I had a message from a friend asking if we wanted some new chickens. Often people refer to chickens as male and female but I wanted to ensure straight away that I wasn’t after a rooster/cockerel.
How old are they? Why were they getting rid of them? These are the questions that went through my mind.
They look as though they have healthy crops and their feathers look good.
They’re from a couple whose dogs I’ve walked a few times. They want them to go to a good home and knew we kept hens.
So why do they want to get rid of them? Basically they travel quite a bit and sorting hens and dogs out was proving quite tricky.
So I’ve said yes. Before they arrive I will have to pressure wash and disinfect our Ladies houses down, their perches and put new bedding in the nest box areas. I’ve had new hens joining the group before and found it’s actually easier to put the new hens in at night next to the existing ones on their perches. This way they all wake up together.
Years ago I used to separate them and put them in pens so they could all see each other and then after a few days I’d let them in together. Then a breeder suggested doing the other method I mentioned above – I’ve not reverted back since.
Our current Ladies have begun laying properly again so we’re getting about 4 or 5 eggs a day now. Even Marmalade, one of the older ones has! The two bantams haven’t started yet but I’m suspecting it’ll be February.
I’ll be able to start selling eggs again.
Half past six and the alarm on my phone goes off – well it is the holidays. I’d given myself half an hours lie-in, I’d heard the wind howling for most of the night. Talk about gusty!
The kitchen wasn’t as snug as normal as I’d had to turn it off last night. A chap is coming over this afternoon to look at it as it’s not keeping it’s usual temperature. We’ve a contract with the company so it doesn’t cost any extra. I’ve decided that my daughter jinxes the Aga, whenever she comes home for a few days (weeks in this case) from University the Aga plays up.
(An Aga is a cooker that stays on all day and night, it heats the room up too.)
I flick the switch of the electric kettle and grab my hat, coat and wellington boots. The torch shines brightly with it’s new batteries and I trudge over the farm yard to the Ladies house (hens).
“Morning Ladies, how are we all today?” I call cheerily. I like to let them know I’m on my way so as not to startle them. I shine my torch up the 14 foot panel too see Spangles eyes lighting up in the torches beam. She’s taken to sitting up there on her own. She seems to be bottom of the pecking order but quite happy. The others are all inside on the perch with the occasional morning chatter. Queenie stands up and stretches her wings. |t almost sounds like a muffled crinkle of a fresh paper bag being opened.
I unbolt the door and instantly aware of Lacey pacing up and down in the pen. “What’s up Lacey?” I inquire but with that she’s bolted out of the door. I’ve never seen her do that before. I swing round trying to spot her with the beam of the torch but she’s already out of site. I walk quickly back outside – where on earth has she gone I wonder. I’m shining my torch up and down the farmyard looking for her. Then I spot her…
I quietly walk around the side of the tractor and there she is in their makeshift nest box. It’s almost pitch black, just before 7am and Lacey was desperate to lay her egg! You can’t help but smile sometimes.