This has been our first time with chickens and it has been a great experience. The rewards are the lovely free range eggs but that’s not all. It is great fun to see them walking around the garden, digging and doing their little dance. When you watch them you can see that each have unique characters and positions in the pecking order.
Malteser, the brown hen is of the Copper Star variety and she is usually the leader, taking turns with Simona Cowell the black one, a Columbian Black-tail to lead the flock around the field. The two white ones – Snowdrops, are usually close behind. Prior to getting our first hens, other hen owners told me that hens never wander. They also told me they would never be able to fly over the coup.
FLYING THE COUP
Okay, so the first thing this little group of wily chickens did was fly the coup. It was usually Simona Cowell who did this first, then the other three would follow. We were letting them out anyway so there was no need for these escape antics but we have many foxes in the area and wanted the choice of whether to let them out or not, so we reluctantly clipped their wings. That stopped them.
We still let them out as long as we were home because although they were free to roam around our garden they had discovered our neighbour’s garden and decided to include their lawn in their roaming route.
Unlike us, our neighbours keep a lovely closely cut lawn and the family play golf and other ball games on it. Our hens however, found that they could make their way in through some holes in the fence and despite having an acre and a half of mostly wild land to roam around here they love trooping around our neighbour’s lawn especially when they are playing golf.
Of course we quickly fixed the holes in the fence and that kept them home for a while – until they learned to burrow under the fence. Considering their tiny brains hens are amazingly determined. Finally we blocked all their burrowing holes with rocks and stones and so far they have stayed put.
However, over the last couple of days, Malteser has stayed put too much. She has hardly come out of the house. She has stayed crouched up, as though laying or hatching an egg – for the last two days. Obviously becoming broody – yet with no rooster around all her efforts are going to be going to waste.
This doesn’t stop poor old Malteser and she continues her efforts to hatch her imaginary chicken on a daily basis.
Will keep you posted.
P.S. This post was written in May 2014 and we have very much enjoyed keeping chickens until one sad day when a predator came to visit.
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