The last few days have been very interesting and exciting, well for me anyway. Mark just leaves me to it, and nods and smiles in all the right places. Saturday 7th February was the day that we had to go and collect our new chickens. As we had to go down to Southampton to get them, which is about and hour and a half drive away, we decided to make a day of it. So on the way we stopped at The Devils Punch Bowl to have a look around.
We’ve never been here before but it’s a National Trust place that I’ve wanted to visit, but never got round to. We put on our warm coats, gloves, hats and scarves and put our wellingtons in the car and after I’d packed up lunch off we went. It was a cloudy day, dry but rather chilly. The Devils Punch Bowl is very beautiful even in winter, but I can imagine that it’s glorious in the summer. We went on a 3 mile walk following a specific path, which went down and down. When this happens you know that you’ve got to climb up and up at the end. The kids were very excited to see some snow still on the ground. It was very muddy so if you go visit it soon, make sure you take suitable footwear, flip flops just won’t do! We got back to the car park and cafe for lunch and sat inside and ate (we did buy a hot drink each so we were not being that cheeky). As we were eating, I got a text message to say that we could go and pick the chickens up sooner that we were told, so once we’d finished our lunch we got back in the car and drove to the chicken pick up point. I expected that were would be collecting our chickens from a farm, or at least a chicken rescue place, but no. We drove into a car park, and there were several large cages crammed full with chickens. We’d taken 3 large cardboard boxes with us to put them in and had cut holes in the sides for ventilation. I reckoned on 2 birds per box. Some people turned up with crisp boxes and other small boxes. To be honest I was quite stunned by what people though would be good transportation holdalls. When it was our turn she grabbed 6 birds who were all very scared and frightened and shoved 3 in 2 of the boxes. You could have fitted all 6 in one box as our boxes were so large. We then carried them to the car and started the long journey back home. The hens were quiet on the journey back. They were in the dark so they were very subdued. When we got them home we put them straight in their new house. They didn’t mind me picking them up and putting them in. I think they could tell that they were in a lovely place now. We tucked them up and left them for the night. On the Sunday morning they were still very unsure, and it took them ages to come out in their run and get their food. But eventually them got brave and ventured out. They didn’t eat much that first day, but since then, they’ve soon made up for that. I then bought some wire fencing to make their run a little larger and as the days have gone on they love coming out and exploring the grass and finding worms.
They’re getting used to various noises, but some noise make them all panic and scamper back inside. They didn’t mind me using the drill to put an extra lock on their back door, BUT when a crow made a noise in a tree about 30 meters away, that made them panic and they all shot straight back in their house. Now they’ve been with us for 5 days and they’re getting a little more adventurous. When I open their door in the morning they come straight out for their food, and yesterday (Wednesday) we got our first egg from them, and another one today (Thursday). Not laid in the nesting boxes, but never mind, I’m sure they’ll figure that one out soon.
We have 6 names for them, but at the moment have only allocated names to 2 of the chickens. Saruman is one, as this one picks on all the other chickens, and the smallest and cutest is Gizmo. Yes they’re all film related, but what else would you expect from us?