Monday, 28 April 2008

The neighbours have now paid for some new doves and Herb and I have been looking at designs for homing cages to hang on the dovecote to ensure the new birds safety. I rang the breeder today to find out if he had any squeakers ( young Doos) coming up for sale and he has. He also told me not to make or buy cages as he would lend me some that are made for purpose for my type of doocote, so things do not look quite so bleak.

The neighbours are starting a period of retraining for the dog and having invested in a buzzing collar for him a while back are now going to use it properly and give the dog a tingly zap rather than just a buzzing noise if he comes near our garden. Of course that is fine if they are with him so we will see, as long as he steers of me I shall not resort to some of the more radical solutions some of you, thanks Lizzie, suggested. I think I might find myself in court if I did shoot the dog!

Yesterday would have been a great day for dove watching, it was our hottest day of the year and I actually lay in the garden with a cold beer and got too hot, no pleasing some folk. Today of course we return to normality with a bump, we have an inch of rain forecast, I think it may have fallen already. I have had to shoo the chickens into the covered run as they were standing looking drookit and totally bedraggled. Still I got four very big eggs from them despite the foul weather. Yesterday they spent the day squabbling over whose turn it was to get in the tub trug full of soft sand, known as the Chicken Spa!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

First Post Moonzie Doos

This is my first Blog entry and it should have been about the four little white fantail doves sitting in my newly installed dove cote in the garden. Instead it is a story of death and destruction. Well maybe that is a bit strong but what happened two days ago had somewhat sullied my views on things.

A few weeks ago, after much persuasion,we bought a lovely white dove cote, big enough to house two pairs of doves. It was to be an anniversary present to from ourselves. We erected the dove cote and set about sourcing some little doves to go in it. When you have doves you have to keep them safely confined for the first four to six weeks so that they home to the cote and remain with you. At £80 for four it is quite an incentive to do it right. I bought a very expensive, very strong net which we draped over the cote and secured firmly into the ground. I then set about collecting my four garden fantail doves and brought them home. They were lovely little things, one had small bit of black on his back, a variety known as Gay Pied! The rest were as white as the driven snow. They were six weeks old. They had to have names, well, the chickens do so the doves became Scooby and Scrappy and Doo Little and Doo Lally. In Scotland where we live Doves are called Doos!

They settled in well to the doo cote and looked great in the garden. They ate well, drank lots, and seemed very contented. By the end of the first week the would flutter down when I approached with their rations of mixed grain and fresh water. One week gone and only five to go until I could let them fly free and hopefully pose as doos do on the roof and look elegant.

I spent hours that week watching them, they were fascinating, all seemed to have different personalities, there was the very bold and very greedy Scooby and the elegant and quiet Little and Scrappy who hung back a bit, even at feeding times. I think they were the girls and were to be the founding matriarchs of my new doo colony.

On the Friday at lunchtime we had to go to a friends funeral and left home at around 12.30 to return at 4. As we drove down the track to our house I thought the net looked a little askew and things were not right. I could not see any doves either on the ground or in the cote where they usually sat when not sunning themselves on the ground below the cote.

I went to the cote to discover the net chewed through, two large gaping holes in it, some feathers on the ground but no sign of the doves. Frantic I searched around and looked in trees and shrubs, fearing some predator had chewed it's way into the net but that by some quirk of fate the doves had the sense to fly out of the large hole. A while later while I was still searching, my neighbour arrived, looking shocked and worried to tell me that her large unruly dog had attacked the net, worked his way into my doves safe haven and killed the doves on the ground. She had removed the bloodied and broken bodies for fear of causing me further anguish.

So my Doo Blog begins with no doos. We are looking at making a homing cage that will attach to the side of the cote, it is very restrictive but it is only for six weeks and is a recognized form of ensuring dove safety during the vital homing period.

I will attempt to add some pictures of the little doos before they were killed to show just how lovely they were and hopefully in a few days will be able to add some more pictures of my new batch of babies.