We got three new chooks last Saturday! They are sort of ex-bats. Sort of, because battery hens were banned in the UK in January (woo!), so these aren’t from battery cages but from a ‘higher welfare barn’ or some such thing. Better for the hens in the short term but after a couple of years they still get turned into pet food.
You can see the difference between Rigby (on the far right above and at the front of the top picture) and the three new girls – even in higher welfare environments they still come out looking shabby with patchy feathers, trimmed beaks and wiry little bodies.
We had only had one egg in a week though - not unusual, the shock of the move often gives them pause – but that egg was a few days ago. Why only one? Well a little walk around the run (AKA next-door’s neglected garden) this afternoon gave us the answer when we found a grass nest holding a clutch of five eggs! I’m convinced there must be more somewhere but a couple of big patches of nettles stopped me probing further.
After a flurry of pecking Rigby has taken well to the new chooks. Lucy is oblivious, but she’s now totally blind – you remember Lucy, who seemed on her last legs almost exactly a year ago when we had to leave her with a friend while we went to New York? Well, she’s fine-ish. She gets around ok but has trouble finding food (she might have no sense of smell either) so we hand feed her twice a day. Considering hen’s propensity for dropping dead with no notice, Lucy has done amazingly well!
So that’s that. We Just have to find a way to get the hens to lay in the nest-box. Any ideas?