Happy Birthday to our flock of five bantams – one year old.
Toffee and darker Treacle (Golden Wyandottes), Debbie and Harry (Light Sussex `Blondies’) and mercurial in name and colour but not nature, our star Freddy (a Silver Wyandotte) – the tamest hen I’ve been lucky enough to have since, well, Chirpy the Rooster. A rooster? Yes, my teenage sisters were unimpressed but I was besotted. Chirpy was around when I was 10 and tolerated being held on the swing amongst other indignities.
Whenever I dig in the veg garden, yellow robins dart around my feet; fearless. Friendly or just quickly agile? Freddy is similarly fearless under the feet but less safely so; she thinks we won’t harm her and not only must I walk slowly – not my natural pace – but if it’s dark I mustn’t (again) thrust my hand into a nesting box (she was broody) and virtually punch her. (Oops.)
We’ve had pretty Isa Brown girls; then a couple of years ago, 2 handsome black Australorp crosses (Jade and Scarlet, with feathers darkly gleaming red and green). A black crow became more resident than visitor, sitting on top of the large caged hen-run, crowing his presence. He’s infatuated with Scarlet, I said, and seriously, she moped when he left…OK, a few less eggs can be expected when winter arrives. I missed Claude, anyhow.