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