A storm approaches

The weather was awful last week. It’s probably the worst storm I can remember. Gales, rain and snow hit Scotland and the north east of England. I was awake all that night worrying about my animals and constantly checking outside. Thousands of people are still without power a week later. I know how awful it is to be without power for a few days after my flood. Trying to keep warm during a very cold winter is draining. You can feel your health being sapped away. I just hope those still without power get it back on soon.

This power outage map from the website of the Northern power grid shows how devastating the power outage was for the North East this week.

I was in the woodland and noticed my white little bantam hens were in the farmer’s field next door. I desperately tried to climb over the cattle fencing and barbed wire as the hens seemed to be wandering even further away. Mally told me to leave them as he was sure they would come back. He said he thought they’d probably been doing this for weeks. I wasn’t so sure. However, by bedtime all hens were accounted for and safely tucked up in their coops. There is no danger of this happening again soon as all non-wild birds including pets have been placed in lockdown again this year by the government. A few bird flu outbreaks across the country has meant that all birds must now be inside or under cover. Last year this lasted for four months. The gang are not happy, especially the turkeys. We had to buy a 6metre poly tunnel to put them in due to their size. They are not amused!

Erecting the poly tunnel. Still a few extras to go in to make the turkeys enforced flockdown bearable

A new addition to the flock last week…a wild cockerel. A group of young cockerels had been dumped in some nearby woods. A young lady who walked up there everyday noticed them and has tried desperately for months to capture them. We all tried so hard but they just ran into thorny bushes and over fields when we approached. Anyway, the lady has been carefully feeding them everyday trying to gain their trust. Over time only one cockerel was left. Just a few hours before the storm started on Friday, the cockerel approached her and she was able to capture him in a dog crate. Maybe he sensed the approaching storm and thought he’d like to be indoors on this one. Success after four months of dedication by this lady!

The wild cockerel was brought to me…I’ve now named him Loftus as he was found in Loftus woods. I placed him in a covered isolation run on his own to assess his health. However, the turkeys decided they didn’t like the look of this new guy and by the time I had returned to the run with food they had given him a good slap. They had managed to poke through the netting with their beaks. Blood was pouring down his face. I quickly grabbed him and brought him into the house. I held a towel against his wounds and sat by the fire. I was devastated and felt like the worst person on the planet. This lady had spent months gaining the trust of this lad and I’d let my naughty turkeys assault him. I was sure he was going to die. How was I going to explain this!! However, the bleeding stopped quickly, I cleaned his wounds and placed him on a heat pad. He was completely fine as if nothing had happened. He’s been in the house with us for the past week and has been singing us awake with the song of his people at 6am every morning. He also decided he liked camping out in front of my tumble dryer for some reason.

Loftus in his favourite spot

Loftus has now moved up into his brand new coop and run with two of my hens as company. He’s safe from the turkeys as they are all in flockdown now!

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