The Company of Hens

As people rushed to the supermarkets and stock piled on essentials (and quite a few non-essentials), it became clear that the Covid 19 virus was making its way to the UK. I suddenly found myself without food.  I responded by planting seeds ... beans, peas, beetroot, radishes and kale, converting my porch into a greenhouse. Not having been able to get eggs for a week, I tracked down and brought home, three, very lively hens ...

As I have a big, rambling garden, which is semi-wild at the bottom, I'd often thought of having hens to share my home but because I travel from time to time, then I had always decided against it.  Like all of us around the world, I'm now grounded and will be for some time, so this was the spur I needed to follow through on my dream of the good life.

I bought a hen coup online, read up on how to look after hens and went to pick them up from a local farm ... and only just as by this time the country was pretty much sold out of not just pasta and loo roll but egg-laying hens too!

So Agatha, Hilary and Nancy (named after three famous and prolific Devonian women) came to join me in my home in Devon. Over the last three weeks I've been getting to know them and their distinct and darling personalities have won me over.  Rather than describe them in detail I've drawn a little portrait of each to illustrate their different personalities, which pertain to their breeds. 

I didn't realise that hens had such personality ... neither did I realise how much they ate and pooped!  Slugs had always been a problem in my garden, munching their way through my veg beds ... but no more, Agatha, Hilary and Nancy have worked their way methodically around the garden with military precision, feasting on the insects that lie amongst the wild garlic and bluebells.  They also like to help me with weeding ...

Nancy has a penchant for grapes.

Agatha adores rhubarb leaves whilst Hilary has a passion for anything that moves, including an unfortunate slow room ... an endangered, if not rather ugly species in England :-( 

I get up at dawn and let them out to have freedom to roam my garden and am rewarded by a couple of eggs a day. I was very lucky to have three, lovely eggs on Easter Sunday, when Nancy laid her very first, pretty, blue egg.  Bravo Nancy!  All hail Agatha and Hurrah Hilary!  :-)