Saturday, September 18, 2011— (In two days the full moon, “Harvest”, rises nearest-to-earth.)
My eleven-year-old hen, Welsummer, is alive and living well in the garage.
She’s the last survivor from my 2010 baby chickens. She’s still healthy and alert although very old for a domestic hen. For most of this year and as a lone chicken, she shared space with my twin goats. This summer I acquired seven new baby chicks. For weeks they lived in my garage, and eventually, were moved into part of Welsummer’s space. A fence separated them and the old hen.
Welsummer considered the babies intruders and when at last they joined her, she ran them away. One new baby turned out to be a rooster. He didn’t forget and after maturing enough, he chased and threatened Welsummer mightily.
My old hen immediately hid and remained out of sight. I wondered whether, if isolated, she’d continue to eat and drink. My worries had been about wanting her to accept the babies, never expected anything like a rooster. Now, having witnessed and expecting more of the same, it was important to reconsider Welsummer’s future.
She had to be moved.
Hurriedly in my garage, I cobbled a temporary pen, layered its bottom with straw, added feeding and watering dishes, and constructed a roost of sorts. Then, I introduced the old hen. She appeared right at home, ate, drank, and that evening perched on her roost.
Since then she’s thrived, and yesterday, became introduced to new digs. She’s inside a large kennel with four-foot-high sides–and wonderful for me, a step-in entry door. There are feeding dishes, a strong roost, and in cold weather the arrangement will include heat lighting.
Everything looks good for Welsummer. I’ll not dismantle the vacated holding cage. Since it’s on a dolly, sometimes she’ll be in it outside and enjoying sunlight.
My Welsummer, viva!
Dear Friends: If it’s possible to work out details, she might gain inside-the-house time. Diana