Tuesday, 12 June 2012

new arrivals in the poultry palace


Comings and goings in the poultry palace (oh, the trials of poultry keeping...).

When we settled our new chickens into the hen palace and eggery, we looked forward to a period in which we'd get to know them and enjoy them enjoying the orchard.

Within less than a week, our neighbours were complaining that Lewis, our beautiful cockerel was waking them at 3am. As we weren't on site to lock the chickens away at night he was coming out for his morning constitutional and greeting the day in the way cockerels traditionally do.

Friends were indignant - 'This is the countryside.....'. But there was little choice for us other than to find him a new home, which was desperately sad for us. He'd already won our hearts with his gentle and kind nature. We loved to watch him looking out for his ladies and holding food gently in his bill so that they could feed from him. An absolute sweetie.

But luckily, Kim scrambled her hen keeping contacts and like a pullet out of a gun was able to offer our lovely Lewis a new home with six Light Sussex hens in Newark, Nottinghamshire. So, Saturday came, I caught him up and away he went and he is apparently as happy as a cockerel can be with the new arrangement.

 But 'The bed's too big without you'... and our hen coop seemed empty without our boy... but not for long!

Scramble the eggphone the following day but this time call  from Kim to say another friend had two hens that needed rehousing urgently - one a Light Sussex large fowl (not bantam) and the other a white Leghorn. Kim had helped us, we couldn't now not help back.

So we now have two full-sized hens who look in scale to our little bantams what HMS Belfast looks like to the tiny pleasure craft passing on the Thames - absolutely huge! Big Jessie (the Light Sussex) and Olive (the White Leghorn) seem like the ugly sisters next to the dainty and nimble little bantams who can sprint under the beaks of the big birds and snatch the tasty treats I toss before the bigger birds have had chance to think.

There's squabbling, but they'll settle into the new arrangement quickly. It has hastened my plans to fence the orchard so that the hens can have a little more space during the day.

And today our first egg from Olive.

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