Monthly Archives: May 2010

Will they be OK without me?

Well I’m sure they will be fine fut my new charges are going to have to manage till tea time all on their own.   I’m off to Green Hammerton with a van full of plants for their food fair – meanwhile the chicks are going to have to sort themselves out.

Elsie, the old hand was first out of there this morning, still protesting at having to be cooped up with all these new girls.  She’s been clucking in disgust since last night!  They were a bit surprised that they were allowed out again, but the little ex-batts gingerly tripped down the ramp and into the sunshine for a second day.

We had a little tragedy yesterday as well.   One of the baby wrens had fallen out of the nest.   I tried to pop it back in but it was promptly chucked out again. I can’t believe they’re nesting in my shed – right by the door – so they’ve got me in and out all the time but they seem perfectly content.  Mummy shoots in and out through the hole in the side and the rest of the little ones, I think there are 4 left, are squeaking with their beaks open.

Ok well fingers crossed they’re still here when I get home….

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The rest of the girls are here

On the hottest day of the year I put 3 tired but not too tatty little ex battery hens into the back of my van and drove them home.

I thought I was turning up to a distribution point where there would be 4000 hens and lots of potential owners….no, in fact there were several distribution points and the 4000 hens had been divvied up around the county,  so when I got to Goole it was just a handful of eager new adopters and a stable full of slightly flustered – but not panic stricken hens.  We each patiently waited and then we had to go in ad pick our hens.  I chickened out (!) and asked someone else to put mine into the dog cage I’d brought and then off I went.

What amazed me was how well they looked.  fairly decently feathered and pretty strong, but a bit pale.  However that’s because Elsie is really pink and laying, and that’s how they look when they’re laying (I didn’t know that 2 weeks ago!

It was so hot in that van and they were so quiet.   It was only a half hour journey but I was pretty worried by the silence in the back.   Thank goodness they were just sitting panting.   I hoisted them out and sort of coralled them into the back yard where it was shady, put out a bowl of water and some food,  and out they came.

Before you knew it they were being inquisitive and poking about, not looking for the water but checking out the plants and having a bash at the heather and having a scratch and a dig. 

They don’t look to bad at all and they are quickly discovering the things that chickens do when they get the chance.  And remarkably they will let me pick them up – with a bit of clucking but still I can get hold of them but not Elsie,  no way.

Currently they’re in bed and I think they’re sorting out the pecking order.   There have been a couple of kerfuffuls but nothing too horendous.   As for Elsie, well she’s not sure what to think.   It’s been a difficult day.   First of all there are 3 other hens to deal with but secondly she’s had her wings clipped.   She was just getting a bit too clever as an escape artist and she might not like it but she’s going to be safer for it.

I’m hoping it’ll soon be quiet, and then we’ll see what tomorrow brings

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It’s cold outside

Well I’ve been caught by the frost.  My bizzie lizzies were left out by accident and they’ve shrivelled….and it’s a good thing I’ve sown some more cucm

bers and green beans as well.   This is take 2 on the cucumbers.  Serves me right of course for not keeping things under wraps.   Apparently it was the coldest May night for 15 years last night and I believe it.  Forever full of optimism though I keep checking the weather forecast and maybe, just maybe there is a little bit of an increase in the temperature by the end of the week.

Meanwhile Elsie’s friends are scheduled to arrive on the 22nd.  Oh we need fence.   I’ve got such a big area to fence though I’ve been looking everywhere for the best bargain.   I suspect it’ll be chain link and then at least Elsie and her little ex battery pals can enjoy the summer if we get some.

Plant shopping and digging today with an eye on late summer colour for a client planning a party in September.  We’ve had some great autumns in recent years so let’s hope that this year’s no exception – maybe it’ll make up for the spring.

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Elsie’s adventures

Elsie is a cute, but quite determined hen.  Maybe this is a trait of hens, I’m not sure yet, but I suspect I will come to understand them……  Today she was free from her little prison, the idea being that she would have come to know where home and food and water is by being left in her house for a day or two, but also I had been out all day and I wasn’t sure yet that she could be left out.   So off she went, into the garden next door, into the gap where she was trapped between the hut and the fence, but eventually she settled down and scratched and pecked her way around and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself.

But what to do when it’s time for bed?   Having sought advice about how to get your hen back in her house at bedtime, I was advised to start a trail of chicken feed and talk to her.  Hah!  She wasn’t listening to me…..oh no, she was listening to the call of the wild – or something.   Only one things’ for sure, whenever I went anywhere near her she went off in the opposite direction.   Anyhow I persisted and persisted and eventually she got the message and stepped into the hen house, and so she’s safely tucked up for the night.  Phew.

How on earth will I manage when she has some friends?  I’ve asked about getting her a couple of pals, I think she’ll be much happier…..and I shall have eggs!  What a bonus.  So far Elsie has laid an egg every day, I suspect I may be eating omelets a little bit more often than I do at the moment, but very nice omelets.

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It has been a very bird orientated day!

This morning when I opened the shed a wren flew out…. humm, cute, but unusual.
Then my son arrived to finish off the chicken house – I am so excited about getting chickens and he had nearly finished yesterday but today it’s done and so I’ve given it one coat of a nice paint.
Then I came back into the house and heard fluttering – I don’t like trapped birds and I just knew that there must be one in the house. Sure enough there it was – a baby starling brought in by a cat I suppose, unhurt thank goodness, but I had to get it out somehow, so I summoned up my courage and wafted it out of the French windows. Thank goodness it went out quite easily, I remember having to summon help from the milkman years ago when a blackbird got trapped in the kitchen and went into panic mode.
Fine – but back in the shed I could have sworn I saw the wren again – and on closer inspection what is in the shed? A nest! So now what? Do I tiptoe around until the babies are hatched or can I go into the shed again? Well apparently, my neighbour who knows everything about birds says it’ll either get used to me or clear off, so to carry on as normal. Not sure about that but I need to get in and out so Mr & Mrs Wren we’re going to have to try to make friends.
So off I went out for a couple of hours and came home to paint the hen house. Half way through that same neighbour asked me if I’d like a hen. Well of course I’d love a hen! His hens had been fighting and Elsie (for that is her name) was coming off worst, because his other hen had baby chicks and was defending her corner.
So here’s the house – you can’t see Elsie yet because she needs to come to terms with her new home, but she is in there. I am told that with luck at the weekend she can come out for a look at her new garden, but for now she’s in the shed, with her corn and her water and that’s her lot. How fab!

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