When the blog was going strong a few years ago I wrote about getting Hilda (large white Sussex in the middle of the photo left) and her seven brothers(!!) and bringing them up until I finally had to give the cockerels away (Well actually a friend killed one for me but it was such an awful experience ‘helping’ her that I resolved never to eat our own chickens.
Later, when Hilda went broody I bought a dozen fertilized eggs for her to sit on in the same cage she had lived in as a chick.
Her chicks grew into five hens and seven cockerels so I had to give six of the boys away. Hector (centre picture ) is now fully grown and in charge of the chicken run. He’s a pure bred Maran as far as I know and has a very pleasant temperament MOST of the time. The hens are called Harriet, Henrietta, Heidi, Beebop and Lulu but I can’t tell the last two, who are all black, apart! They soon learned to get on with Henny-Penny, Hilda and the rest of the original flock who have since died.
They either died a natural death, or, as in two cases. became terminally ill and a neighbour had to put them out of their misery.
Just behind Hilda is Henny-Penny, the black hen is Hermione (I think) and the brown one is Harriet.
Henrietta went broody and sat on five eggs (fathered by Hector) but only one hatched. For a long time I thought she was a boy as she was very feisty and seemed to have large feet but, no it was a hen and I called her Hermione. Henrietta was not a kind mother and soon got fed up with her baby so I searched for some more chicks on the internet and found six two month old bantams which I bought and introduced to six week old Hermione. They got on well together and eventually moved into the small henhouse.
It turned out that one of them was a cockerel (top left) who is called Bertie and he’s a miniature version of Hector. Unfortunately, now that he’s mature , Hector doesn’t like him and so I either have to keep him in the henhouse with run, or let him come over the fence and share the other part of the garden with the cats and dog. He is such a character that I really would like to keep him but it’s not exactly practical.
He has also escaped into the neighbour’s garden and I hope I don’t have to disturb her too often to fetch him back.
It was some time before I could name the bantams as they all looked much the same when they were young but once they developed their feathers I could tell them apart and so there’s Beatrice (Beattie), Briony, Barbara and Belinda. Sadly, I found one of them dead quite early on before they were named.
Belinda was the first to start laying and she decided to go broody in September. I bought some full sized eggs and gave her six to sit one. She came to live in the cage in the conservatory and on October 19th I could hear cheeps from underneath her and five out of the six eggs hatched.
Come back to read Belinda’s story next time.