|The chicken run was made from the posts and trellis from the original dog fence. The inside of the coop, including the door, were made from recycled bits of wood. The nest boxes are simple plastic baskets from a garden centre filled with straw. Karen painted most of the trellis and was sick of the sight of it by the time she'd finished! Emma and Luke also helped out cutting and drilling and making the fittings.
We got a call from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust at 4:30pm on Sunday 20th April asking us to come and pick up some spare hens that they were left with after rehoming over 400 that day. We drove over to Essex and picked up our ladies and Karen, who cried seeing then in such a state, picked out Korma from the crowd. The rest were all randomly given to us.
We didn't have any food or bedding for them so we had to beg some from the neighbours to get us by..
|Miss Chicken Korma
|Miss Chicken Korma, (aka. the Road Runner) is the by far the most inquisitive of the bunch and proving to be a real budding escape artist! She is always the first out and about.
Miss Chicken Rezela (front aka. Stupid) is probably the most stupid. She won't stop eating the sand, climbing into occupied nest boxes and sliding down the ramp. Miss Chicken Tikka (back) has yet to show us her personality, apart from being a real coward.
Miss Chicken Balti (front aka. Bully) is happy to peck anything that gets within range. We think she is trying to make sure she is the boss.
Three weeks on and they are really starting to feel at home and show us their true personalities. Tikka has completely reversed her cowardice and become the Boss, is happy to be touched and happily wanders around our feet. She has become a real bully (deposing Balti) and is by far the most feathered and rounded.
Korma is still as scraggy as ever, however she is covered in new quills that are starting to open into feathers. She is a bit of a recluse and prefers her own company but she is happy for us to be close by and is the easiest to handle when required.
Rezela and Balti are inseparable, they wander around together and even squash into the same nest box each night. However, they are still completely neurotic and don't like us to even attempt to get near them. Rezela really is stupid and very skittish.
Only Korma is happy to eat the layers pellets from the feeder, the rest still want them softened and mashed. Korma is the only one who hasn't learned to scratch yet, surprisingly.
We let them out into the garden today and Sascha was very good and didn't bother them at all. Guess who managed to escape into the bushes....Korma, aka Houdini!
|Miss Chicken Rezela
|After a few months they are truly recovered and providing us with more eggs that we could possibly eat. You'll see below the difference in Korma. It's great to see them charging up the field, wings flapping, when you call to them. They've stopped their squabbling and sorted out their "pecking order" and they're all easy to handle, but Balti is still a little unsure.
|We have a new recruit who has joined us, Bella, who was injured when she was initially rescued. She wasn't able to walk and was cared for by Anne and her daughter for 4 weeks before I went up to collected her. They've obviously spent a lot of time with her because Bella is very confident and has no problems being handled.
It is facinating to watch the balance of power change in the run. When Bella first arrived the other two were not sure at all, they left the run and spent hours making loads of noise. Bella started off by attacking our ladies who were basically evicted from the hen house and they stayed out side keeping their distance. Whenever Bella attacked Korma, Tikka would pile in and all three of them were jumping all over the place. Eventually Tikka seemed to take everything in her stride, not paying much notice of Bella, while Bella avoided her. Then Korma decided she wasn't going to be bottom chicken and attacked Bella, swiftly followed by Tikka joining in the bundle. Bella now seems to be accepting her newbie status and is avoiding the other two. She actually hides behind me if I go into the run to watch the proceedings. We will see how long it takes for peace to resume. Things got so bad that we were forced to section off the run so that the chickens could get used to each other from a distance.
Unfortunately, one morning when I let the chickens out one morning I found that Tikka had died in the night. We don't know if it was age or illness but now we are left with Korma and Bella who I am glad to say are getting on better after a couple of weeks.
Miss Chicken Ruby Murray (Ruby)
Miss Chicken Vindaloo (Lulu)
Miss Chicken Madras (Maddie)