Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Feathered Friends

Being brought up watching The Good Life changes what you want in life. Three little hens have made me more excited than a designer handbag or posh shoes ever could. I've always wanted chickens. I love their comical expressions and their busy little ways. And now, officially we are a hen family. At last!
My lovely family knew about my dream and surprised me with a very early birthday and Christmas present of a lovely hen house and run which we could never have stretched to. The view down the garden is looking a little different now. And today we did the exciting bit and brought home some feathered friends from the farm up the road. So here are the girls...
Ethel is a Black Rock hen with the darkest of feathers and a beautiful gold fringe around her neck.
Dottie (Dorothea) looks a little fierce in this picture doesn't she, but she's got the makings of a supermodel. She's a Cuckoo Maran cross called a Speckled Star.
And hiding at the back is Flo (Florence), a lovely bright Light Sussex.Our ladies are all hybrid hens which are supposed to be easy to look after for beginners (phew), good layers and should stand up to our harsh moorland winters.

They're all tucked up for the night now and tomorrow we can let them out into their run because for now we're keeping them off the garden. Perhaps in the autumn and winter we'll let them range around the beds but they've got plenty of space in the run, and flowers and chickens I understand don't really mix.
And the flowers are starting to perk up again here. The warm weather has brought on the late summer stars. Hot, strong colours are pushing through the green again.
And we've been sitting back enjoying it all. I keep finding little friends amongst the flowers.
And now we have some feathered friends to join us to. Looking foward to those eggs so much.

38 comments:

Alijane said...

Love your girls,they are real beauties. We have three hens too, have had them since May. I love to watch them, they are such funny little things.

Ours love a little treat of sweet corn and go mad for bacon rind or the fat on ham. They also love raisins.

Enjoy them, best not let them in your garden they do eat everything. We have fenced off the top of our garden so they have plenty of room to dig and scratch.

Alison

Pipany said...

Oh that's fantastic Steph! I'm so excited for you and I know you'll have such fun with them. We really enjoy keeping hens and there is something so special about collecting your own eggs. Do keep them off your beds though or you'll have nothing left. have fun x

Sandi said...

I love chickens and used to have them years ago, circumstances have prevented me from having them since. We had them free range, they never ate any flowers but would scratch around and wreck the garden that way. We had the veggie garden enclosed because they would have eaten it all. I just know you are going to enjoy them.
x Sandi

Hen said...

That's brill news! What better early birthday/xmas pressie...
Hen x
P.S. Your garden is looking lovely.

Gill said...

I'm sooooo jealous. I too was brought up on The Good Life so I know exactly what you mean. We live in a private rent so unfortunately there'll be no hens for us but I keep hoping one day we'll have a place of our own. Good luck to you and your girls. I look forward to more adventures!

Love and stuff xx

Rose H (UK) said...

What gorgeous girls Steph - I admit to being more than a little green...(I still watch the Good Life re-runs) You are certainly going to get a lot of entertainment value along with the eggs!
Your garden is looking SO lovely, you'll have to keep the hens off it for now.
Enjoy the new chooks - looking forward to reading about their escapades :o)

Sandie said...

Does that mean you'll have to change your blog name to 'Hen Country'? LOL!
I'm just a tad envious.... I'd love hens but unable to keep them where I live, even though it's in the countryside!

Enjoy them my lovely and ? an early Birthday wishes for you from me.

Sandie xx

Joanne said...

I love it!...so happy for you!
We have hens also and so enjoy them!
Thanks for sharing your lovely photos with us!
Joanne

Frances said...

Oh, as a city bound person with no chance at all for such splendor, I so admire those portraits of your magnificent newly acquired hens.

They are bound to love being part of your household, and I bet that your boys are going love learning all about hens and eggs, and all that will develop.

Might I also comment how beautiful your garden looks!

Happy birthday!

Claire said...

So Steph, who gets to eat the first egg?

You can't beat having chooks, they're so much fun to watch and you can't beat eggs laid by your own hens.

They an be destructive little machines but if you're outside gardening where you can keep an eye on them I'm sure you could let them out for a while.

They're great little helpers when you're digging and weeding and will be there right by your side. Their eagle eyes never missing a worm or other creepy crawly that you might did up.

Enjoy them, look forward to reading about their antics.
Righto better go and put my lot away they've just, discovered the silverbeet!

Claire :}

driftwood said...

oh so lovely! enjoy.! we got 4 hens at Easter, we love them, they stay in their run all the time too, we make sure they have things to climb on and a dust bath and they are happy enough, we were advised if you let them out sometimes they always want to be out and will fuss about it... how long till the first egg?

fallingonabruise said...

Well done on getting such a thoughtful present, hope you have years of pleasure from them,
We are now up to 31 since rescueing 25 from the chicken factory farm that were due to be slaughtered. Can't wait for thier feathers to grow back again, they look a right state!
x

Rubyred said...

Your family are so thoughtful , what a lovely gift!
Betcha can't wait for the fist egg!
Your garden is looking wonderful too!
Have a lovely weekend with your new gals!
Rachel x

Anonymous said...

Lovely post - how I envy you keeping hens. I'd love to have some too but the deeds of our house say we cannot keep fowl of any sort - boooo!

Tasha

periwinkle said...

Oh wow lucky you , they are little beauties x

Karen said...

Ooh I am feeling so jealous too - I really would love some hens but it just isn't practical in our tiny garden. They look beautiful and I am sure that they will bring you such fun and of course lovely eggs.x

a mermaids purse said...

how wonderful - lovely hens and house ;0)...your garden is blooming lovely x kazzy x

charlottesplot said...

How wonderful. I want hens, but just don't think we have the room, and now that I've taken out the lawn, I'm not sure that hens would have much fun, except in amongst my flowers ... Your garden is looking very lovely, mine is being flattened by the rain at the moment.

Toffeeapple said...

How lovely for you all, you'll be getting beautifully fresh eggs you lucky things. I hope you'll be writing about your girls frequently.

Simone said...

I have three hens too and they bring me so much joy. Unfortunately they will never be free range as a couple of years ago one was killed by a fox in the garden in the middle of an autumn day. Your garden is beautiful. I wish I had so many flowers as you do. My hens like to eat the leaves of my hardy geraniums!

Sue said...

Stripy hens- excellent! Love their typical hen names. My s-i-l's hens are called Sheila, Mabel and Edna, or something like that. You never meet a hen called Harper Seven do you?

Fingers crossed for a sunny last week of the hols ;o)

Justine said...

How wonderful! We've been keeping chickens for about 5 years now and they really are so easy to look after, and so much fun!
Don't be too surprised or concerned if the first few eggs your chooks lay have paper-thin shells which are squashed before you even get a chance to get them out of the nesting box. Should only last for the first week or so of them laying.
And you're right to keep them away from your flowers, unless of course you'd like your beds stripped back to almost nothing?!

Nattie said...

oooh I do love a light sussex, enjoy your hens, they are such funny happy creatures..
Pretty garden too...
Nattie x

Magic Cochin said...

Lovely hens :-) and a great choice.

Cuckoo Maran hybrids are especially gorgeous birds - my 2 are now nearly 5 years old and still laying almost every day - such adorable characters too.

Celia

Sew Recycled said...

I am really jealous! Im not allowed chickens as we get so many foxes in our urban garden! I will be keeping an eye on your lovely ladies!
Emx

Please may I? said...

Bless what a lovely addition to the family. I shall be very interested to hear how you get one with the new family members.


Your garden looks lovely too.

X x

Cathy said...

Oh, I am sooo jealous! I have always wanted chickens but I don't have the space here. I hope you soon get some eggs from your gorgeous girls!
Cathy X

Barrijayne said...

One day I too will have a big garden and chickens. What a lovely present! The chickens are so cute, let's hope you do get lots of eggs. Bet they'll taste amazing. Photos are gorgeous xx

Christals Creations said...

Gorgeous garden. Lovely hens. Lucky you. Hope you have lots of luck with the hens. xx

Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

Awwww congrats!! We just got 3 new girls too. I keep saying it but a home ain't a home without hens! :)

mrsgreentoad said...

how sweet, plus think of all them eggs you will be eating lucky girl Xx

melanie said...

Your hens and garden are gorgeous!!! Such a lovely post :) xxx

Kate said...

Little beauties! What a lovely gift from your family. If only we had to the space to have chickens but we only have a tiny backyard. One day maybe! K xx

LandGirl1980 said...

Oh what a lovely gift!

prettyshabby said...

ahh steph how fab! love the names too.I bet the boys are fascinated by them..and the cats! xx

Beakery said...

oooh! how EXCITING! I am now wandering around the house humming the theme tune to The Good Life. I would love to live next door to Margot and Gerry, with Tom and Barbara on the other side. Heeheehee. Now THAT was proper telly!
Have lots of chickeny type fun!x

Sara said...

Hurray hurray hurray! I keep hens too and I can't express how much joy and laughter they bring!

Your girls look beautiful! From the pics it looks like they're still a month or so off of their first lay - you will not believe the THRILL of discovering those first eggs in the nesting box.

If you have any hen-keeping questions, feel free to drop me a line! I'm always looking for people to talk chicken madness with :)
You can see my girls here: http://wonderland.starma.co.uk/?m=20110615

You're right to keep them off the garden - mine *ruined* mine - but I suspect when they're a bit bigger and a bit bossier you'll find yourself wanting to extend their run. Those girls can be very demanding! ;)

Katy Noelle said...

An hysterical venture - that's what life with those silly little dinosaurs is like! My husband is getting crazier about chickens and eggs, every year - I don't quite understand but, even though I love the silly girls, I would love to connect my foot with their fluffy chicken b...s when they're picking at my plants in the garden.....except.....no bugs....where did they all go???=]