Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hen Party!


A post all about the hens and the ravages they have wrought in the garden!
Pic of them congregated on the windowsill, they are inclined to gather here or at the patio door if they want to be fed.Sometimes they turn over the feed bin and I don't refill it fast enough for them so they draw my attention like this!
A couple of times one of them has actually turned it over on top of herself getting trapped in the process and the other 3 come down to the window or patio door and keep pecking until I go out and free the luckless hen that is under the bin!

Pic taken in April when the first 2 hens arrived, note the lovely sward of green grass and the precise edging of bark mulch?


Pic taken today!
They have turned the whole area into a quagmire of mud and er...organic matter.I had to move the coop down the garden, note the sorry looking tin tub and the small brown window trough.
With 20/20 hindsight I should have had normal grass well rooted before getting the hens as I put down rolls of grass which had no root system and they scraped it up within a matter of weeks!

My stone flowerbed last year with campanula cascading over the side, there were lots of flowers that come up every year and it was also the resting place for trays of plants waiting to go out to the allotment.

Same flower bed today!

The tin tub early in the year, there were hyacinths, lillies and daffodills which came up in their season so there was always something in bloom in it.

The small brown window trough early this year,the hens ignored it for quite a while but then developed a taste for pansies and it became the sorry sight in the earlier pic!

The centre bed taken today, I had to move the coop down and it was the only place level enough for it.They had already cleared a space for it!

The same centre bed last year.

The old fashioned peony rose and the lupins last year in the centre bed.
The 4 ladies have dug up every bulb in the garden and any pots they can get up to or into.They can shift earth and gravel in a most determined manner if they think there is anything under it.
Even if they are out of sight of the patio door they can hear it opening and come flying down the garden to see if they are getting any tidbits handed out.Dinner left overs such as potato skins etc are devoured in seconds and they chase each other around to get the last little bit.
I was speaking to a lady on the allotments recently about them and she said they kept hens at home when she was young, her mother never kept hens over the winter months as they usually laid less in the shorter ,darker days.The hens were killed for the table and they got a new batch of chicks in the new year to replace them.
I cannot see myself sitting down to eat the girls?!
They provide hours of interest and amusement with their antics and continue to lay 4 eggs every day.

Pumpkin Update
The largest pumpkin weighed in at 55 kgs!

10 comments:

Kathleen said...

OMG! Which is worse a young puppy or those 4 hens!When I saw the title of your post I was trying to think who is getting married soon then realised it was a feathered hen party post!
They have indeed caused havoc but I guess the upside is fresh eggs every day and endless hours of amusement!

Theanne and Baron said...

Oh my Peggy, did I forget to mention that chickens will eat everything in sight (that's edible). Even if you'd had established grass they'd of eaten it...searching for worms and insects and loving the grass it self. My mother used to do what was called culling the flock...she'd have baked biddy with the older hens keep the inbetween hens to lay and get new little ones in the spring. We had a lot of chickens...you only have 4 and it's easy to get attached. I like that they come and look in the window and let you know when another hen is in distress.

I'm happy you've taken up painting and drawing again...it is a creative thing to do and I find it very peaceful and soothing!

Ann said...

I bet you didn't know they'd be so entertaining! Or destructive, you'll have to end up with fake plants if you want a bit of colour lol!!! I did enjoy this post, I think birds are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for, and hens especially. I wouldn't be able to eat them either. How long do they live naturally, do you know?

Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

They sure did make short work of your garden :)
I understand!! Mine are only bantams but they can wreak havoc still!! I'd never be without them though.
Your pumpkins are amazing! I hope I get some this summer/autumn...

Why I garden... said...

What hungry hens you have! Hens seem to be quite a bit of hassle... all that mischief they get up to. I like the idea of having hens but I don't eat many eggs so no point I suppose. 55kgs is 121 pounds - that's a BIG pumpkin (I think in pounds).

W. Latane Barton said...

hmmm. Decision time.... the hens....or the flowers!!

Anna Bee said...

Do you think you could get them to dig your allotment? They seem very thorough and efficient!

Linda said...

They seem a force to be reckoned with! Amazing what tiny beaks and claws will do.

Matron said...

yes, I agree with the dilemma. We look after chickens some times. Much better to keep them cooped up for the sake of the garden. Another down side is that Leo eats the poo!

Scarlett Cannon - Heavenly Healer Glamorous Gardener said...

Oh Peggy, I'm kind of chuckling, not at you but with you, because I imagine you have to laugh or you'd cry! I am always SO envious of those who are able to keep chickens, but after seeing your pictures I envy no more!