Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Update on Mrs Hen

Mrs Hen is no more. Don't panic, Mrs Hen has not died, but it's become clear that she is not a she but a He! Mrs Hen has become Harry (well, he could hardly be Hermione . . .)

This s*x change means that the number of chicken-keepers who might be prepared to give him a new home reduced dramatically but we only needed one, and that turned out to be my friend Georgie from our quilt group. She has kept hens for many years and recently lost all her flock but one. I phoned her on the off-chance expecting a "no" but she enthusiastically said "yes, yes, yes" and came over as soon as work permitted.

By the time she arrived, Harry had settled himself deep in the escallonia; it was fortunate I'd gone out at dusk to check where he was roosting because even with that knowledge, in pitch dark it was nearly impossible to find him. It took five of us with torches, wellies and a lot of determination but eventually we unearthed the little chap, Georgie made a quick grab and with very little complaint Harry found himself being cuddled and stroked by most of the Bag End chicken rustlers (that would be me, SewAli and the Lumberjack - Management held onto his torch and did not participate in the cuddling!)

Georgie thinks this might actually be an old bird rather than a youngster but whatever age he is, he's got a much better chance in her barn than under our shrubbery. He went home in a nice dry, ventilated box with a bed of straw and I'll go and visit once she has him settled.

I'm so glad he spent last night under cover - once again we had really heavy rain and this is how flooded the Derwent was at 8.00am this morning.

The water level has receded a little since then but the ground is completely saturated with more rain forecast.


  1. So has your impromptu chicken "keeping" experience put you off your own future flock? Judging from the "Harry found himself being cuddled and stroked by most of the Bag End chicken rustlers" comment I'm guessing not!

    How about "Mrs Tweedy" for the next hen that finds itself at Bag End?

  2. It sounds like a good thing you had friends visiting to help catch Mr Hen!

  3. It looks very wet.

    Pleased to hear Mr Hen has found a new home.

  4. Oh, you'll have to excuse me whilst I laugh at the image of five of you going 'here chuckie, chuckie' to a scowling rooster with his skirts gathered retreating further and further into the escallonia! Oh dear!

    You did do a fine job, though, and well done indeed to Georgie for taking him back to the nice warm safe barn.

    I'm sure this won't put you off future chicken wrangling ventures, and it does make rather a fine tale!

    As I speak the weather forecast is for a month's worth of rain to fall SW Scotland/NW England, which puts you firmly in line for indoor activities - a little crewel work, or quilting perhaps, if all the chores are done...?

  5. James, not put me off Bag End Hens, but has made me think twice about completely free-ranging them. Bluddy poultry poo everywhere . . .

    QuiltSue, Lumberjack was a much needed extra torch bearer, SewAli had the box and someone was heard to say "not missing this for anything" (I'll let you guess who that was) when given the opportunity to stay indoors in the warm.

    Angela, wet doesn't begin to describe it!

    Hazel - I'll deal with you in the morning ha ha ha

  6. ah, I'm relieved to hear a chicken story with a happy ending. What a good surrogate mother hen you were Bilbo ;o)

  7. I TOLD you it was a fella! Fantastic tail feathers like that. Dead give-away! I'm so pleased the lovely chap found a home. I wonder if his male-ness was the reason he was turfed out to fend for himself - and that no-one admitted knowing anything about him?

    I'm sure it won't put you off chicken keeping but it's a lesson in what happens when people think it's cute to hatch out eggs. At least half are blokes!

  8. What a handsome fellow! glad he found a home, most cockerells are destined for the pot under those circumstances!

  9. Thanks all.

    Matron - he was such a sweetie when picked up, seemed a bit bemused but didn't mind all the stroking. Have not managed to ask his new "Mum" how he is getting on because she is a nurse working about triple shifts at present because of the Cockermouth flood problems. I'll post an update when I find out anything.


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