After Kiep's broodiness finished a couple of days ago, I decided she needed a bath after sitting on her golf ball for almost a month. She looked decidedly drab and worse for the wear and needed a bit of special TLC.
I prepared some luke warm water in a tub and put her in. At first she struggled a bit (it was her first bath ever), but the minute she felt the warmth of the water, she actually lay down! I gently shampooed her back, chest and vent area, careful not to ruffle her feathers too much.
I remembered using vinegar as a youngster to rinse my hair after a wash when we'd run out of conditioner and it always left my hair soft and shiny. So, after a first rinse, I transferred Kiep to another tub with a bit of vinegar in the water, gave her a good rinsing, dried her gently with a towel and then used the hair dryer to get her nice and dry. I was a bit worried about the noise of the hair dryer, but she seemed to enjoy it, fluffing up her feathers to let in the hot air.
After she was all nice and dry, and oh so extremely soft and fluffy! we went out into the bathroom court-yard, where she spent a while preening and getting her feathers in the correct order again and when she was ready, I led her out to the main garden where she immediately rushed up to Artemis, greeting him with some wing-flapping and a lot of prancing around.
Now it was time to also clean out her nest-box, which is on top of one of my art tables in my studio. I cleaned out the box thoroughly, put in fresh grass and then placed it back, all nice and clean.
Later in the morning she strutted into my studio to deliver her breakfast, but it turned into a big to-do. She took one look at the nest and, horrified, she proceeded to unpack all the grass and then putting it back to her liking before settling down to the serious job of laying the egg!
Her eggs are different after this last broody incident, much bigger and not so white, more brown.
My little girl is growing up now…