A quick word of advice…If you ever keep chickens, and want them to have old fashioned, fanciful names, DO NOT hand over the naming job to the male species. To go with our older girls, Winnie and Maud, I’ve called one of the new hens Nancy.
The others are now called Shaniqua, Consuela and Pammy (because she’s blonde). I ask you…
Introducing the new girls to the flock of two went more smoothly than we ever imagined. Chickens have a natural pecking order, so the more established hens will always rule the roost. Putting four in together seems to have worked well as the older hens are outnumbered. Yes, there have been a few girly spats, but nothing too serious.
The only real problem occurred on the first couple of bed times. Winnie and Maud weren’t keen on the new sleeping arrangements and point blank refused to let the new ones in – so they huddled under the house. Every night at dusk, when chickens are naturally docile, I had to crawl around in the run and put all the girls to bed. Happily for my knees, they’ve now sorted themselves out, and are all roosting together.
Another good sign they are settling in, is that they have already started to earn their keep. Peering into the nest box at the weekend I was delighted to find our first two eggs from the new hens. Eggcellent news indeed!
Elsewhere in the garden, I decided to crack on with some greenhouse jobs at the weekend, as the weather was a bit hit and miss. A quick trip to the garden centre resulted in four grow bags and something we’re trying for the very first time ever, an upside down tomato planter.
According to the folks on the t’interweb, growing tomatoes upside down lets more air circulate round the plant, and should keep the bugs at bay. I’m not totally convinced, but it’s worth a go, if only in the name of research.
Other half whipped outside and installed the hanging bracket on a sturdy part of the fence – the planter will be heavy when it’s full of soil, water and hopefully ood
les of tomatoes. As they will be outside, we’ll plant this up when it gets a bit warmer. Meanwhile I shot into the greenhouse to clear a space for the grow bags. That done, I arranged the grow bags along the floor. Three holes were cut into each, and into them went a total of nine tomato plants of different varieties and three ‘Telepathy’ cucumber plants – all tiny at the moment, but with huge potential.
Looking around, I’ve also managed to amass 20 chilli and pepper plants and 10 aubergines. Together with the squash and courgette collection that will go out in a couple of weeks and the abundance of eggs on their way, I have a feeling it’s going to be a ratatouille and quiche-filled summer.
This one appeared in The Hinckley Times on May 16 2013