Friday, 21 May 2010
Life with our girls!
These are my wonderful girls! Gertrude (top) and Matilda (bottom).
For my boys birthday this year (both born in Feb), my very bestest friend, bought them a "rent a hen" from a local farm! Sam chicken (named by the boys) is our rent a hen for the next year. She is a beautiful black Road Rock with Brown flecks on the head and breast. Every 2 weeks we can visit Sam and collect 6 eggs, one of which is always white (not all eggs are Sam's!) We get to enjoy seeing Sam in such a lovely environment with lots of space and freedom, collect Fresh eggs and support a local business. This was the moment our love for chickens was sparked, The boys thought they were going to get to keep Sam and bring her home, this took a lot of explaining and soon the questions of having our own chickens were being asked.
I have very fond memories of looking after our chickens as a child, hatching eggs in the incubator, watching the chicks grow, mixing up their mash every day and cleaning out their bucket of water on a Sunday morning with the hose pipe. This sticks in my mind very strongly.
I must have been about 8 years old, the bucket was too heavy to carry down the garden so every day i topped it up with water from a watering can. Sunday was "clean out day" though. This meant pouring away the water, spraying it out with the hose and re-filling. But being so small meant i could only carry the bucket half full. i would pick it up and waddle down the drive with the bucket swaying between my knees, sloshing water over my legs and in to my socks! I would then have to repeat this with a watering can full of water to top it up, once i had placed it in the chicken run!
Another strong memory stays with me, collecting the eggs! Some of the chickens were friendly and some were not! i had a little yellow spade to push under the chicken in the nest box and leaver them up so i could get my little hand in and grab the fresh, warm eggs!
I wanted this for my boys! Fresh eggs, caring for a creature and getting a prize in the morning!
So after a couple of weeks of thinking, I ordered a coop from EBay and visited "rent a hen"! That's where we got our Beautiful girls from! They are about 18 weeks old and have such different personalities! Gertrude is the boss, she is the brave one who checks out new places to explore (like the house!) and new plants to pull up! she is very protective of her best friend Matilda, has chased the dog away for getting to close and told me off for picking her friend up!
Matilda is the delicate one, the follower, the baby of the pair! her eggs are still quite small and she relies on Gertrude to make sure everything is OK with their world!
We love them! we feed them, hold them, give them veg scraps and other treats and in return they give us wonderful eggs every day! we have already had 2 double yokers!! another childhood memory i was happy to share with my boys!
They are the ultimate recycling machines! Even their waste is useful! i very quickly bought a compost bin for their used bedding and droppings to go in! all this will be re used in my garden once it has composted down! And no doubt the girls will enjoy the extra juicy and succulent plants and veg that grows in their "home made soil!"
I really can't think of a better pet!!