Sunday, 27 October 2013

An exciting weekend for our hens. (And us.)

Broody Freddie became a mother (with help) this weekend, and her sisters, Narnia-like, entered a new portal into the lushest vegetable bed yet. Over the years we’ve rotated our girls from bed to bed (we have 5, all with compost bins) and they’ve rewarded us with ever-deeper rich, lovely soil atop our Lysterfield clay; and vegetables growing well.

Fertilized eggs and one resulting rooster were not unalloyed joy earlier this year so when silver penciled Wyandotte Freddie became very broody again this spring we decided to introduce some more girls to our flock of now, only 4, bantams. On Saturday we bought 3 female day-old chicks (one light Sussex and 2 gold penciled wyandottes; just like their aunts) and watched over them all day.

On Saturday night, after dark, we took away Freddie’s precious 3 eggs (a peck here was very reasonable) and slipped the chicks under her warm feather quilt. Sunday was cold and we didn’t see the chicks until late morning – they are segregated from their tall aunts, of course – and then they came out and Freddie told them what to eat and showed them where to drink; an excellent little mother; and a huge sigh of relief was distinctly heard.

Jill Weatherhead is garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design ( working in Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges and Victoria.

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