Thursday, 9 February 2017


The Garden Girls are getting fractious.

I'm not surprised, t They've been on lockdown for two months now.

At the beginning, there was some squabbling and bad tempered pecking.  After about a week, things settled down and they stopped screeching to be let out.   We keep the run supplied with plenty of hanging treats:  at least 2 green vegetables, a swede,  3 peckablocks.   The run  is is F shaped, and has (technically) enough floor space for goodness knows how many hens.   It has long shelf perches at different heights,  plus a wooden garden chair and two nestboxes, which together give them plenty of opportunity for getting - and keeping - out of each others way.

We also have both Cubes open and accessible, plus the two aforementioned nestboxes, so that if there are you're-not-coming-in-here problems, they have plenty of choice of where to sleep.

Last week, the comb on  Fleur (my young Cuckoo Marans) returned to its gorgeous vivid red, and she started to lay. Not every day, but she was laying nonetheless.   Over the last couple of days I've seen the combs start to redden on the others and, along with it, we've started to have some unsettled behaviours.

There's been a lot more...whingeing.    We've had some hen-crowing.  We've had squawking, as Poppy chases the two smallest girls.    Today, they have been vocal almost non stop.

Spring is in the air,  and the Girls are feeling the pressure of being confined.

I've tried explaining to them how lucky they are. How light and airy their run is,  how much space they have each. How lucky they are to have on-tap cabbage, cauliflower, swede and peckablocks.   I've told them about otherhens, shut in sheds, or in hastily contructed pens.

They don't care.  They want out. And they don't care who knows it.

Lockdown continues until 28th February - and there is no guarantee that the restrictions will be lifted then.

DEFRA has agreed some respite for free range birds (who will otherwise lose their free range status), in certain areas, with very strict conditions.    This will, I expect, be misinterpreted by hobby keepers, not least because there are huge numbers of  areas classed as "high risk", hundreds of miles away from the outbreaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment