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Replacement Chickens! Pets or wildlife?


This has been posted under wildlife rather than the pets category due to the reasons behind the new chickens!
We have a mixed bag of common or garden hens, one cockerell and the little Pekin cockerell who frightens Boris the Gander so much.
They have a big fenced in run with huts to roost in and this has a large door which is opened during the day to allow them to forage on the meadow. The meadow is surrounded by sheep netting and various hedges.
Over the last two weeks we have had a visit from the fox and he has helped himself/herself to a few of the chickens. The Guinea Fowl are probably the best alarms to let me know that the fox is about and will give their alarm call, stand in a line facing the hedge and pointing to where the fox is on the outside of the wire. Should it be inside they have been known to chase the fox up the field! When they start calling the Peacocks join in, followed by the Geese, so you have a good idea there is something about.
Sadly it is usually too late to save the chicken, but I did manage to find one which had obviously been caught – it was sitting amongst the nettles, half plucked, gasping and with blood leaking from it’s beak. Making a wheezing noise too, so I thought it had something vital punctured and would probably not survive. However a quiet rest in a rabbit hutch and within the hour it was desperate to get out of the hutch again!
We keep them shut in for a few days while we plod the boundary and look for any holes, breaks or entrance points.
Having lost several, the fox always takes the best, it was time to replace some. Off to the auction and home with a car full of tatty looking ex-battery or deep-litter hens. Also five mixed hens of various breeds, probably unwanted from someone’s garden plot.
Also bought some setting eggs as we had about five hens who decided now was the time to sit! Of course having bought the eggs, they decided it wasn’t! Now I had some expensive eggs and no-one to sit on them – the incubator is full of little call-duck eggs for my daughter. One hen was fine until I shut her in with a practice couple of eggs, then she ate all the food in the hut and proceeded to create h—- until I had to put her back in the run, the next one was happy with the two eggs overnight and now has the new ones, so hopefully all will be well now.
Sorry about the length of this blog I was just going to give you a run-down and post some pictures of the new girls, but wanted to give you the reason for them!
Now onto the pictures of the hens who are slowly getting used to all the freedom that they have.

Don’t know if it’s marching, or just trying to keep it’s feet out of the wet.

Plump, pretty speckly hen.

Another speckly hen

Bit of moulting to do to cover up those tatty feathers!

The doorway to freedom!

Collection of logs and bars to sit on in the wet, or when we get back to sunshine – to sunbathe!

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Its a menagerie! Thanks for sharing, shsme about the fox, one had next doors too....she has new one now but its such a worry

29 May, 2014


Very interesting Honey, I hope foxy doesn't get your new hens...

29 May, 2014


You do have quite a menagerie there! I'd love to see the guinea fowl lined up staring at the fox. The freed chickens must be so happy with their new life.

29 May, 2014


How nice to have chickens and other birds. I always think I'd like to keep hens but I don't think I could deal with finding half-dead ones. You can't blame a fox for doing what a fox does but I hope he doesn't pay you any more visits and your girls thrive.

29 May, 2014


Thank you all for your comments and Tuesdaybear I agree you can't blame the fox really for taking an easy meal to probably feed it's own family. Most of our chickens have been ex-battery and whether this is why they all pay no attention to a predator, or whether all chickens have now had the danger/predator/run! bred out of them, I don't know. I have seen the chickens just wandering about while a fox is running about the field and it's not because they are used to a dog, as we don't have one!
Snoopdog - They always take them during the day as the chickens go back into the run about 4pm and are shut in for the night.
It's lovely to watch the new chickens every time we get some, learning to venture out, discovering grass for the first time and being able to scrap in the ground, even ex-batteries who have never had room to scrap do that automatically, shame the run away bit isn't automatic too!

29 May, 2014


I think nature is very cruel sometimes. I see my cat terrorising a shrew and it makes me feel angry, but I love the cat !
Foxes are beautiful animals, but so cruel :( I am sorry to hear about your hens. I hope you can do something to deter the foxes.

I have a phobia of birds so I couldn't look at your photos ... sorry. I'm sure your hens are beautiful,

and I'm pleased to know you have rescued some battery ones. I hate the way humans treat animals !
They are just as cruel as cats and foxes ... and they know what they're doing ... which makes it worse :((

30 May, 2014


Snoopdog - there's a thought, an anorexic me in a frock waving my arms about, slightly frightening and reminds me of the films with mad old ladies with lots of animals!

For Hywel - I agree that nature is cruel, we have lots of Carrion Crows, Magpies and Jackdaws as well as a visiting Squirrel, all of which will take young birds if given the chance. We have lost several fledgling Blackbirds to one or the other and the distress calls from the parents get me running making a lot of noise to chase them away, sadly I can't be there all the time. I understand your bird phobia as my daughter is the same, though she can keep chickens, as long as she is not shut in with them or they don't 'flap'. But show her a low flying pigeon and that's it!

30 May, 2014


Uh! :( Pigeons are the worst of all. They don't fly away.
In fact they always come towards me :( and I'm always zig-zagging my way along, to try and avoid them :( lol ...
I sympathise with your daughter ...

30 May, 2014


I've been looking through your blogs Hs (seems odd calling you honey) all very interesting. It must be fun having all those lovely birds. At my old house I kept a couple of silkies, mother and daughter, such tame, friendly little things. Fox got them after a few years and all I found was 1 headless body. Also lost a young crow which I'd rescued, he was fantastic and wasn't bothered about my cat or dogs. Once he could fly a bit, it became more difficult to get him in for the night ... You guessed it ...another meal for Reynard:-(
It must be a wonderful feeling to watch the ex battery girls find freedom:-)

28 Nov, 2014


Hi Bornagain, My Mother always kept Silkies, they were the large size ones, my daughter kept the bantams sized ones. They are adorable, but do get in a state if it's muddy! Mind you, we have a little Bantam Cock with large feathers on his feet, who is a horror! He chases Boris the goose and thinks he is lord of the whole field. At the moment with all the rain and mud and him moulting/growing in new feathers, he doesn't look like the lord of anything!
We get loads of wild birds, the Rooks from up the road rookery bring all their young, every year, down to our chicken run to feed, just until they get a bit bigger and can fend for themselves. The Peacocks food tray gets cleared by Collared Doves, Wood pigeons, Jackdaws and Magpies and that's without the nightly forageing mice!

30 Nov, 2014


What a fantastic way of life:-)

3 Dec, 2014

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