We live in the darkest, deepest depths of the country.
Half a day’s journey for a pint of milk.
The postman still delivers on a penny farthing.
Mains sewage and mains gas are things we can only dream about.
You get the gist.
My wife, felt we needed something to compliment our expansive ruralness. Something that would be able to root over her vegetable patch during the long winter months, be cute and give us a steady supply of eggs in those parts of the year when the days are long enough and the weather is warm enough to encourage these things.
Years before, during our ill fated animal adventures, we had for a while, kept a large number of hens. Over time the local foxes had picked them off one by one. until we had abandoned chickens and concentrated on our pigs and sheep, vowing never to repeat this experience.
Now we where going to thwart all foxy cunning and keep our new girls safe. How you ask? Chickenopolis. The combination of a guaranteed fox proof hen house and an enclosed metal run would give them the security they needed.
We sourced our hens with the help of the British Hen Welfare Trust who re-home ex-battery hens once they have come to the end of their commercial viability, only one year! When we collected the hens they were far more bedraggled and exhausted than it was possible to imagine. Most were almost feather free from the pecking of there fellow stressed and bored hens in very small cages. The change of environment takes them a few days to acclimatise to, but then they thrive, savouring the fresh air and the feel of grass under claw. Feathers grow back quickly and within a month most of them look far less ‘oven ready’ and were beginning to resemble beautiful hens.
They have complimented our life to a stupid, ridiculous degree and are competing with the Labradors for most spoilt pets. Re-homing ex-battery hens is a great way of letting these hens enjoy a few good years as well as adding immeasurably to your own quality of life.
If you’re interested have a look on the British Hen Welfare Trust website for more information. www.bhwt.org.uk