I love days like today. Days when you go down not expecting anything exciting to happen, especially during winter when there is so much less work to be done. I arrived just as the kettle in Cliff’s shed started to boil and sat down outside with Cliff and Geoff. After several minutes of chat, Cliff said something very strange had happened to him yesterday. He explained that he was at home when he heard a loud bang on his front window. Wondering whether it was a particularly stupid pigeon, he went out to investigate. There was no pigeon. Just a tiny unconscious chicken. He took it back into the house and kept it in a warm dark place with food and water, hoping it might recover. The next morning, the little hen was up and about and he brought her down to the allotment. Initially he put her in with Phil’s two bantams on Wills plot.
We went across to see her. I have never seen such a perfect yet tiny hen. She immediately came up to the fencing to say hello. In fact, she was so small that she couldn’t reach up to the suspended food bowls. As Cliff was lowering them so she could reach, I picked her up. She didn’t struggle and seemed perfectly happy to be held. After a couple of minutes sitting on my hand and assessing me with her beady eyes, she climbed up my arm and sat quite contentedly on my shoulder. Both Cliff and I were extremely taken with her. She is so friendly and made happy clucks the entire time.
Cliff suggested I should walk down to Liz and Sarah with her on my shoulder. It was a hilarious and brilliant suggestion. Christening her Lucky, I headed off to the bottom of the site. I stuck my head around Liz and Sarah’s shed door to be greeted by a shriek of laughter. Both Liz and Sarah are a little wary of birds but Lucky was so tiny, they encouraged me to put her down on the table and feed her some mealworms. We all watched her scoff them, marvelling how small she was. She then tipped her head to one side and gazed at Liz for several moments. Before Liz worked out what was going through her feathery head, Lucky leapt up onto her arm and clambered up to her shoulder.
Whilst we were chatting, I worked out that if I rotated my hoodie, Lucky could have a warm pouch to sleep in. I rescued Liz from Lucky and she settled down in the hood and had a little doze. Half an hour later, we all decided we were cold and headed off. I walked with Lucky back up to the greenhouse planning to make her a little isolation coop. Shutting her into the top section of the nest box, I lugged in the run and made sure that it was secure against the other girls who could easy squash her by stepping on her. I put her into the small run with a bowl of food and water. Leia and Lilja took exception to another chicken arriving and spent the next ten minutes oggling menacingly through the wire at her. She just looked back at them innocently completely oblivious to their hostility.
I dashed home to share the exciting news and dragged my husband back to the allotment to see her. Despite his usual exasperation at the endless expansion of our menagerie, he was rather taken with Lucky. She climbed up to his shoulder and clucked happily in his ear. We carefully put her back and thought about the best place to keep her. For now, she was fine in the small coop but long term she would need to live with birds her own size. Fortunately, we have a coop in the back garden waiting for the silkies when they are old enough.
Home again and I received a message from a friend. Apparently someone had been knocking on doors locally asking after a lost chicken. She said she would try to find out who it was and let me know. I won’t lie that both Cliff and I would be heartbroken to give her up. She is such an adorable chicken. Back home I also did some research into her breed and I think she might be a mini bantam Welsummer. Her feather colours and pattern matches Millie’s although she is only a fraction of the size.