Young Eric has now reached the impressive age of six months. I cannot tell, what that is the equivalent to, in human years, but I would guess older than a toddler and younger than someone who should know better.
We all have an idea where our Eric is at any time, when he is indoors. He can very seldom stay quiet for more than a minute and there is usually someone telling him off. He still bobs along on his long legs and his huge feet, being everyone's friend. The problem is that he has inherited his father’s bad habit of nipping the poor hens in the neck. He has a huge beak so it must hurt a lot. This means the hens scream at him to get lost before Monty turns up. There then follows an almighty gallop through the stable, over any obstacle in their way, through food bowls and once I saw them collide with a sheep. (That was in no way a popular thing to have happened).
Monty responds to a call for help, which is understandable, only Eric nips a lot so the gallop is turning in to a regular feature of the day. This has now made both cockerels lose some weight and that's never good in the winter months, when extra fat is welcomed, for warmth. Lina has lost all interest in both of them and withdrawn to safety, looking a bit poorly, poor hen. Darya and I have taken her in to our “special breakfast" club, and she thanks us by turning on Darya. Hens are odd at times but at least Lina eats more, again. Darya can always sit on my arm for a while and supervise my work. There's plenty of food for everyone and she knows that, now.
So he is a bit of a conundrum, young Eric. We love him to bits but he needs to stop being the Tigger of our henhouse. ( Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, if someone is wondering. The bouncing, the constant optimism...) Eric also needs to stop nipping, as the hens are so much smaller than him. He has grown into a handsome young male with his fathers colouring and specs of gold here and there, a gift from his mother Pippi. We would love to keep him but I fear Monty can only take so much, before he sends him packing. The funny thing is that they are best friends when they take a break from jogging. Side by side they wander around, finding food for the hens and generally just chilling. Then Eric nips a hen and all starts again.
I got Waldemar, Eric's father to stop this horrible habit by throwing a mitten at him, every time I saw him nip. This resulted in him always looking up after doing something a bit silly but he stopped pecking hens. Throwing a mitten at Eric sends him into orbit and you think the police will turn up at any time. He does not see the connection of the nip and the No! - bless him. We live in hope, though.
There is a nice family that might take him on in the spring. That was before reading this, so we will see... No, joke aside, what Eric will soon need is his own team of hens that will put him in his place. Our lot have seen him grow up and know his mother. When needs be, Pippi protects him although he is soon double her size. And that's the thing; we forget that he is still very young, just very tall for his age.
When Pippi takes a sand bath young Eric sits on the edge of the box keeping her company. It's the nicest thing to watch and you can hear them talking. It's also the only time young Eric uses a softer voice, with no tooting; his special time with his mother... And to think, most hens and cockerels never know their parents. That is also why we try to keep everyone at home, as happy as we can manage. Having to explain to Pippi that her son can be a bit of a nuisance would not be an easy task! A mothers love....
Gorillas are known for being the "best mothers" of the animal kingdom. They protect and nurse their baby's for up to four years and the whole gorilla community helps out. Maybe that's the solution to our little conundrum. All hands to the pump, so to speak! Lina will love that one...
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.