After the events of last week, with “murder in a French orchard” we went out and bought 3 new laying hens to keep Ruby company. Hens are back in the veggie garden coop, so they’re closer to the house and (we hope) safer.
Anyway, before I do the introductions . . . first, let me tot up the number of eggs this month. Before their untimely deaths on 23rd Sept, Mauricette had laid 12 eggs and Florence had laid 18. Ruby, understandably, has been a bit off her laying since, what with seeing two hens killed before her eyes, and then having 3 new companions arrive. She laid a total of 21 eggs this month. Big surprise, only a few days after the new girls arrived – they started laying. Only tiny eggs for now, but we’ve had a total of 13 small eggs in the last 7 days. Which makes a total of 64 eggs for September. I think in future, I’ll stop the “best layer” posts, and simply do a monthly round-up of hen life. I haven’t been able to identify who is laying what, so from October, I’ll just do a monthly hen & egg-count update.
In the meantime, let me introduce you to the new hens!
Here they are, on day 3, when they finally felt brave enough to come down the ramp and start exploring.
This is Doris – a red hen. She doesn’t appear to have the same dark brown tail feathers as Ruby, and she’s a darker red, so I shouldn’t have any trouble telling the two apart when Ruby’s feathers all grow back.
Agatha is a black & tan. She seems the less adventurous of the three. She’s also quite happy to be picked up for a stroke.
Rita who is a French blue. She’s a much lighter silver grey than Mauricette (who was also a French blue) but, like Mauricette, she is a very large bird.
We had some fun & games in the first days. Despite clipping flight feathers on left wing, on the 3 new gals, they were managing to helicopter out of the enclosure. But after adding some extra netting higher up, we seem to have solved our Houdini problem. There is also a certain amount of confusion at bed-time with Rita heading up the ramp, closely followed by Doris, then Agatha . . . only for Rita to turn around at the top and want to come back down. This causes a hen-jam on the ramp before Rita does another 180° turn and goes to bed properly. It’s early days yet though. On the whole, they seem to have settled in very well.