Blogger Elle Pugsley works with rescued chickens, giving them a safe home and loving attention. She shares a story about the sadness of losing a hen, and unexpectedly gaining another.
I’m sorry to say I lost one of my rescue hens. It’s never easy to lose an animal, even if you haven’t had them for very long. I felt like I had failed her but realised in the short time she had with me she had been able to be a free range well loved, thoroughly spoilt pet hen. Being an ex-commercial rescue means she didn’t come to me in the best health so when she suddenly didn’t want to move one day I put her under a heat lamp and called the vet. The vet gave her a shot of antibiotics and sent us home with more to give her starting the next day. Unfortunately chickens can go from bad to worse very quickly and there wasn’t anything the vet or I could do. Bellatrix passed away a couple hours after we got home from the vet.
After losing Bellatrix I hadn’t planned getting anymore hens for a while but life happens while you’re making other plans. Out watering the garden one day I hear someone two gardens over shouting to me ‘are you the chicken lady?’ I’m more than happy to accept that title. The neighbour tells me a friend of hers has a hen who is getting bullied by her flock and has already been rehomed once already because she was bullied so badly by other chickens, she says if she can’t be rehomed ASAP she will be culled. So naturally I volunteered to take on a new hen.
All the info I had was that she was definitely a hen and not a cock and a day later she was delivered to my door. She’s huge, she dwarfs my bantams and is even bigger than my ex commercial hens. She’s very friendly, within moments of meeting me she was sat on my lap eating out of my hand.
One of the Gang
It took some time for the flock to get used to her and show her the pecking order, she was very shy around my other hens at first and much preferred human company. Her confidence built up slowly, I’ll admit is was comical watching such a large bird run away from tiny bantams, I did have to break them up on a few occasions, Delores the top hen also stepped in on a few occasions so it’s great to see her being such a great flock leader.
It’s been a couple weeks now and I think the newly named Mercury is pretty settled in now so I’m hoping for an egg from her soon. Egg or not she is now part of the family so we don’t mind her being a free loader for now. We are a household who will keep our chickens for their whole lives whether they lay eggs or not so she can wait, there’s no rush on Mercury’s first egg.