If you read the previous -post you’ll know that Belinda hatched five chicks and looked after them admirably. The only problem was that she insisted on tearing up the newspaper at the bottom of the cage and filling the drinker with it so I had to keep replenishing the water.
When I cleaned them out i set Mother and babies loose in the conservatory and they enjoyed spreading their wings and exploring. At first they all kept close together but they gradually became more independent.
When Belinda started laying again and her brood had grown almost as big as she was (they were full sized chickens) I tried reintroducing Belinda to her friends back in the garden but they were cruel to her.
Bertie was the worst; he really attacked her and Beattie and Briony joined in.
She stuck it out for two days and then I brought her back to be with her babies.
A week or so later I tried putting her with the ‘big’ ones but she was traumatised so i brought a poor trembling Belinda back indoors.
The only soluton seemed to be that the bantams should be persuaded to share the big chicken house with the others. so that Belinda and her family cold have the small house.
The large house has room for twelve chickens and the run is enclosed with a tarpaulin in an attempt to offer protection from the wind and rain. It has blown off three times already and each time I’ve piled on more slabs so fingers crossed it stays in place during the next gale!
There were some nights when i managed to get everyone inside at bedtime and there weren’t too many altercations but sometimes I had to give in and allow Bertie and one or two of the girls to go back their small house.
So maybe I should give away the bantams.
There was an advert online by a man asking for any birds or animals for a ‘ferme pedagogique’. I rang him on December 23rd and he said he’d come the next day.
The 24th dawned with gale force winds and heavy rain. I got soaked going to let the chickens out and feed them and there was no way I was going to hang around trying to keep the bantams shut in one of the henhouses.
They have this weatherproof shelter where they spent a great deal of time when it’s wet, windy or snowing.
Despite the dreadful weather, however, the man phoned and said he was in Charleville (he came from a town about 40 miles away) and asked for directions to our village.
It was still raining heavily when he arrived and there was no way we could go and chase chickens when they were all roaming free. If they hid in the shelter I for one, can’t get through the door!
So, the only thing I could think of was to let him take Belinda and her chicks.
He explained that he had moved to a place with huge barns and lots of land and they would be inroduced to the chickens and ducks he already had – plus a pony and some sheep. He certanly wasn’t planning to eat any of them.
I was really sad to see them go but I hope Belinda and he babies will be happy in their new home.