Chicken run

I have just discovered a new and exciting way to get fit which is completely free. It’s called….chasing chickens around your back garden.

As a chicken owner of three years, there is nothing more embarrassing than having hens you can’t pick up and running around after them attempting to grab them while the poor things squawk their heads off and lead you a merry dance. We trained our first chickens well – all thanks to DJ – to come when they’re called (for the promise of treats and not simply to enjoy our good company) and we handled them regularly when they were young so they would grow used to it.

Unfortunately, when we acquired Lexi and Molly after Louise, one of our lovely first hens, sadly went to the great chicken coop in the sky, there was a brouhaha as the pecking order was re-established with Thelma at the helm. And showing the newcomers affection by handling them made the bullying worse, so we kept it to a minimum. Eventually things calmed down and an equilibrium was established – well, the new girls learned to know their place! But we’ve still not managed to get Lexi and Molly to enjoy being handled and they’re particularly flighty by nature anyway. It’s a pain as handling is vital for checking for mites and fleas etc. Luckily DJ is marginally better at it than me.

The problem today is that poor Lexi has an egg stuck. It happens from time to time when one is slightly too big, and the poor girls sit about looking uncomfortable and occasionally need assistance. Putting her in a warm bath and…er…squirting a bit of olive oil in the vent with a syringe is thought to help pass the egg. DJ once tried it with Thelma, who was admittedly much more compliant, and while it was a pretty weird sight, it seemed to do the trick.

Well, I ran the warm bath and got my syringe ready, thinking as Lexi looked fairly miserable it would be easy to get her indoors for the spa treatment, but I was wrong. As soon as I tried to grab her she ran all over the garden and now she is hiding firmly under a bush and refuses to come out. On the fitness front I’m feeling fairly warm now after a fifteen minute dash about the garden, but the warm bath is going cold. I hope I have more luck later.

By the way, I’m very sad to tell you that Thelma fell ill with egg peritonitis a few weeks ago and died. We were very upset as she was a real character and a firm part of the family. We miss her very much but hope she is enjoying a juicy worm in heaven with her old mate Louise.


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