If your name’s not down you don’t get in

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Our babies are growing up fast. Our chicken babies, that is, the Ross 308 broiler parent stock.

They are already somewhere between a bantam and a small large fowl. No, that isn’t a mistake. Large fowl can be small.

For those who are not addicted to chickens yet, a large fowl is a proper-sized chook, and a bantam is a wee-sized one.

And if you ever buy a couple, whether they are bantams or large fowl, it makes no difference at all – you probably will become an addict.

Trust me on this. I started with four and now have just over 30. They are addictive.

So, my little girls are getting big. Sadly, as they are all alike – white and very large – they are unlikely to attract pet names from the YMs.

Animals with pet names, I have found, tend to attract a burial when they snuff it. Un-named animals do not seem to attract the same level of compassion.

This explains why Bruce, our old rooster, Sally and Vic the turkeys, and Caster, Rupert, ASBO and Hilts the chooks are all buried in the woodland at the back of the house.

Many, many more unloved and nameless winged pals didn’t make it to this sacred burial ground. It is seemingly reserved only for poultry at the top of the food chain, or unusually coloured poultry, or poultry which was one of the ‘originals’ – the four hens we started with, the afore-mentioned Caster, Rupert, ASBO and Hilts. In other words, if they,’re not memorable, they don’t get in.

But getting back to the chicks, if you saw the recent pic of my size 6 clog in with them just after they arrived, this week’s pic – with my clog again for scale – shows just how much they’ve come on.

In fact, they are so well-feathered that they are off-heat early. I am such a proud chick-mum. As I bought them at only a few days old, and they weren’t hatched at Shoogly Towers by a broody hen, they have been under a heat lamp in our summerhouse.

They should have been off-heat in a week’s time, but the heat lamp bulb blew on the Saturday night. It was stone cold on Sunday morning, but the chicks had all survived.

So, unable to buy a new heat-lamp bulb in the vicinity on a Sunday, we popped a normal bulb into the lamp as they look sufficiently well-feathered and able to huddle together for warmth.

So far, so good.

The Great Spring Debate rumbles on, and I must admit I’m starting to buy into it. Last week I dug out some compost from our bins and started filling seed trays.

The seeds for most things we will grow this year are now planted and sitting on the greenhouse shelves, waiting for the sun. There will be the usual mix of veggies and ornamental plants, for my tubs and pots.

I noticed the other day that there are already some teency weency sprouts of growth coming up from one of the trays. And I have a rare flower spike on one of my orchids. And the potatoes are chitting nicely in their egg boxes.

So even if spring isn’t quite here yet, all is right in the world, I reckon.