor Cloud is doing far more than her fair share! – and all for an egg that won’t hatch..... I don’t know what to do for the best.

Sat 20.6.15 – After Sultan had done his nest duty, I devised a method which allowed Cissie to be ‘king’ in the hutch and defend it against all comers, but keeping her (and them) away from Cloud and the egg. Cissie was so proud, she loved it! - strutting up and down.

The grille and the brick prevent her getting in to Cloud on the egg

 She was so feisty the only one who dared to go in and get some food was Sultan. I can’t see much point in taking the egg away from Cloud as then they would probably just start over – and we have some events coming up that are going to mean I will be away for a full day so probably better they sit on a dud egg than that a good one gets stolen or something.
At the end of the day I wondered if Lucky and Lottie’s babies had hatched. There were no shells around, but I saw Lottie doing – I think! – the chucking up motion that means she is feeding. This is very pronounced when the birds are feeding bigger squabs but this was very gentle, so maybe they have hatched! I am so excited and pleased, and do hope all is ok. Solo was hatched on 28th March 15 and I’ve been waiting since then for more babies! I had marked them down to hatch tomorrow but it is perfectly possible they hatched late today. Ooh!
Sunday 21st June 2015 – the longest day, and the day my poor little Yorkshire Terrier died 5 years ago. Rest in Peace darling. He was such a sweetheart and I do miss him greatly.
I went to a car boot but was back before 11am for Sultan – who then proceeded to keep me and patient Cloud waiting until 1.28pm precisely before he went to sit on the poor doomed egg!  Earlier on, I had taken both the egg and Cloud, under my arm, into the kitchen to candle it again. She seemed interested in the proceedings!  There did seem more to see than when I candled it 2 days ago and having so little experience I wouldn’t like to take it away in case it was viable. I wish I knew for sure!
Lottie came out of the cote at the early feed – she only does this when she sees me throwing food in the raised bed close to the cote. I zipped up the steps and saw one tiny blonde baby and one unhatched egg – but of course it may have hatched by now. I am delighted that there is at least one new baby anyway.

*** I am always forgetting to mention my Feather Shop. In case you didn't know I sell dove feathers, and many other real birds feathers in my Groovycart shop called Real Birds Feathers. Do have a look if it's of interest -  Real Birds Feathers online shop It's actually doing well at the moment and recently I have supplied feathers for a medieval arrow making scene in a film, for a lady making a natural wind-vane, to a school for lessons, to a milliner for an old-fashioned military style hat and white dove feathers for a funeral - plus many more ***. The photo below is of a Sebastopol Goose - they are unusual long ribbony feathers - for sale in the shop!

Sebastopol Goose - feathers in online shop Real Birds Feathers

Sultan came out at 5.50pm after 4 hours 20 mins on the nest. This means that Cloud is doing NINETEEN hours 40 mins on the egg at the moment! I feel so sorry for her, and really am in a terrible quandary about it all and wish we hadn’t started!
Monday 22.6.15 -  Cloud didn’t come out into the hutch part at the early feed so I went and collected her from the nest – the egg had either been pushed or rolled out again and was cold. This is the second time this has happened and I don’t know if it is deliberate on Cloud’s part or an accident. This time I didn’t put it in the main nest part but left it where it was on the side. I let Cloud to her big morning ‘hen poo’, fed her  and put her back – and a couple of hours later when I checked her, the egg appeared to be under her again. It’s a bit of play egg this one!
Lottie came out of the cote and so I was able to check her nest. It is very deep and quite hard to see into – good for the baby as it is nice and snug. There was still only one baby and the egg – which I should think doesn’t have a chance if it doesn’t hatch soon. The first egg was def in the nest on Tue 2nd  June and the second by Thurs 4th June so 2 days difference which is normal I think so maybe it will hatch. If not, we will have another singleton, like Solo, and I will have to think of another name – I had already thought of names for ‘twins’.

Cloud made the most of the lovely sunny afternoon and her limited free time off the nest

 She wandered lonely as a Cloud!
 Then came to the step.....
 to peck in the crevices, as many of the birds like to do!

Tuesday 23.6.15 – Cloud’s egg was rolled out and cold again this morning. It really is a dud but I am reluctant to take it away from her as I don’t know how she will react or feel. She went back to it after I’d fed her, which makes me think she still wants it.
Lottie came out and again I checked – still no hatching with the other egg, but one sweet little baby is good. I must try to get a photo next time.

Below, some of the pigeons sit around in the grass - which they like to do in June - and Cloud, to the right, preens.

In the afternoon, I decided to take the bull by the horns and ring Lottie, as it is so awkward not knowing for sure my mummy dove, unless I actually see her fly out of the cote. So when I was sure it was her on the nest and I’d seen Lucky out and about, I crept softly and out of sight to the steps, and once I could reach blocked the entrance with my hand and brought her out. She struggled of course and I felt terrible but it’s for her ultimate good! I put a pale pink ring on her right foot and then took her straight back. She went in right to the back to get over the stress, but didn’t fly out and away which is a good sign – she must recognise me after all.
Sultan went in at 11am – much earlier than the last few days – and wanted out at 1.40pm. Cloud had of course then to go back in – though of course she is not forced to sit on the egg!

Once Sultan had come off the nest, he immediately continued his growing interest in Cissie. And both of them 'defended' the nest - as you can see below a jackdaw is waiting his chance to get at the food bowls.

 Then there were two - one on the open door of the hutch, the other on the raised bed
 And eventually they get in - but Cloud is blocked in with the grille and therefore safe from attack - and they would!

At about 3pm when I wanted to feed Cissie and Cloud, I knew where Cloud was and could see Chino, but couldn’t see Cissie anywhere. Hmmm...... guess where I found her? Yes, the faithless Sultan and  Cloud’s former lesbo-friend Cissie were huddled up together in Chino’s box!!! Chino stood on top - see her little feet -  and tried to ignore them. The plot thickens!

 And while this intrigue was going on, Cloud sat unsuspectingly in her nest

Sometime later when Cissie was out again, I fed her, and also had to take Cloud away from her egg to feed her too.  Hubby had a look at the egg (candled) and said it was definitely a dud – well I knew it, and probably Sultan does too. This is what it looked like candled.

Dud pigeon egg - candled day 10/11

I didn’t replace the dud egg  but gave Cloud a plastic one instead – since the egg is not going to hatch it doesn’t really matter what she sits on and I wanted to see what was inside the egg. Today is day 11 – or could be day 10 depending on when you count from – I expect Cloud will give up on the ‘egg’ herself soon, but if not I will let her do the full time..... I suppose.....I just don’t know. And now it looks like Sultan is starting again with Cissie!  The ‘nest’ this time will be Chino’s box in the lower section of the hutch, which, fortunately, Chino never uses, except to stand on. I put it in there to give her a hiding place, but she never goes in it. I will allow the love-birds to make a nest in it if they choose but of course it is far more unsafe than the top part of the hutch and I couldn’t really allow Cissie to stay in it all night. I will make it a bit more cosy tomorrow by taking the brick out and putting a bit of carpet inside a removable small box or something – then if she did lay an egg I would just have to pick up the whole thing with her inside it on the egg, and put it in the hutch for the night if Cloud is no longer sitting – or maybe bring it in the house.....??? I will cross that bridge when I come to it. But I couldn’t leave Cissie in that lower part – a fox might decide to dig a tunnel underneath! Cissie wanted to stay in it tonight I think, but I brought her in at 6.10pm and poor Sultan sat around on the roof til 7.30pm wondering where she had gone! I didn’t feel too sorry for him – I even saw him mating with Chino today too – where does he get the time? Oh yes, I know, he doesn’t do full duty on the egg!

 Feeding time on the island
 Below, Lucky - my daddy bird - who's got a brand new baby then?

 To be cont......


Fennie said...

It is strange that when you have so many doves and pigeons that only one pair at a time seems to be breeding. I know there have been times when you have had two nests going at the same time and now you have Cloud, but I don't think this disproves the generality of what I am saying.

hopeinparis said...

Great post, Faith. Sultan and his harem are quite amazing. It would be nice if one of the homies could raise a baby, wouldn't it? xx

shirley said...

lovely post

shirley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faith said...

Well Fennie, I presume the general flock have nests all round the local area - in fact I pass one when I drive out, and recognise the birds on it. Lucky puts off other doves interested in nesting in the cote and there isnt anywhere else here the birds could nest - except now the hutch.

Yes, Jane, it would be great!

Thanks, Shirley, glad you like my posts.