This has been another really difficult decision to make. I had a long chat with our friend Moira at the farm. She had taken twenty eight rescue chickens (she offered to take thirty but got the last twenty eight) a few days earlier and they are restricted to the barn and courtyard while settling in and learning where home is.
She said to bring Peaches and Barley to her at the end of the day and they could go in the barn at bedtime and they will be able to mix in along with the rest of the new girls.
I feel heart sick to be doing this again but I really hope this will be the last time. I know that the flock will be happier without them. The little girls will have a better life and Speckles will be able to regrow her feathers and will also have a happier life. Peaches and Barley will have a free range life with as much grass as they could ever want.
They have had three years with me and now will have the chance to live free range and will never be bored. I will miss their little fluffy bottoms in my flock though and also having them jump on my back as I clean the run. I have a lump in my throat at the thought of not having them around any more but I will be able to visit them.
I took some photos of their last night with us. The girls all know their place at bedtime.
Freckles and Rusty sleep on the left hand perch
The bigger girls sleep at the back
The three amigos sleep on the right hand perch
I gave Peaches and Barley some melon in the afternoon as a last treat with us.
Peaches and Barley have some melon
I prepared the dog crate and added a dish of mash and an apple. I managed to catch Peaches and Barley and we took them late in the afternoon to Moira.
Moira and her girls
The brown girls are the ones she has rescued from being slaughtered. They are being confined to the barn and courtyard until they know where to go at bedtime.
Beyond the courtyard is the meadow where the girls free range once they are used to their new home.
She is going to add straw and water to the dog crate and keep Peaches and Barley in there for their first night. They can then get used to the sounds of the other girls around them and it means when she opens up in the morning they won’t be able to escape the barn.
She will leave a few friends and Peaches and Barley in the barn. They will stay in the barn for the first few days so that they know that is where to go at bedtime. They will then go to the courtyard and eventually to the orchard. This has always worked for Moira and is how she has added our girls to her flock in the past.
She says, as always, that she will look after them as best she can and that it isn’t goodbye as we can visit soon.
The flock seemed very quiet on our return home but Cinnamon was happily scratching near the patio where she would have been chased from before. I know that however difficult this has been it was the right thing to do. I really feel that the flock will be a happier flock now.