Sadly we lost our eldest hen a few days ago, she was an amazing bird, very sociable and much loved she lived to the grand age of 11. We still need lovely fresh eggs and our other girls are now slowing down in this department so today we made a trip to our favourite chicken suppliers at Moonridge Farm and acquired four young ladies. Bought at 12 weeks old they will soon settle in and start producing lovely eggs for us.
So why do we do it, well apart from the eggs they make lovely pets and have a carbon neutral footprint. They don’t smell, produce very little poo to clean up and are great entertainment, they make super pets much better than any rabbit or guinea pig I have ever had. They eat up all sorts that would find its way to the compost heap and then produce lovely rich droppings that can be used on the garden; the soiled bedding goes in to the compost heap and produces wonderful rich manure. They eat slugs and weeds but will also have a nibble at your veg garden if they get the chance so a bit of planning around this is advisable.
Chickens are social, funny animals who love socializing with each other, digging up gardens, eating grapes, and (sometimes) cuddling with their best human friends.
Here are some surprising reasons chickens are awesome!
Just Like People, They Have Funny Quirks
Living with chickens means appreciating their individual quirks, like when they take naps with their head through openings in fences. Watching chickens playfully chase each other is a great way to start the day. Chickens are quite social and need chicken friends to thrive. Chickens like to gossip, squabble, make best friends, share food, dust-bathe and sun-bathe together. They all celebrate with joyous song when one of them lays an egg!
Chickens are (Usually) Excellent Gardeners
If you need some weeding done, chickens are willing partners in the fight against unwanted plants. Okay, they are actually also opportunist plant destroyers so keep your favourite flower pots away from curious birds!
They Will Freak You Out When They Sun-Bathe
When chickens luxuriate in sunlight, you’ll rush out to make sure your chicken friend is still alive. They think it is hilarious when you do this. You don’t. Chickens sun-bathe for the same reason we need exposure to sunlight – they get vitamin D from it!
Chickens Love People
If you spend enough time with chickens, they will come to trust you. When that happens, they may hop into your lap for cuddles. Adorable! They talk and chatter and will cheer you on as you do jobs around the garden or even the house if they can sneek in. The dawn chorus may not be sung in tune but it is a very welcome start to the day and you know a breakfast egg will soon follow.
The British Hen Welfare Trust is well-known for its pioneering work in re-homing commercial laying hens and, through its nationwide team of 600+ volunteers, has found homes for more than 620,000 hens since hatching in 2005. As well as finding homes for hens, the charity also educates the public on how they can make a difference to hen welfare through their shopping basket and eating habits. We only have room for a few birds and need a regular supply of eggs so sadly weren’t able to take any from BHWT this time but will always support their wonderful work when possible .
Feeling inspired? Anyone interested in giving a few down-on-their-cluck hens a second chance is urged to register on their website at www.bhwt.org.uk and then call 01884 860084.
Please note that hens need to be reserved in advance of the re-homing day and, whilst the feel good factor of saving these hens from slaughter comes free of charge, the charity asks for a donation to help cover its costs.