Hens 2016

New digs for the new year...

Finally, the new pen and plantings are done and the girls have a much larger area to exist in when not out in the orchard. It seems to meet with their approval. The panelled walls are 2100 high by 1050 wide and the pen measures 5500x4000.

Happenings April
Hens are funny creatures. They have a definite personality and who would guess that they are at all concerned about their looks! This is the first time any of the hens have moulted. I have read about it alot and seen pics of other hens but mine have always had a fairly good feather cover. Well, Cag has turned into butt-ugly. She is usually all puff and fluff, lookin good and knowing it. Strutting her stuff and making sure the others knew who was top dog in the glamour stakes .... until now .....

Not pretty and she has turned into a shy, retreating scaredy cat. She won't come when called and hides behind bushes. I've had the giggles everytime I go do the morning hen stuff and have had to supress them and tell her she is ab fab just so she comes out to get some breakfast goodies.

I know there must be some deal going on in the hen psych as to why they act this way, I would imagine it is because they feel vulnerable due to size and lack of covering but it still makes me chuckle, to myself of course! :D It will not be long before she is all up in ya face and gorgeous again!

Monarch catapillars have taken a liking to everywhere there is a vertical surface to climb and pupate. They just love the henhouse! I have counted 23 at one time.

Happenings March
The girls have settled in their new pen. They head out into the orchard after their breakfast treats and spend the day going back and forth finding bugs and following the sun. The crazy pumpkins are taking over, growing up the pen walls and the tomatoes, which turned out to be an oval red roma, are plucked by the girls as soon as they ripen.

In the pen there is a fresh water drinking system. I made this to stop the wild birds from polluting the girls water with their poop. It involves a jerry-can water supply, 3 stainless steel little water dispensers and a piece of water pipe. It worked really well until Lou Lou figured that if she whacked it straight upwards the little water release thingy would pop right up into the pipe, opening the flow and the water would just drizzle out in a continual stream. Who needs a smart hen! Needless to say, I am looking for a different dispenser so it is back to the bucket for now..

I planted lots of lavender cuttings around the pen and surrounded each cutting with bricks. The original lavender planted throughout the orchard was dug out by the busy feet of Henrietta, Harriet and Hilda. These ones have been so far been safe although some of it has been sat on.

Happenings February
The hens have been very clever and have started growing their own food! They have two tomatoes and two either pumpkins or cucumbers, I don't know which of the two they are yet as both veg have been fed to them from the potager. They scratch and peck around the plants but so far have not pecked them.

A while ago we had to remove one of the olives from above the pond, my favourite one, which had been wind damaged and was un-recoverable. We removed the big branches and the trunk has been put to good use in the hen pen as a roost support and climbing pole. I'm so glad it is still around.