Tag Archives: chicken

An Eyeballing

An Eyeballing

I chucked some branches of cotoneaster horizontalis* in with the chickens. The branches were covered in berries and I thought it might be nice to sit and draw the chickens pecking the berries, everything outside being so frozen it wasn’t muddy for once.

No sooner had I started than Tiberius came up and gave me a through eyeballing. At close range, and while seated practically on the ground, this is a disconcerting look to receive from a large cockerel. I drew him instead.

An Eyeballing

An Eyeballing by Tiberius, a fine Light Sussex Cockerel

*cotoneaster horizontalis… it’s one of those plant names I love because it just trips off the tongue is such a nice way: coton-e-aster hori-zon-talis. Try it 🙂

Tiberius the Cockerel, with two of his wives

Tiberius Tyrrol

Our new cockerel, Tiberius Tyrrol, and two of his wives. He has a variety of wives but it was getting dark, so I could only draw the white ones – the other chickens were beginning to merge into the background. A brief sketch,  but Cat-of-the-day has been distracted of late, so I wanted to get something in. Apologies to the wives, I don’t know their names. They have them, but only Tony knows them all.

Tiberius the Cockerel, with two of his wives

Tiberius the Cockerel, with two of his wives

Vladimir the cockerel

R.I.P. Vladimir, a psycho sadly missed… 30th June

Cat-of-the-day would like to note the passing of a one Vladimir, magnificent cockerel and in chicken years probably a centurion, who, having survived dog and fox attack over the years, finally fell off his perch today. He was a fine beast, stupid and psychotic, as any good cockerel should be. Though he mellowed over the years he still looked at me with murder in his eye, especially that time in when, in my haste, I fed the chickens while wearing red leather gloves, a thing I shall not repeat in front of a large cockerel.

R.I.P. Vladimir.

And to you over the pond, that’s a rooster, I am told….

Vladimir the cockerel

Vladimir the cockerel

Old English Game Cock

At the Royal Bath & West Show, 31st May

Cockerel-of-the-day: do not worry, cats will return, but I spent the day at the Royal Bath & West, and there were no cats. There was this rather magnificent cock, though. The label said ‘Old English Game Birds’…. looks better equipped for running than our podgy brood at home.

Old English Game Cock

Old English Game Cock

Unfinished chicken

Cat and chickens, 5th April

I thought I’d have another go at drawing the chickens, but then it started to rain, so I went inside where I found Percy apparently losing the battle against the beanbag, which was trying to engulf him! Never got to finish the chickens…

Unfinished chicken

Unfinished chicken

Percy sinking...

Percy sinking…

Unfinished chickens

Unfinished chickens

chickens pecking

Ever-busy chickens, 2nd April

chickens pecking

chickens pecking

It’s really quite hard to draw chickens, they never stay still and they don’t even stay nearby for long once they have decided that you have nothing for them. We had to have an ailing tree cut down today, and they spent some time rummaging amongst the sawdust and twigs, but even so they had moved off before I had finished…

festooned plum trees and a chicken

An experiment with weeds: Festooned Plum Trees

There is an elderly and ailing plum tree in the chicken’s enclosure, One branch that is reachable makes nice plums, but much of it is rotten, unreachable, or full of the debris of creepers grown up from what was the wilderness next door. But it makes seedlings prolifically.

In a ‘normal’ garden the seedlings wouldn’t survive as they’d mostly get mowed down with the grass, but since we have had the chickens in there they have scratched out every bit of grass and almost everything else, except bluebells, daffodils and stinging nettles. And the occasional seedling survives having its leaves pecked off until it is big enough to grow to a height where it doesn’t matter. I left some of them because it’s nice to have something growing where the chickens are… for the same reason I don’t have bonfires anymore – any substantial tree branch gets dumped in with the chickens and it allows a bit of greenery to grow up (mostly nettles but I am retrieving some grass sometimes too), and it gives the chickens something to perch on while they investigate edible stuff beneath the branches.

festooned plum trees and a chicken

festooned plum trees and a chicken

Then I decided if we were going to have weeds growing tree-sized we might as well have nicely pruned weeds, and then I also started festooning the branches. This is a technique that works on apple trees, I don’t know if it works on plums, but it’s an experiment with weeds, so worth a go. Simply, you tie the branches down when they are bendy, and this encourages the branch to fruit earlier in its life, and in fruiting earlier I also hope it will slow the growth of the trees.

So they have finally flowered, at about 4 years old. I don’t know whether this is earlier than it would otherwise have been, but they are certainly still short trees, not the tall upright ones you can see they are trying to be from the new growth. And most importantly, if they set fruit I will finally discover whether the trees make anything edible…

A photo – just because they look nice in the evening light…

festooned plum trees without a chicken

festooned plum trees without a chicken