Sometimes I wonder if people ask themselves why I keep a blog. I don’t update it very often, but it is not for lack of desire to do so. Life in the orchard has been mundane for the past few weeks. The chicks are growing, the hens are laying, the days are getting longer, and warmer, and the roosters are crowing and not a lot else is happening, so I don’t have much to write about.
We have lovely fat hens who have come through the winter nicely. I added steam flaked oats to their diet every few days as they go up to roost and this seems to have stood them in good stead for the cooler nights so they have kept the condition on that they gained after the moult. All of them feel solid and heavy and their flesh is firm when I handle them.
This afternoon, I spent time trimming back the toenails of my black bantam Wyandottes. It will not be long now, and they will be back to a nicely manageable condition. They had been allowed to grow quite long in their last home, to the extent that a couple of the middle toes had twisted sideways but they are coming back nicely. Because they were so long, the quicks were also very long, so it has been a slow process of trim, wait a week or two for the quick to recede, and then trim again. If they were on a cement floor they would wear them back naturally, but I keep them in a dirt floored run, so it is up to me to work towards nice, trim nails for them. One good thing about this, is the extra handling has tamed them quite a lot.
I’ve yet to learn how to trim spurs on the rooster. I’ve seen various ways of doing it demonstrated on YouTube, but I am really nervous about doing it. I might have to see if I can find a friend who has an angle grinder to grind them for me as that has the added advantage of cauterizing the stump as it goes. I am worried that I will cause it to bleed and lose my rooster in the process!
There are a few ways to do this job, and I have posted some videos below in case anyone else is wondering how it is done.