I guess the most important thing to say is that all the hens made it through the night. They are looking much brighter and are starting to scratch about inside their runs. We even had three eggs this morning but that is hardly surprising as that is all they have been good for up until now so . . . The plan now is to turn this:
You may have already guessed I love a chicken. Always have done, as the pictures below will prove. I am holding my pet bantam hen (who I inventively named Little Hen), she was my playmate for several years during my childhood. I carried her about with me, we made mud-pies together and I’ve always thought she enjoyed it as much as I did.
Growing up on a farm is a privilege because of the freedom and the experiences it gives you but I was taught the responsibilities from an early age too. Keeping our four legged or feathery-two-legged companions healthy and safe comes before anything else. Before breakfast, before days out, before your birthday and before Christmas. Their welfare is your ultimate responsibility.
We already have about 30 hens as well as ducks, geese and guinea fowl. When our not-so-feathery new arrivals are feeling up to it they will join the others in the field.
I am a meat- eater but I also abhor animal cruelty of any kind and I don’t believe that the two are incompatible. But all of us, every single one, needs to think more about the food we are eating and buying. Where has it come from? How did the animal that provided it for us live and die?
Our birds have their own field to roam around in. They are outside all day, every day until they think its time to go inside and then we shut them up in their house to keep the cold and the foxes out.
They eat grain that we grow on the farm but they also love slugs and snails and digging in the dirt for bugs and roots. They get all our vegetable peelings, we give them whole cabbages from a neighbouring farm (the rejects deeming unfit to sell) and they get to chase bits of crust at least once a day. The other thing to say is that we keep all our birds until they quite literally fall off their perch (as Susan the Super Hen will testify) and we don’t mind how many eggs they lay!
So I think that the future of the ‘Ten Hens’ we adopted yesterday is looking up, don’t you?!