Our new feathered friends have been with us a week now, it actually feels like they’ve been with us a lot longer. We’re slowly getting to know each other and the hens are adjusting really well to their new new surroundings.
On their first morning we had expected to have had to coax them out into the run but to our surprise when dad of 3 got up first thing to let them out, they couldn’t get out of the coup fast enough. I had watched anxiously from the bedroom window as he let them out as Erin was still sleeping and was as delighted as dad of 3 to see four of the five venture out straight away. Dad of 3 returned to the bedroom with a cup of tea and to tell me he had also found an egg! He was however a bit concerned about the fifth hen who had remained inside the coup and was huddled in one of the nesting boxes. I reminded him that they had had quite an ordeal the previous day with a long journey and it had been a cramped one until we had collected them too. This is how they had arrived, ten in a crate no bigger than a banana box, so I told him not to worry too much but we would keep an eye on her.
That first morning dad of 3 checked constantly on the hens and I have to admit I popped down a few times too. Then about mid afternoon we were both pleased to witness the fifth hen finally venture out, it was a great relief. Throughout the day we found two more eggs much to the delight of the boys. At dusk we watched again to see if they would return to the coup on their own, again they did so without any intervention.
Dad of 3 had taken some annual leave last week so while the boys were in school and I was working, he spent most of it keeping an eye on the hens. We quickly got into a routine of my letting them out first thing before breakfast and feeding them, then dad of 3 putting them to bed. For those of you who have never kept hens I can tell you that there is something about watching them and talking to them that just makes you smile. The boys have loved being involved especially when it comes to feeding them corn or checking for eggs. Within the first two days we were getting three or four eggs a day which has meant I have had to start using them up. Though that’s quite an easy thing to do with baking most days, however I can envisage having surplus quite quickly especially when all five are laying.
All the hens have their own personalities which we have quickly come to realise. The smallest is quite cheeky and when we decided to let them out into the garden for a time under supervision until their area can be fenced off, she quickly made a break for it to the other side of the garden. In fact every time they have had the run of the garden she has quickly made her way over to the other side away from the others. The other hens have stayed close to the coup but have ventured to the back door.
|Erin helping with the hens|
I’m not quite sure what the cats think of the hens, Ria is happy to venture up to them if they are in the safety of the run but when out in the garden she quickly retreats to watch from a distance. Merlin today decided he wasn’t impressed with one hen being under the children’s trampoline which is somewhere he likes to laze around. As soon as he noticed the hen venturing closer to it he went and sat underneath, keeping an eye on the hen. Liger just moves out of the way every time a hen nears him as if he’s not interested. However I have spotted him watching their movements!
Yesterday I made a big achievement for me, despite my parents having had hens for several years I have always not been keen on handling them and have always got the boys or dad of 3 to do so if we’ve been looking after them. However yesterday I was determined to stroke them, I really want to show the children that I’m happy to handle the hens and also I want the hens to be comfortable being handled by us all. So just before I helped clean out the coup I seized the opportunity to stroke one of the hens as she ventured close to me, I expected her to move away but instead she stayed where she was and seemed happy to be stroked, so I gently continued. When she was ready to move away I just let her. Not long after another hen came right up to me so again I attempted to stroke her and again she seemed happy to be stroked! I didn’t stop there though! oh no I surprised even myself when after we had cleaned the coup out and I was helping round up the hens back into the run, suddenly I found myself picking up one of the girls! yes I know I actually picked one up and put her in the run, even dad of 3 was surprised as he knows I’ve previously been unable to do this. I was so pleased with myself that I had to ring my parents to tell them, I know it seems silly but believe me this was a big achievement for me.
The girls are starting to look a lot better than when we collected them, their feathers are starting to grow up in the places they were bald. Dad of 3 was initially quite shocked at their condition when we collected them but now he’s pleased to see how well they are improving daily. I think the fact they are laying and have all perked up quite dramatically shows how well they are adjusting to their new lives.