Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Friday, March 28 – Hens come home

We have chickens again! They are mostly Rhode Island Reds, which are dark reddish brown, but there are two light brown mottled legbars as well, which I am glad of as they are the ones that lay such pretty coloured eggs. We brought them home in a selection of containers; a large cardboard box with holes, two cat baskets and a picnic hamper. Mr Christopher, who bred them, had rounded them up ready for us and helped us by grabbing them and stuffing them into the various carriers.

Once we were back we took them inside the hen house, which was ready with food and water, then shut the outer door before releasing them. They squawked at first, then started investigating. We shall leave them shut up in the house for at least 24 hours before allowing them out into the run, so they become used to their new home. As we have lost our old flock, we don’t have to worry about the hens fighting or bullying each other. If we were introducing new chickens to an established group we would have to separate them for a longer period, so they became accustomed to each other.

So all seems well in the animal part of the household for now. The hens are settling, the lambs are feeding, the cats are killing and the dog is loving Martin. I think the feeling might be mutual. Martin came back to the house after we’d unloaded the hens and, as he kicked off his muddy boots, he said, “Bubbles was very interested in the new chickens”. “Bubbles” I said, “who’s Bubbles?” He looked sheepish then said, “Oh, you know who I mean. Anyway, I always thought Buggles was a stupid name.” I tried not to laugh too much. It’s rather sweet.

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