Meet Melissa

Melissa is a slightly different breed to Zara, she is a Buff Partridge Pekin Bantam. Buff means the colouring, other colours available that I know of are Red, White and Lavender. The biggest difference that you can’t fail to love are the feathers on their feet, like little socks.

Moulting process

Melissa is a pale Buff and once a year she will lose her feathers and look quite bald and almost sickly as her carcass underneath is tiny. The first time this happened we actually were quite concerned and took her to the vets. I had seen moulting in hens before but she was so withdrawn and would hide away from everyone. Almost embarrassed about her appearance. She would have also felt the cold more. When their feathers start to grow they look a little like a hedgehog as they are lathered with what appear to be spikes. Then at the tips you can just see new feathers beginning to sprout. Once the regrowth is over their coats appear much darker and lighten as the weeks progress. If they were kept indoors their coats would remain the darker colour. Melissa is a free range hen so spends all her time out doors apart from dusk when she’ll return to her pen.

Her personality

Melissa is very much in charge of the group and until Pop (the cockerel) arrived she would rally everyone around making sure no one strayed too far. She would run after a hen if they had found a juicy worm and taught the others that any bird in the garden/field should be frightened off so as not to eat their food. This I’m sorry to say was quite a sight to see as their bodies would rock from side to side as they ran at birds. At dusk however she would always without fail be the first to bed ‘Come on ladies, time for bed’. A few minutes later the other hens would follow suit.

She was a fantastic mother and looked after her chicks really well. There were quite often Buzzards flying ahead, we were a little apprehensive about this as a chick would be a tasty meal. However we knew that we had to let Melissa outside to graze with her chicks. One particular day we heard the most terrifying screeching sound, never heard anything like it. I ran outside to see a buzzard just taking off from the garden. Having abandoned her babies Melissa was at the Buzzards heels with her feathers all fluffed out looking extremely aggressive. I looked around for her chicks, they were hiding under the potato leaves and all accounted for – phew! What a great mother.

Many emotions all rolled into one.

Having been riding a bike for over a year my son started his driving lessons last September. He was ready apparently to take a test by December I was quite surprised but then he’s had experience with his bike so I guess that’s helped him. However he failed his test with 2 minor faults and one major – he indicated incorrectly at a roundabout. I was relieved to an extent because I felt he hadn’t been driving a car for very long, well 3 months to be honest. Also he was expected to be the driver for a pub crawl two days after that .  . . Can you understand my relief?

So Christmas came and went and the lessons started again, his instructor said he should have been passed the first time around but I wasn’t going to complain. We put in for a test again, it had gone up from £60.00 in December to £75.00 in January! Quite an expensive increase in such a short space of time I felt.

Today was test day again, the half hour of his test was the slowest 30 minutes I have experienced. My daughter and I went shopping and she kept texting me at the point we were expecting to hear an answer, my heart kept missing beats. Then at 3.40 p.m he text ‘I’ve passed with no faults :D’ I showed the text to my daughter and rang him straight back. I was so excited, proud and absolutely delighted for him, I even shed a tear of happiness!


Next once the car is on the road I expect there will be anxious moments from me hoping that he sticks to the highway code and that others around him do the same.