Sunday 16 June 2013

RIP Smudge

Smudge/Splodge was one of three Old English Game peeps I bred last year. The night it hatched it managed to fall out of the nest, and when I found it, it was cold and staggering drunkenly. I warmed it in my hands and put it back under its mother Tatty Tail, and it made a full recovery. We gave Smudge to a relative who wanted a pet cockerel to look after her hens, and he became something of a local celebrity in her village. Smudge and the hens were fully free-range, and he used to escort the hens up the road to the pub every day. I was today informed that while leaving the pub, the chickens were attacked by a fox and Smudge was killed in full sight of several people. Cocks are often thought of as vain, self-centred creatures, but they absolutely aren't. When a predator attacks, the cock stands his ground even when he stands no chance, so that his hens can live, and Smudge's sacrifice of himself is typical of the noble instincts of these male birds.

Coincidentally at around the same time, one of my Old English Game hens has gone missing. There is no evidence of a predator having taken her. I haven't checked the leg bands on the other two hens, but I suspect it is Tatty Tail, as she seems to be the expert on secret nests (she and Stabby and the daughter Stripe are pretty much indistinguishable). So perhaps there will be some more peeps in a couple of weeks' time.

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