Sunday, 14 August 2011

Farewell my lovely hens. The end of a chapter!

Speckledy, Snowflake & Chickie meeting their new pals

While everything's been busy on rubbish front, there's been a lot happening in the background too.

A few weeks ago, I took the really difficult decision to rehome our chickens, our three lovely hens which we introduced to the family around two and a half years ago, and which had become well-loved pets.   However, since the spring, coinciding with a lot more bird activity in our garden, the hens had become very lively and loud and I have spent much time trying to calm them down and living on tenterhooks that we'd get compaints from the neighbours.

Then one day we did.  An apologetic appeal from a neighbour asking if we could quieten them, particular at dawn.  Don't get me wrong, she's a lovely lady.  She didn't want to complain, but I understood what she meant. We live in a tightly packed modern housing development.  They probably weren't making any excessive noise for chickens and if the houses were more dispersed I may have felt less conscious, but and that day marked the turning point for a very difficult decision which was to find a better home for them.  I'd been spending months feeling tense, darting into the garden whenever the clucking got louder than normal.

But, geez did I feel that I'd failed.  I'm a person that believes in commitment.  These chickens were our pets and even at the beginning of the year, my expectations were that we would have them until they passed away.  They were good layers, were full of character and brought something special to our lives.  The day I decided to rehome them, I knew I'd miss them, but I also knew that I couldn't continue with neighbourly disturbances either. 

Moving Day came two weeks ago.   A good friend of mine, who lives in the countryside, said that she could take them.  She's kept hens for a long time and had plenty of room for more. So with floods of tears to accompany the dismantling of the coop, we set about moving the threesome to their new a chicken run, which was the size of our entire garden, with the opportunity to spend their days foraging in a neighbouring field.  Once the new pecking order would be established, I just knew their new home would be more suited to their needs. However, that didn't stop the tears during the drive back home.

It's certainly quieter around this way since they've left.  The garden still feels empty and my routines haven't quite got used to their absence.  The first time we had leftover scraps, I automatically reached for the kitchen door to take them down to the chicken run.  I know our youngest misses them too, even though the run has since been turned into a den with its own jungle camp and shelter,

In different circumstances we will most definitely return to hen-keeping.  Should we ever move into a house with a bigger garden in a more spacious neighbourhood, we would gladly welcome more feathered characters into our lives.

In the meantime, I've got plenty of opportunity to visit our three lovely girls and can't thank my friend enough for having them and making this possible.

And as for the food scraps, for us, it's back to the art of worm-keeping.  Not quite as much fun, but certainly quieter.  Thank goodness we've got a seven year old who also loves worms!


Karin said...

Sorry to hear you had to say 'goodbye' to your 'girls', but it sounds like you've done the best thing for them under the circumstances. In fact, if the pecking order business doesn't cause them a problem, they may well be happier than before.

Ours only make a real racket if they are locked in and want their breakfast or sometimes if they've laid an egg. To get over the first problem we've stopped pulling their ladder up at nights. After all if their home is safe in the day time, why shouldn't it be just as safe at night?

Hope you get the chance to keep chickens again one day.

Tattie Weasle said...

Really sorry to hear that they had to go...I know that with my hens and cockerels that they do get a tad loud, at least that is what our visitors say but I am lucky I live in the backwoods so to speak. I am sure you'll have hens again one day!

Almost Mrs Average said...

Thank you Karin & Tattie Weasle. I went to visit the hens yesterday having left them to settle into their new home for a couple of weeks. It was amazing how they came darting over to us. It really felt as though they recognised us. They have really settled into their new home, which was great to see.

Emma said...

Sorry that you had to rehome your girls, but I'm glad they're settling in and you can visit. Ours are sometimes nosy, but no worse than dogs (or children, or seagulls) and our closest neighbours seem to like them. But, as you say, it's concerning when they're having a noisy day!

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