Hens come and hens go … especially the ex-batts who are not generally long-lived after their lives in intensive farming. This time last year we ‘inherited’ a brood of 3 ex-batts and 7 bantams, none of them young birds. We still have one of the ex-batts, Mandy (who, I noticed yesterday, appears to be moulting again) and until yesterday, six of the seven bantams.

It was clear that one of the bantams wasn’t well when she arrived, mostly from her slightly dusky comb that became quite dark when she was agitated or disturbed … a sign of heart disease. So we were delighted she continued to be fully involved in life in the Moppet House and more recently the greenhouse. A couple of days ago I noticed she stayed inside most of the day, though could be persuaded outdoors with a handful of corn. Next day she didn’t come out at all, so we took her in a piece of cooked potato, which she enjoy. Yesterday morning she was gone. She had slipped away overnight, among her brood-mates. Nice way to go.


I think she’s the one second from the left – see how much darker her hackles are? That’s nothing to do with her heart condition, but it was one way to recognise her when she was settled!

So now there are five bantams with the greenhouse all to themselves. And we have a pile of woodchip on the front drive …

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  • The Hen House Archive

    Our original hen keeping adventure came to an end in January 2013, when a fox took our entire brood of hens. But don’t let that put you off … you can find the story at The Hen House Archive where there are still lots of stories, photos, and information about keeping hens I hope you'll find useful.

    March 2017 ... All change in the hen garden as the fruit cage run is retired in favour of an electric fence, the veg beds are relocated to put the hens on fresh ground, and the new girls arrive, Dorcas, Delilah and Deanna.

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