The Assistant Manager of the Backyard, the rooster named Alvin, passed away today. He was a great representative of the Ancona breed, and, above all he had personality and presence. He was like a friend and kept me company as I toiled in the yard. I tried everything I could to save him – regular worming, the best food, fresh water, warm house, company and ……free range access to the garden during the day. The last part is what did him in, I think. Alvin loved picking up every little thing he saw on the ground, working over the garden from end to end. In my efforts to establish a vegetable garden, turning over the soil to work in compost and lime as well as manure and I keep finding rubbish – bottles with dubious contents still in them, plastic, strange substances and whatnot. I cart everything away on discovery but that has not helped.
I have a lovely ngaia tree in the garden and know that the leaves are poisonous – that probably means that the berries and flowers are, too. I have not observed Alvin eating those, though. Some weeds are a worry and I shall have to check with neighbours to see which are poisonous. I still want to free range my chickens but fear for their safety.