I once read somewhere that chickens seem to put every effort in finding many ways to die. That would certainly be the case with our flock. So it came to pass that poor Paula Hen fell off her perch in the night and went floating up to the chicken heaven in the sky. Well, that's what we told Oliver. (If chickens do have souls then I suppose there is no reason why they wouldn't float and if they can indeed float then why should they not pass go, do not collect £200 and go straight to Chicken Heaven).
Oliver looked blankly after we explained all this and in typical 3 year old fashion simply asked when we'd be getting some more. This was what Mr C was dreading. Y'see even though getting the chickens was his seed of an idea, he planted it deep into the pet owning part of my brain which just can't say no. He on the other hand is not a big fan of feathered creatures and has found the whole experience a more take take take on the part of the chickens. Even consuming the eggs became a chore for him. To add insult to injury when they stopped laying over the winter, it drove him to angrily shake a box of Paxo at them!
Ol and Brenda in Summer 09
So what to do? Brenda (a speckledy hybrid) has been left as being the sole survivor of the bunch and my research has shown that they are not solitary creatures and prefer the company of other chickens. Not something that could be said about Pam chicken who was a very angry piece of work, nasty through and through and positively thrived when, last year, she was sentenced to a period of confinement after relentlessly hen pecking poor Paula till she bled. Mr C would happily give Brenda to a good home and draw a line under our chicken owning days. Me, I rather enjoy owning chickens despite the destruction they leave in the veg patch and piles of poo on the lawn. I like seeing them honk around the garden, chasing the cats. Yes - chasing the cats. It's hilarious. One even chased my friend's spaniel puppy, Stella, around the garden leaving the poor pup in a quibbling mess. They make big holes in the slug population too. Something I tell Mr C on a daily basis as he is a hosta lover.
I've found a company, not far from our patch, called Happy Chicks who will deliver us a pair of point of lay hens, possibly even as soon as next week. The lovely lady at Happy Chicks, Sarah, was very helpful and pointed me in the direction of a Black Rock and a Blue Ranger, both very friendly docile birds who will join forces with Brenda and I against the anti-hen owning Mr C. Between us we will chase the cats, pledge war against the slug population and run around the garden with frogs in our beaks (I'll probably leave that bit to the hens!).
I don't feel too bad about not having a decent mourning period for Paula Hen. Sarah said that Brenda will welcome the company of the two new girls and so it's Brenda I've got to put first.
So, Ollie - the answer is yes. (Sorry Mr C...I'll make it up to you with a lovely omlette.....!!! )