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Wednesday 22 May 2013

Chooks and clouds....

Love the cloud above, called (I'm reliably informed) cumulonimbus.  They are what you get hail showers from.... this I can verify with personal experience as we have had them on and off all day!  The cumulonimbus clouds are quite distinctive as they are always anvil shaped (thanks to Jeff Temple for that bit of info), and planes don't fly through them (so I am told by aa former air traffic controller!)  Anyway it looked amazing...till the hail shower arrived again..... now we have a gale blowing as well as hail showers, and it's decidedly chilly.

Tonight I'm trying to put out of my mind the disturbing events that took place in Woolwich, South-East London. It's an area I used to drive through regularly on the way to University and later to work. Shocking and disturbing and my thoughts are with the family of the soldier killed today.

So I gain solace even from hail because I saw the sun set tonight.  And because one of my young hens hatched a chick today.  She's a young hen so this is her first chick. And likely to be her last as I no longer keep a cockerel.  Though I may relent some time in the future. Cockerels are bonny birds and they keep the hens together. They act as a sentry and protect the hens. Given there are no real predators like foxes, mine don't need much protection (they just need to learn how to cross the road!) so it's not a problem. But I do notice the girls are out in twos or threes now instead of as a "flock".

Anyway, back to the wee chick. I don't know if it's male or female - fingers crossed it's female then it gets to live out it's life happily here.

And with proud mum.

Their new "home" is some straw in a fish box.  The hen had laid her eggs in the manger where the old horses would have been fed in the byre. I'd let her keep one egg when she went broody but removed all the others as I didn't want to be over-run with chicks.  But once hatched this wasn't a very safe place as it was quite high up. After a day or two the hen will encourage the chick to start exploring and it could end up landing on a hard flagstone floor!  So I made it a ground floor residence in this old fish box in a sheltered corner of the byre.  Usually the hens don't like where I make their new beds - clearly I'm not good at picking a perfect location for THEM. And sometimes they march their chicks right back where I have moved them from (last year among the nettles).  But I doubt the hen can get the chick up to the high rise nest so hopefully all will be well. Also hopefully she will know to stay close by it so nothing gets it (eg a marauding cat... Buttion is on strict instructions to leave alone as is Charlie the barn cat......yeah right....).

And if the photos are a bit blury I was taking them using my iPod while trying to manage a hen and chick!


  1. Today we had your hail showers, Sian, but with big black clouds not lovely white ones. :-) Your singleton chick is so swwet.

    I don't know Woolwich at all, but I can't imagine anyone being unmoved by yesterday's atrocity.

  2. Sweet chick. Hope it's a girl.

    Woolwich. Sometimes this world makes me sad.

  3. Cumulonimbus clouds pile up quite high. What gives them their "anvil" shape is when they rise up into the jet stream, which shears off their tops into the classic shape. The jet stream also sets up turbulence within the cloud and cools off the water vapor that gets up into it, which starts the formation of hailstones. We know all about them here on the Great Plains of the US. They are a very common cloud formation here. Not only do we get high winds and hail out of them, we also get tornadoes. It is so flat here that you can see them moving in from miles away, and have plenty of time to batten down the hatches before they get to you.

  4. Love your blog. Always good to hear people enjoying island life. We live on the isle of Arran and I write a daily blog xx