Tuesday 27 May 2014

R.I.P. Zola Buddy Bantam


My dear little rare breed Game Bird (at the front of this picture 
with the long neck - taken a number of years ago when she was just
a few years old)

Passed away today peacefully.  The above photo she is on the left at the front.
She had a very long life for a rare breed - over 8 years
 She was such a fast runner - hence her being named after the South African Olympic runner Zola Budd!

My Zola was such a character - she was so inquisitive - and ran so fast if there was any 'goodies' thrown out - like chopped up apple cores, or fresh berries, or corn.  I knew that she was winding down, as she was at the bottom of the pecking order, so was last at the food, though she did get plenty.  She spent a lot of time just lying down in the sun (or the shade), rather than chasing around trying to catch flies like the others.
She could fly high above our heads from one end of the garden to the other to get to the treats first.  Absolutely amazing.

My special memory of her was when a few years ago, our then neighbour's side fence blew down and they hadn't told us, and the weather was bad so we had no reason to walk around the back side of the bungalow where it was.    About 5 o'clock in the evening, a chap rang our door bell and said to me........'We have a weird looking little bird in our garden, and we don't know what it is - I don't suppose you could come and catch it could you - only it's so sweet we don't want any of the cats to get it.'

Long story short - it was Zola - but she was rather nervous of the chap, his big dog and me and I just couldn't get her to come to me.

She ignored the corn in my hand, and decided to fly across his garden over a 6ft fence into the next one by the field.  Then when we  in there, she was a bit frightened of this kind hearted man calling her, 'Here chickie chickie'

By this time it was raining hard and pitch black and she suddenly did a vertical take off and flew the length of her garden and over the hedge into the fields beyond.  I trudged home, in the pouring rain with tears streaming down my face, knowing that she was 'lost' and wouldn't survive.

Then a week later, when it was dustbin day, I opened the gate and there she was - waiting outside the gate - and she just marched back in as though nothing had happened, demanding breakfast!

How she survived I do not know.  There is always plenty of food in the fields - grass, insects, weeds, etc - but no streams - so water would be a problem,  Maybe she went into another field where they had sheep, or the one with horses even further away, and drank from their troughs.  I will never know!

I was told her life span would be about 2 to 2.5yrs - so she had a long and happy innings

I now have five little bantams left - all old - but I am still getting half a  dozen or so eggs a week from them - and that's only when they are in the mood in the summer.
They often hide them around the garden too!   But I don't have them for the eggs
but just for the pleasure of seeing them running around the garden getting up to all sorts of
mischief and antics.  They are so entertaining and each day make us laugh!

The remaining bantams are quite a bit older than Zola was, but are still chasing about like spring chickens.  But chooks are funny creatures - they run around as though they are as fit as a fiddle, then can literally go to sleep and not wake up in the morning!