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Friday, 29 December 2017

Adventures with hens....and sheep...

Did someone mention a lighthouse?
Above is one of my hens, I call her "Cheeky Hen" as she is very!  She was posing on top of the dyke at the end of the garden - perfect shot!

The weather these last few days has been brighter but very cold.  It's barely got above freezing some days, and today I don't think it did at all! 

I've made sure Charlie, the barn cat, has lots of food and extra rations for the hens too.  I also put lots of food out for the wild birds in the walled garden.

Now you will remember a while ago I mentioned some marauding sheep in the garden?

...That were eating all my shrubs and trees?

Well I got a neighbour to put the sheep hurdles up more securely. (I bought them a couple of years ago to cover the opening to the garden).  It worked - though the sheep were none too pleased. They spent a while trying to figure out a way in....

Photo by Mick Braddock
The hurdles however have proved effective in keeping ALL livestock out.... then Madam Button protested as it meant SHE couldn't get into the garden.  Well she could if she bothered to climb the walls etc but she is a rather large middle-aged cat (aged about 11.5 years) and the indignity wasn't worth it.  So at the house end I made sure there was a space she could get through but not big enough for a sheep to get through.  Worked a treat.....

THEN I discovered that the hens were getting through the gap.... no problem I thought.... except they are not particularly bright and having got IN at the top of the garden they wanted to get OUT at the bottom of the garden....which was resolutely blocked off.  Now as you can see in the photo at the top of the post, some of my hens can fly (I don't clip their wings).  But two of them clearly don't wish to do this.

So the other day I went out to check near dusk (about 3.30pm) and sure enough they were still in the garden, trying to huddle down behind an ornamental grass for the night.  Well they just would end up as frozen chicken if I left them.  Of course they saw me as a scary monster and just ran around the garden clucking when I a) tried to catch them or b) tried to coax them near the end gate so I could lift them over.

Eventually I had to dismantle the end gate so they could waddle through and back to the hen house.  I then had to re-mantle the sheep hurdle protection. ..... In.A.Blizzard.....  I also had to go and check that all 12 of the hens were safely tucked up in the hen house.  Fortunately most were already tucked up on their perches!

Meanwhile the hail/sleet/snow combination we have been getting has carried on....

And the sheep continue to seek shelter around the house....

Which, given the weather, I don't blame them. It's pretty bleak out there.  Though that doesn't stop the local creel fisherman (catching crabs and lobsters)

But there is also sunshine and rainbows!

Moody skies.....

The hens have been sitting on the doorstep in the morning. Though they have plenty of food in a hopper in the hen house so can eat whenever they like.  I think it's fairly sheltered here so they are happy to just sit there and admire the view.

And the hens still go into the garden for a dust bath in a sheltered corner....

But NOW they also have a "hen exit".....which I'm hoping is still sheep proof!


  1. Interesting post... as I like chickens. My daughter raises them over in the Hill country around San Antonio, Tx. The fact that they are generally not too bright makes for funny situations. They do make me laugh. And I love your pics of the lighthouse!

  2. Beautiful moody sky and lighthouse. Love the hen on the wall'eyeballing' the lighthouse x

  3. love the last picture of the lighthouse with the silvery black sky and yet the sun is still beaming. Very Scottish, irrevocably Orkney.Regards, Mark.

  4. Happy new year Sian , always happy with the news from your little paradise :)