We have chickens! The run arrived early January but it took us until the Easter holidays to finally get round to getting the chooks.
So far they’ve dutifully stayed inside the garden gate, but this afternoon one of them sneaked out while I wasn’t looking. I don’t know how – I was in the garden myself at the time but I saw and heard nothing.
Earlier I’d been cleaning their house. Two of the chickens took great interest in this, hopping in and out of the coop and generally failing to be helpful. They continued to pop in for regular progress updates while I waited for the floor to dry. Eventually I got the hint that they wanted some alone-time in the nest box (that, and the floor had finally dried) so I put their bed back down.
Hazel Chicken went straight into the nest box and settled down to lay her egg. It was then that I realised there were only two other chickens in the garden. Ivy Chicken, our speckledy hen, was nowhere to be seen.
My first thought was that she’d sneaked into the house (they are really keen to come indoors, but as Holly is still determined to eat them this is a Bad Idea). My second was that she’s found a secret place in the garden to lay her egg.
No sign of Ivy Chicken in the garden, so I went upstairs to double check she wasn’t in the house and to see if I could spy her out of the window. Sure enough, I caught a glimpse of a chicken inspecting my neighbour’s daffodils.
My Taller Half checked out my neighbour’s garden. As there’s not much of a fence between the garden and the main road, I headed off to look for signs of roadkill. No sign of chickens. Had she wandered off with the ducks on their circuit of Wolsingham gardens?
While My Taller Half checked out the Duck Route, I had a look in the nest box. This had previously been occupied by Hazel Chicken, and I’d already retrieved her egg so I know for sure Ivy Chicken wasn’t there earlier. But guess who was settled down in the nest box waiting for her egg? Yup, don’t know how she sneaked past us both, but Ivy Chicken was back home. That, or as My Taller Half believes, I was hallucinating.
Our chickens came from Durham Hens in Tow Law. They have a good selection of hybrids and pure breeds, and our chooks were very quick to settle in and were easy to handle from day one.
We were planning to get rescue chickens from the British Hen Welfare Trust. Unfortunately we were never available on their rehoming days. Maybe next time…
Our chicken run is the Midi Dell by Smiths Sectional Buildings. The build quality is excellent, and the run is pretty and blends into our garden.