Went to see to the allotment chooks today and noticed that all the hens had disappeared from a neighbouring plot.
There were no signs of fox attack, nor of forced entry. The hens were there on Saturday, I always say "Hello" to them as I walk past. DH and I discussed whether the plot holders might be unaware of what happened. It didn't seem likely, they would probably have been down that morning already.
But what if they didn't know?
I phoned OC (other chap) to see if he knew what had happened or if he knew the phone number of the chaps who have the plot. OC didn't pick up his phone, so I carried on with my own business.
I walked past the Allotment "office" on the way back to the car, and found the number for the membership secretary. I called, explained why I was phoning, and asked her to phone the plotholders to let them know, just in case they didn't already.
A few minutes later she phoned me back. They had removed the hens themselves, to be culled because they weren't laying.
It happens all the time, all over the place. For many people, hens have to earn their kee - and not everyone has the luxury of funding "freeloaders". I realise that they don't have the space to keep so many non-laying hens.
I was sad for the hens concerned, but I know they had a good life - better than many.
Most of our allotment girls are only" freeloading" over the winter. For the second-year girls, I don't really think of this as freeloading. they are just having their winter break. For the older girls (3 are 5 years old and 2 are 4 years old), this might just be a winter break or it might be the henopause. They are lucky girls because we have space to accomodate them even if they aren't going to lay any more.
They have no idea how lucky they are.