As our trusty band of hens are becoming ‘old ladies’ and rather intermittent layers, we decided that we’d introduce some new blood to the flock in the Spring.
Just as we were having that idea, Gillian learned of some hens that were in need of re-homing due to a marital split and we agreed to take a couple of them.
Meanwhile, we had also promised ourselves a pair of ‘Bluebells’ (a Rhode Island Red x Marans Coucou) as we’ve had one, who we called Bluey, in the past and were very sad to lose her.
Our plans were put back a little by the Storms we have been having recently, but this morning we set off to collect them.
Our first trip, this morning, was to get the ones that were requiring a new home. There were several on offer, but we chose a brown one, similar to a New Hampshire, and a Lavender Blue which the owner had named ‘Ian’ after the actor who played Private Pike in Dad’s Army who, by co-incidence, lives not that far away. We spent the journey home thinking of a suitable name for the maternal brown hen in the box with ‘Ian’ and decided upon ‘Mavis’ as that is Mrs Pike’s first name.
After a quick coffee, it was back in the car to The Good, The Bad and the Hungry – an equestrian centre in Wingfield that also sells chickens and, more importantly, has a farm cafe that serves delicious lunches. Well replenished, we were shown to where the two point-of-lay chickens we had reserved were being kept. These will be called ‘Blue’ and ‘Belle’, with the latter being just recognisable as the one with the dark spots on a couple of her tail feathers.
We have, for the time being, put the newcomers in a coop within the chicken run so that they can see and hear the resident flock but not actually intermingle with them just yet.
They were all fed within sight of each other but the ‘old girls’ showed very little interest in the new ones.
All flocks have a ‘pecking order’ and one will be established once they are introduced. We will do this at night time, when they are docile, and then they will wake up together. We have an idea who will be ‘top hen’ and roughly the order thereafter – but it will be interesting to find out if we were right!