(feathered companions of Julia of FirehorseTextiles)
Here are our lovely chickens, usually known as ‘Cleo’ and ‘Mabe’ for short. They are over five years old and we have had them since they were about 12 weeks old. They are a hybrid breed called Black Rock (a Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock cross).
When Cleo and Mabel first arrived, Cleo was picked out of the crate and Mabel came flapping out determinedly straight afterwards. We wondered if they were best friends who didn’t want to be parted from each other.
The girls have a secure run and hutch that they use for egg laying and sleeping in at night. During the day they have free run of the garden (apart from the vegetable patch!). If it rains, they shelter in the greenhouse or polytunnel.
From my workroom, I watch them lapping the house many times each day. They love paddling in the frog pond and hunting for tadpoles, having a dust bath, sunbathing, preening, scratching for insects in the compost heap, and other dubious activities.
They get organic layers’ pellets, but prefer to find their own food, or get unsalted rice, sweetcorn or pasta as a treat. The girls have quite different personalities- Cleo is dominant, feisty and brave with quite a high pitched voice, while Mabel is very sweet, but a bit wily and wary, with a low, rough voice. They are both very friendly and always come running to greet you (especially if you have food!).