With the end of a truly dreadful week at work, I trudged down to the allotment. A few weeks ago, I spotted an advert for point of lay hens from a local farm. I contacted the farm and to my delight, found they had pullets available in two of my favourite breeds, Black Rock and Light Sussex. For good measure, I also reserved a Bluebell hen as I had never kept one before.
For those of you who have been reading the blog since the beginning, early on in our chicken keeping, we rescued Emily. Emily was the sole survivor of a fox attack which killed all the other birds she lived with. Incredibly, she escaped and lived free on site for several days before we managed to catch her. As a temporary measure, we put her in our coop with our girls. When her owner decided to give up having hens, we kept her. Emily was a gorgeous light Sussex but had a filthy temper and PTSD from the fox attack. She was an amazing broody, raising several clutches of chicks for us and for other plot holders. Thus my love of Light Sussex hens was born. More recently, we inherited five Black Rocks from Geoff. They were wonderful and had great personalities. Pop was a favourite and when she had a stroke last year, I built her a wheelchair. Miraculously, she regained her legs after spending weeks unable to stand or walk. She spent her retirement eating greens, sunflower seeds and sunbathing in her favourite outdoor flower pot.
The girls arrived in a big crate and the farmer carried them down to the coop for me. One by one, he lifted out the pullets and I checked them carefully over before putting them into the main coop. Tommy instantly ran over to have a look. Immediately following were the Cream Legbars, Polly and Rey. Taking one look, Polly launched herself at one of the Black Rocks, grabbing her by the comb. Seeing what happened, the other pullets, huddled together in a corner and tried to be invisible. Shrieks and squalks continued for quite some time as I walked around collecting eggs. When I returned to the main coop, Maude and Mavis were getting in on the action. Those poor new hens! Bullied from every direction but hopefully in a week, they will have found their place on the pecking order!
Just before I left, I stopped by the onion flowers which have suddenly bloomed. Fascinatingly, they are different shades of white and purple despite being the same variety of onion. As I was admiring the flower, I spotted a honey bee busy collecting pollen.
Back at home, I pondered what names to give our new arrivals. I usually keep to the same pattern for names but I am starting to run low on names ending in “ie” or “y”. Flora seemed perfect for our bluebell pullet and Dora and Cora for the Black Rocks and Alba for our Light Sussex hen.
Hopefully, the new girls will work out where the nest box is and snuggle in with the others overnight. If they don’t, then the weather is warm enough that they will manage outside!