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The hen house has been vacant way too long, but at last it is fully occupied, and the outdoor enclosure is aflutter.  On Sunday I acquired seven lovely chickens.  Only one is fully grown, and she’s a gorgeous bantam.

The name's Blossom, dearie

The other six are (black)  Australorps (an Australian variation of the Orpington, for you chook lovers): five hens and a rooster.  The Australorps are two and three months old, so they’re not even speaking ‘chook’ yet.  They’re still cheeping!  I still don’t understand how chicks say “peep” without any lips.

The largest of the Australorps. 3 months old, not yet laying

I have a lovely big chook run which has a closed top, so while they are small the chickens are protected from marauding hawks and eagles.  Once they are bigger, they can be out on their own.

Overlooking Chookland from my deck

Some would say I spoil my chooks.  Maybe, just a little.  Let’s just say I augment their diet of chickenfeed and table scraps.  I add some shredded cheese, corn, and on very cold wintry days perhaps a bit of warm mash, made up  of oats and corn soaked in hot water.  We all know porridge is a great kick-starter on a cold winter day.  In turn, they weed and fertilise the garden, reward me with wonderful eggs, and provide great entertainment.  How good is that!?

I can’t wait for the first egg.  The blackies aren’t yet old enough, but Blossom is.  I don’t know if the trauma of the move to a new home will put her off or not, so I don’t have any idea when she might produce an egg.  Doesn’t matter, really.  I just like looking at her.  She’s much more confident that the youngsters.  She has a bit of attitude, actually, and a large amount of savoir faire.  The others will all out-size her when they are fully grown, but I reckon she will continue to rule the roost even then.

Before I got these lovelies, I ordered a half dozen Barnvelders from my hairdresser, who is as much a chook-nut as I am.  His nuttiness is more specific; he is an aficionado of the Barnvelder, which is also a handsome bird.

Barnvelder hen

It’ll be several months before they become available, thank goodness.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with thirteen chooks, though.  Perhaps I can start a little egg-run to pay for my next holiday.           MM

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