New Hens at Animal Aunts HQ
Had a very exciting day yesterday! Firstly it was sunny and warm and really very Springlike which can only make us all feel a bit more upbeat after such a long winter. After breakfast (2 eggs fresh from our six hens) I dashed outside to put up an electric fence around the flower beds by the lawn. We moved our lovely new hen house on wheels from eggshellonline.co.uk into the pen! Then off we went to Grayshott to the wonderful Golden Valley Poultry Farm in Whitmore Vale to choose our new hens. In a lovely clean shelter there were about 30 young hybrid chickens of around 19 weeks old, of all different colours, we watched them for a while and then chose a particularly friendly Silver Link, a lovely peachy colour. Next was a beautiful large Speckled Hen, who was a bit more shy followed by a Golden Line which is brown with several white feathers and finally a beautiful Light Sussex. I did pick out a beautiful Blue girl, but we put her back as she had a bit of the devil in her eye, we already have one Blue and she is somewhat arrogant and a bit of a bully so we decided against another Blue.
Thrilled with our new girls, we brought them home in two big wine boxes and gently put them into their new house. They were shy to start having not been outside before and took a while to venture down the ramp. Silver Link was out first and immediately went off into the flower bed to scratch about. The plan is for them to scratch around in the beds where we will be planting beans and sweetcorn in the hope that they will clear the slugs and snails so they don’t eat all my veg the second I plant it like last year! Next came Golden Line, tentatively stepping down the ramp, followed by Speckledy and finally the Light Sussex. they pretty much hung around the house for the rest of the day, although Speckledy had a bit of a moment when she braved it and threw herself at the electric fence; luckily it seems only to take once for them to learn, as with dogs and foxes it seems. No automatic door on this hen house so we popped out just after dark to be sure they had all found their way into the house and they were all tucked up inside.
We have been very lucky so far, in all the time we have had chickens, we have never had a fox attack and having watched my dogs get zapped once each then never going near the hens again, I can only presume that the Foxes have had the same sharp lesson. It is certainly not for lack of foxes which wander across the field below us in broad daylight!
Our other hens were watching the whole arrival from their pen in the paddock, heads up clucking and marching up and down the fenceline! Clearly they are not too upset as they gave us 4 beautiful eggs this morning. I am not expecting the new girls to lay for another two or three weeks as they are young, but you never know! I still never tire of opening the nest box and finding the full house of 6 fresh organic eggs, now we have 10 hens in our flock I am really looking forward to having 10 eggs in one day!
Welcome to Animal Aunts Peachy, Speckledy, Ginge and Sharon, may you have a long and happy life here!
While I was at Golden Valley Poultry, I asked about our one hen with the very bald bottom and she confirmed that it was nothing to worry about, that she was putting all of her energies into laying eggs rather than growing feathers. (see my previous blog)