Farewell to our chickens Peppa and Minty

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_mg_2060Well, we’ve finally gone and done it.  12 months after our moment of madness at last year’s Tatton Flower Show when – perhaps affected by the heat – we purchased two chickens and an eglu, we’ve drawn a line under our hen-keeping days.

The honeymoon period was encouraging; delighted kids, happy chickens lodging in the cute and functional eglu and, finally, the much anticipated daily appearance of two eggs.  By early this year, the initial glow had given way to despair as we surveyed the poo-filled wreck of our garden.  The hens took to wandering through bushes into our (highly unamused) neighbours’ garden.  Jean-Philippe’s efforts to erect a hen-proof fence resulted in a slipped disc, major back surgery and 3 weeks off work. Despite the chicken wire, they still escaped, now engaging in more audacious forays and crossing the road to explore other gardens. Each escapade was followed by frantic house to house searchs on our part as we feared for their lives.  Touched by 8-year-old Louis’ affection for the birds, we persevered, spending hundreds of pounds on impenetrable fencing around the entire garden.

But no amount of fresh eggs could compensate for the poo, the devastation wreaked on our garden, the poo, the traumatised 3-year-old chased and pecked at, the mites, the poo. In the end, however, it was my veggies that decided it.  I’d tried every single deterrent – including a more alternative approach of placing ‘protective amethyst crystals’ around the garden. Nothing would keep them off my defenseless plants.  I could take no more of watching my beloved seedlings being clawed into oblivion – the shallots dug up prematurely; the shredded salad leaves; the radishes, cucumbers and sweetcorn that the hens dispatched with those monstrous claws.  Enough was enough.

The deal itself was struck by the bouncy castle at the kids’ summer fair.  We offered up our hens and their eglu to a lovely family who already had four chickens and were happy for their ‘girls’ to take over their kitchen and poo under their Aga.  Once agreed, the whole thing was concluded swiftly. Peppa and Minty were promptly transported to their new home that same afternoon and introduced to the incumbent hens – and that was that.

Now we’ve bade farewell to our resident pets, the next challenge is what to replace them with in Louis’ affections.  I’m thinking maybe a Playstation.