Monday 27 January 2014

The Other Three Women in my Life

Let me introduce you to the other three women in my life – Elizabeth, Florence and Matilda. I didn’t name
them Susan did. Why those names? I have no idea. As you can see they are three hens a Rhode Island Red, a Marram and a Light Sussex. We bought them in early November as ‘point of lay’ chickens. Point of Lay indicates that they will soon start to lay eggs. In this context, the word ‘soon’ can be a very subjective term – ‘soon’ to me and you may be different to the ‘soon’ used by the farmer who sold us the hens.

To date only one hen, has laid anything –, The Marram. I guess we have had about a dozen eggs in total.

The theory of hen keeping seems sound, logical and frugal – they strut around eating grubs, kitchen peelings and the odd bit of grit. They live in a mobile chicken house (a chicken tractor to our American friends) and they keep the grass short. In return for their care, they donate eggs and very rich manure.

So far so good – now here is the rub. Rural France, foxes and the need to make a careful choice of housing for the ladies. We settled for a Eglu manufactured in the UK by a company called Omlete. Guarenteed fox proof – good for up to four medium sized hens. We decided on three to ensure they had plenty of room. The Eglu comes with a run and you can buy an even larger run to if you want to give them even more space. We opted for the larger run – and an awning to provide some shelter in wet weather – and a sort for quilted overcoat to keep them warm at night.

These girls are living in 5 star luxury. Not only is the Eglu very practical – it has also won design awards. The
only hen coop actually exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Design Museum in London.

All this comes at a price of course but its OK I have done the arithmetic – if the three hens lay as they should (and as yet they have not) I should recover my money (in the value of the eggs) by April – no not this April – no, April 2017.

In the meantime I refer to the eggs as ‘Faberge’ – (just to make my point)!


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