Not long after my beloved Hank the Tank passed away, Scary Hetty said goodbye too.
Thankfully she didn’t suffer for long and she has been buried next to Hank, her friend. Scary Hetty was the last one of the rescue hens we got via the British Hen Welfare Trust in 2020. When we collected the rescue chickens they were already at least 1.5 years old, but we believe these ones were over 2 years as they came from an organic egg farm. Chickens have an average lifespan of 6 – 8 years, but because rescue chickens have been bred for egg production and not longevity, they tend to live a bit shorter.
I take comfort in knowing that at least these chickens had a good life in their final years.
By the way, did you know chickens will eat everything?! Obviously they’ll eat all sorts of weeds and seem to know what to eat for what condition; a example is that when we got the Decibels in April 2021 they ate nearly all the lavender plants which grew inside the run. They must have felt stressed due to the move, but got calmer by eating lavender.
During the bird flu when the birds had to stay in, I used to feed them the weeds + snails I found in the garden and within seconds the pile of weeds was turned over and completely scattered around with the poor snails having no chance of escape; the chicken lucky enough to find it first, literally crunched it away.
And, this may shock you, but chickens will eat a dead mouse if they can get their claws on it!! I have seen it with my own eyes and was pretty shocked myself (so was the cat which caught and lost its mouse!).
Some 9 years ago we bought a tree which was meant to be a crab apple, but after 6 years of not seeing a single flower we lost hope that it would ever produce crab apples. We even concluded that we were sold anything but a crab apple tree! But lo and behold, when chatting to the neighbour I spotted something pink in between the branches; turns out it has started to flower after all these years! I couldn’t believe my eyes!
There hasn’t been a late frost this year and all trees have produced lots of blossom and the bees and bumblebees have been busy pollinating them, so hopefully, fingers crossed, our patience may even be rewarded with crab apples. Mind you, there are gusts of 40 mph forecasted while I’m writing this, so who knows how much blossom and fruitlets are still on the trees.