Duane saw them first. It was not love at first sight, however it did not take him long to become besotted

I had been waiting for the call from www.free-at-last.org.uk/ run by Linda and Robert based in Bedfordshire, to advise us as to when the next rescue would take place. We had purchased the Eglu, and all that was needed to give three hens a chance of different life. The call came through, the date was set and I was counting off the days until we could pick up the hens.

The night before we were due to pick them up I landed up unexpectedly in hospital, my main concern was to get out asap to collect the hens. That did not happen, so Duane had the pleasure of meeting Linda and collecting the hens. I was given a detailed account of everything that was going on via our mobile phones, When they arrived home he put them in the Eglu and being batts, they had not experienced grass, natural light etc. Apparently they just stayed almost ‘frozen’ in statue to the ground. Even after a few hours they had not moved much in the run, other than to do multiple poo’s and had no idea they needed to go to bed in the coop. Our daughter Rachelle came to the rescue and apparently doing a commando leopard crawl, managed to move them into the coop. I am not sure her clothes were ever the same after that ordeal.

Duane had thoughtfully videoed the hens in their new home so I could share the experience whilst in hospital (not the usual noise associated with hospitals). By this time Duane had names two of the hens, n’Tucky and Kendra, the name I gave mine was Henrietta, after one of my Mum & Dads chickens. I received regular updates on their progress and Duane would bring me in boiled eggs and egg mayo mix from them when I was on a light food regime and kept me updated via photos and videos. I finally got out to meet them and was as besotted as Duane with them. Henrietta, looked most like a chicken, as she had more feathers on her, her bum was bare, she had to have a couple of warm baths(and an occasional lube with almond oil) to help her lay as she had a tendency to get egg bound. Kendra, shortened to Ken had little feathering on his wings and looked a bit bedraggled, he was then the most aloof of the hens, n-Tucky was comical to look at he had no neck feathers and not too much covering the rest of him. He would run, like an ostrich, although he was a hen, I always saw and referred to him as a male, there was nothing feminine about him.

After a couple of weeks of them feeling safe in the Eglu, we let them out of the run to free range to explore and be chickens. It still gives me a lovely warm glow seeing them foraging, having dust baths and coming to join us in the kitchen, where they helping themselves to the cats Iams food. They like to come and sit under the chair or be near us when we are in the garden. Their other favourite place is on the patio door steps where they peck for attention, never failing to leave present of a poo. I love my chickens :o)

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I ate that egg

This was n-Tuckys first gift to us, which Duane cooked and bought to the hospital for me. We always knew which ones were his they would be a light coloured egg that initially had a thin shell. He would lay an egg a day and I would always be out to collect it just as he had laid it (it would still be warm and slightly wet. He also would cluck with pride for a job well done. Ken would lay a darker speckled egg at lunchtime and Henrietta would sometimes lay soft eggs or occasional get it right and would lay brown eggs intermittently. As time went on and they got used to organic free range food in the morning and corn in the afternoon, coupled with their cider vinegar and cod liver oil supplements, fruit and veg treats and visits to the cats bowls, their egg shells became more dense and the egg yolks became a lovely golden colour. Their combs and waffles also went from being limp and pale pink to red and perky. I love my chickens ;o)

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