Friday, 10 February 2012

RIP Amy the Hen

I went out to collect the eggs yesterday - we had three, which was fantastic, as we have been lucky to get one a day from 9 hens in the last two months. Always an insult when you trudge in and out in the cold and wet to feed them, muck them out, and then have to BUY eggs when you go shopping!
But my delight didn't last long - just next to the bushes behind the henhouse, was a pile of grey feathers. My heart sank as I recognised the stripy ones - they looked suspiciously like the feathers of my FAVORITE hen, Amy. So called because she was a cream legbar - the only hen we had who laid the most beautiful blue eggs - and had a little feathery beehive like the equally ill fated star.  She was a beautiful hen, gorgeous multi-coloured plumage and a very sweet nature.

I feel like a terrible poultry husband. We have moved henhouses recently as the old one was falling apart - to this new one which was a donation from a freind of a friend whose husband found he was allergic to poultry.

This has understandably confused the chooks, who had been sitting on the top of their old henhouse at bedtime. This week they gradually got the hang of it, and we had two consecutive nights of them going to bed as they should.
You screw it to the henhouse, attach the string to the door, et viola!

We use VSB electronic door openers on our hen and duckhouses, which rise with the light and come down at dusk. They are fabulous, and save us the job of getting up at first light and having to be home in time to shut them away. If I had to do this, I don't think I would keep poultry - I need my weekend lie ins! One door opener has failed on oe occasion in three years - not bad at all. And the hens are usually are all tucked away long before the door goes down. But not this time.

I popped out to do a headcount the night before - could have sworn they were all there, but it was dark and cold and I was in a rush...obviously Amy had decided to spend the night outside and the fox took his chance. A friend offered to come and stake it out, and shoot it for us. But foxes are hungry too at this time of year - I don't blame the fox, I blame myself.

I noticed little scratch marks in the grass, around the wire coop bit of the new henhouse. The fox is obviously trying to get in that way. So we have put a 'skirt' of logs and things around the base for now, and Oli will fix chicken wire to the bottom of the run at the weekend as a more permenant measure.

1 comment:

  1. Poor Amy - unfortunately these things happen - same thing happened to one of my ducks because she refused to come in :-(