Monty arrived to our henhouse this summer, a young, shy but extremely beautiful cockerel. Being a teenager amongst a group of old ladies can't have been a treat, but thankfully we had Dimi and Darya here from his childhood home. From day one, they formed a team that took on the world. Their world seemed to be a old apple tree and four sheep, but they made the most of it.
Monty was and still is, very frightened of our older hens. He can come shooting around a corner with speed, tooting that they are after him. At first I used to shoot the opposite way, thinking the fox was after him but now I know. One of the hens had looked at him! Just by staring, the hens can make dear Monty disappear into the woods. Dimi and Darya are helping him become a little bit braver but it is a slow uphill walk. Maybe one day...
So Monty got fed from his own food bowl right from the beginning. And it had to be behind my back so that I could keep the scary hens away from him, while he ate. It was either that or little Monty would have stayed just that, very little.
Now he has grown in size and can hang out with everyone, but one look and he is off. He has started to sound like a grown up cockerel too. At first he sounded like Tarzan, then we had a time of sounding like he was trapped under a sheep but now the teenage voice is starting to carry him far and wide. We had a worrying time when he experimented with a morning call from the high apple tree. The problem was that Monty gave his all and forgot to hold on. So first there was the sound of the ape boy and then an almighty thump when our brave cockerel fell down from the tree. This continued for some time, until Dimi and Darya stepped in and showed him our huge garden chair John had built. Monty got less bruises after that and my headache got better. The sheep were happy too as they could have their morning rest, without cockerels dropping from the sky.
Because we gave Monty extra time and love, he has now become the nicest of birds. He always greets you when you turn up and he loves a small chat and a nibble of corn, first thing in the morning. He is growing up fast but he still wants to sleep in his own bed, next to the sheep far away from the old ladies. And he wants Dimi and Darya close by, just in case. Moving to a new home can be stressful but a few friends around and some really kind sheep helps a lot.
Monty also loves to ride around on a broad sheep, standing tall and feel the wind in his feathers. Hanging on to a sheep is also easier so we can all breath normally. I do think of windmills when he rides past, though..
Text by Nina
Next blog post 27th September.
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A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.