My foray into poultry keeping has ended. Flo and Maude have left our cottage garden to take up residence in a deluxe smallholding at Hellingly. Their namesakes above, live in our kitchen. Four hens later, the experience was enriching, though complicated and full of 'if only' moments. If only they didn’t peck each other until they bled, pace and screech. If only we had grass and an outdoor run. Despite feeding them increasingly deluxe treats and building assault courses inside their hen house, I felt they were simply unhappy hens. My favourite though was Gracie a blue haze from Middle Farm, she lurked sweetly by the back door, for unsuspecting Arts Hut visitors to peck. She adored Mr PWP and would rush across the garden demanding to be tickled. She wriggled upside down in the soil waving her legs in the air for hours at a time and often stood regally on one leg, which inspired a very large painting indeed. In time our memories of hen keeping will no doubt all be positive. We held four “first egg” celebrations and having enjoyed our own free range eggs, now buy fresh veg and home reared meat from Rocks Smallholding in Windmill Hill.
Mrs H collected Florence & Gracie to live in the beautiful setting of Carters Corner, whilst Mrs W collected Flo & Maude. She said “The little darlings are doing well, a bit stressed and overwhelmed yesterday, but looking more confident this morning. Maude even laid an egg, admittedly on the roof of the hen house and she did break it and somehow get the shell wrapped around her leg, but good effort. We don't hear them in the morning, but they do have a ghastly screech, amazing for such small delicate characters. Hope you enjoyed your lie in? Come and visit any time”