Sunday, 15 January 2012
One Gold Duckwing Welsummer down
Yesterday was a beautiful winter's day, sunny, dry and cold. I spent the day dismantling the muck heap, removing the rotting wooden frames, starting a new heap with the unrotted layer and spreading the rest lightly over the unused poultry pen. All the time accompanied by the 'paddock flock' who took full advantage of a free meal, so many worms.
At 12.30pm I went home for lunch and to do a few chores before returning at 2.00pm. I noticed straight away one of the three Gold Duckwing Welsummer hens was missing. They were only moved to the paddock last weekend and always hung out together. I assumed she was in the house laying and not wanting to disturbed her, resisted the temptation to look. After an hour and with no sign of her emerging from the house I went to check. She wasn't there. I checked all the usual secret hide aways, all the hedgerows and the apiary, nothing.
The birds in the 'paddock flock' have free range of the paddock (hence their name) and the yard. Although they rarely do, they can also get into the churchyard, the adjoining field and the lane leading to the woods.
Guessing she had wander a little far a field to lay I waited until dark hoping she would return to roost, she didn't. Against all the odds I looked out for her this morning, hoping she had survived the night but there is no sign.
I am now down to two of the gold coloured Duckwing Welsummers, having just sold all last years pullets. I will put them in a fenced grass run to avoid any more losses and will set more eggs very soon.