Eric has left the building!
On Easter Monday Eric moved to his new home, about an hours drive from our place. Two very surprised hens moved as well and although it was a bit unfair to uproot them, it felt the right thing to do. Our young cockerel would never have settled down alone in a new, still empty henhouse and our hens take things in their stride. They turn three years old this spring so they know a thing or two about life. We also knew by now that Eric would not be happy with us anymore, as every time he made a louder noise or approached a hen, Monty came screaming around the corner. Not a nice way to live! On Sunday night Eric crashed into the back of my head, trying to land next to a hen, sitting on my shoulder. He felt that at least there he would be safe to flirt with a hen without Monty interfering. He missed the landing and it felt like being hit by a football with claws. We were all slightly startled by that attempt.
Moving day was a bit of an ordeal as an hour before our friends were to arrive to collect them, all our hens decided to start laying eggs. This meant a lot of shuffling about, deciding where to make a temporary nest, a lot of calling for the cockerels and just general mayhem. Eric started going a hundred and ten around the place as Darya the hen was occupied elsewhere and could not hang out with him. Our lovely sheep just stared and I think they did some packing of their own.
It's interesting to watch when people who really know animals and work daily in an environment where animals are loved, enter our little stable. Monty is usually the first to start flying around when visitors arrive. This time he just stood watching Eric and left the creating of a chaotic situation to him. The real difference is with our four sheep. They are shy and weary of new people but now they just took a collective step forward and asked how everyone was doing this noise filled afternoon. The youngest lady of the party almost left for home with our sheep, instead of hens and a cockerel. It's easy when you know how....
After the first few slightly miserable attempts to catch dear Eric we managed and off they drove to their new life. The stable became so quiet; you could hear a feather drop to the floor. I just let all the animals outside for a while and they wondered around looking for their friends. Pippi, Eric's mother looked everywhere but soon started pecking away as usual. She stopped spending time with her son a few weeks ago, when all the fighting began between the cockerels. Maybe that was Eric growing up, leaving home, so to speak?
A few hours later the phone rang and our friends told us about happy hens and how well everyone had settled in. They did not need to tell me about Eric (they did anyway as they are kind people) but I could hear him in the background. He was telling all and everyone that he had arrived, nattering away about his new home, the food and all he could see through the window. Hens close by and new friends, Eric was a happy-chappy and an adventure had begun for them in a beautiful, new home.
Darya slept in her normal place, that night, no Eric to keep her company but her dear sheep around her. It will take a few days and then Monty will be back there with her, like it used to be. Spring is here and our first new neighbours have arrived from warmer countries. Doves cooing in the trees and we are knee deep in slightly thin looking blackbirds. Two very surprised geese are on the field, clearly feeling they arrived at the party a bit too early. We feed all and everyone and welcome them back.
Migrating birds use the sun, stars and landmarks, to name a few factors, to help their navigation. The Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus), fly over the Himalayan Mountains in eight hours, on their way from Mongolia to India. They fly during the night, all on their own muscle strength with no Sherpas to help out. I find that to be an impressive achievement.
There is still some snow to melt away on the lawns, but a happy summertime to you all. It seems that we made it through another winter so well done, all of us.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.