Earlier in the year we very sadly lost all of our 7 hens and two adorable ducks to a fox. All our poultry had homemade sturdy housing and were locked up safely every night, but this fox prowled in broad daylight and over the space of a couple of days cleared us out completely. The last two hens had initially escaped but became poorly afterwards and finally died from the shock and horror of it all.
The only survivor of this rural massacre was our large and normally a bit aggressive
and sexually charged cockerel.
but he was not happy after losing all of his girls.
In fact he was miserable.
Some neighbours of ours went on holiday in June and asked us to look after their hens and ducks. They didn't have a male head of house in their flock. So, with our neighbours permission, cockerel, went on a bit of an extended holiday and has been happily servicing a new harem of hens down the road.
Soon he had is mojo back,and he started, as cockerels are prone to do, crowing at first light. Even though we are well past midsummer it is still a pretty early start for my poor neighbour who is pregnant and probably not getting enough sleep as it is.
So last week-end we went shopping for some new hens. As we are approaching winter, it was decided that we would just get 3 hybrids, just coming into lay, that should continue to lay all through the winter.
We used to have some pure breeds and we will again next Spring perhaps. Pure breeds lay less eggs than hybrids, for now I just wanted hens that would keep us in eggs for the next couple of months.
Of course when we got there, the plan changed and Little Bee was allowed to spend some of her birthday money on her own choice of hen.
Hens are notoriously difficult to photograph well. They are rarely just lounging around in the sun waiting to be snapped like a cat or a dog would. So here they are on the move as usual.
Our new flock.
Little Bee's birthday hen is called Betty she's on the left and is a Light Sussex, the lovely grey one is a Bluebell and as such will probably be called er...Bluebell.
Egg layer 1 and egg layer 2 (although one has a more ginger neck than the other so she'll be called Ginger).
They are Rhode Island Red hybrids, they are half the same breed as cockerel. We let all the ladies settle into their new home for a few days. Cockerel was brought home and got to stay in the duck house for a couple of nights so they all could get used to each other through the fence. The red hens are a bit bullish with the other two, but letting Mr. Cockerel in should sort them all out.
Hopefully in a few weeks we should be enjoying our own eggs again.
I've missed having hens about, and cockerel is just delighted to be back in charge on his own patch again.
This is all of them this morning after their first night together!
How can I tell that he's a happy camper?
So......name that hen.
Three of our four new hens have been named, Betty, Bluebell and Ginger.
Please leave a comment with your suggestion for the fourth hen (she's the top one in the picture of the two Rhode Island hybrid red hens)
Actually, by rights Cockerel is no longer an accurate name for himself, as a cockerel is under a year old.
So if anyone wants to suggest a name for him........(this could be good)