For a long time I hated Chickens! A strong word I know but I honestly detested them and they were the one animal I made clear to MrTG that I would never want to have - EVER!
The reason for this goes right back to my teenage years when I had a pony. You see I would spend hours (at least it seemed like hours) scraping that damn stinky cement aka chicken poop off the walls and stable of my beloved pony.
I grew up believing that Chicken could not fly, at least not like their avian cousins do at any rate. So you can imagine the interest when I finally found out that they indeed could fly (to a degree. OK more like flapping until law of gravity says they have to take off) and the subsequent frustration when I discovered they like to roost.....up high.
Even now the smell of chicken poop brings back awful memories!
Anyway a few years back MrTG bought me a "present". Despite all those years of insisting I would never want Chicken and the cement shit that comes with them he bought home 6 chicks of indiscriminate parentage and unknown sex! And guess who got to look after them!
Thankfully my daughters are animal lovers and obviously not as animalist (is that even a word?) as I was and they'd spend as much time with them as they could.
I admit I got intrigued as they grew and I too placed my bets when the sex of the birds was becoming more evident - out of 6 chicks we had 4 bloomin cockerels.
All 6 birds ended up being very friendly and we eventually rehomed all but one of the Cockerels and kept the hens, by which time I have to admit I was becoming more enamoured of Chickens then I ever thought possible, this was bought home to me when I was getting stressed about finding the right loving home for the Cockerels.
Now we have 13 chicken - 12 hens and 1 cockerel. 11 of the hens are heaven knows what breed (I have no idea of these things) and 1 is a White Silkie, the Cockerel is also a Silkie (and as such is pretty darned scared of the big girls which is quite pathetic).
Several of our current hens were rescued from the local battery farm and arrived quite weak, thin and very bald, today they paint a different picture
No longer scrawny and looking the picture of health.
Apparantly they all have names but they all pretty much look alike to me so unless they have an obvious marking to recognise they're all called Hen to me.
This one is called 'Big Momma'. Big Momma has been on probation for the murder of the poor little hen we rescued (you can read her story here) but she shows no remorse for her actions.
This is 'Hen', another rescue that has recovered all her plumage.
Romeo, the Cockerel. He just doesn't have the substance to keep these hens in place.
Finally the nights are getting lighter and we're at the end of the hens lay off for winter - they are back in production.
We've had the odd one or two eggs over the last few weeks but nothing that would feed a family (at least not a family with an appetite like ours anyways) so I didn't bother to check the laying boxes yesterday. Today though MrTG came in with this bounty
Funny thing I noticed while I was washing them is that despite them all being of similar breeding (I think) look at the difference in size and shape
The Silkie isn't laying yet - her eggs are tiny White ones - which is unusual for her but she did stop laying the minute we introduced the new rescue hens, hopefully she'll start again soon.
As for that Chicken shit Who'd a thought I'd learn to appreciate it and covet it for the garden!