But now the crops are cut and I have been assured that the foxes are under control I was tempted by an offer of some hens which were being disposed of by a local poultry farm. The farm, not too far from Howden, is a commercial egg producing enterprise and they regularly change their flock.
So we went with a crate and for £12 we bought 12 chickens. They are Bovan Brown birds and although in moult they are very happy hens. I had been warned that they might not be in good condition or might not be used to perching or scratching.
But we have been very pleasantly surprised. I kept them in a pen for a day just so they became used to their new home but since then they have been free ranging under the trees in the orchard. They have been happily scratching up worms and other bugs, eating a mixture of pellets, grain and scraps and each morning I have gone to let them out they watch my arrival from the perch. Already they are getting their new feathers and best of all they are laying more eggs than I know what to do with.
We have so far eaten bacon and fried egg, scrambled egg, poached egg, quiche and chocolate cake as well as giving the eggs away.
We are also hoping this weekend to pick probably the last of the bramble harvest and if we are lucky extract a little honey from our beehive. So history is taking a bit of a back seat at the moment.
|Above and below our new chickens. They are very friendly and not at all bothered by Molly!|
|Nearly all the hens have lovely red upright combs, a sure sign that they are healthy and laying|