If you leave a door open and the girls are already free-ranging in the garden they will always come in our house. I think they view it as a natural extension of the hen house. They peck all the crumbs from beneath the kitchen table (I'm an outdoor girl not given to much in the way of house work, my husband says that's why we keep dogs and chickens) and wander through the kitchen looking for scraps. They do not eat Teddy's biscuits for some reason (he is relieved), and, if they are allowed to, they will go to sleep in the sitting room. They have also been upstairs to visit the children when they are sick.
They do leave presents of the unwelcome variety behind, so house visiting is now strictly limited to a few minutes in summer time (and not at all if your name begins with M). I was therefore surprised a few years back to come downstairs and discover Rennie, our Cuckoo Maran, in the hall happily scratching and pecking away at the door mat. It took me a few minutes to work out how she'd got in because all the doors were shut, then I realised she'd come in through the cat flap which Murphy (our mad pointer whom we later had to rehome for the attempted murder of a delivery man) had broken while he was trying to eat someone's leg. Thereafter it became a habit (until the cat flap was mended) but only by Rennie, who as the largest of our hens had to really squeeze through (as the picture shows).
|Caught in the act!|
Ren is a woman of traditional build. M calls her 9, 10 (as in the old rhyme 9, 10 a big fat hen). This means she suffers from occasional egg-boundedness. Now she's older she's more or less able to sort it out herself, but in her younger days we nearly lost her a couple of times and I learnt pretty quickly the benefits of a warm bath and olive oil carefully administered in the egg vent (sorry to be so graphic early in the morning). M discovered me apparently washing one of my hens in the kitchen sink not long after they'd arrived and took this photo, no doubt wondering what kind of mad woman he had married. Without the explanation I'll allow the photo does look rather funny...
|Normal people wash their hens in the kitchen sink too right?|
|Enjoying a dust bath together|
|The small egg is known as a wind egg, hens sometimes lay these when they're just starting to lay. It was about 3 cm long. One of Rennie's (needless to say)|
|Over-sized hen or under-sized plant pot?|
|An egg-bound egg, well actually three, distorted and odd-shaped with soft shells. At least she got it out. Poor Ren!|
|A double-yolker from Mrs Peckham, cooked|
|A double-yolker, freshly opened|
|Mavis, as a cream crested legbar, lays blue eggs|
|You should write the date on eggs in pencil, because the shell is porous and pen ink will go through and contaminate the egg|
|Mavis, striking looking, but a victim to her nerves|
|Collecting freshly laid eggs from the nest boxes|