All of the hens we have are special but sometimes there’s a hen – or two or three – that melt your heart even more.
We re-homed Gertrude and Tess in November 2017 and of the 10 ‘Roses’ these two hens were ill from the start and took a few weeks to recover; Gertrude couldn’t stand up properly or move around and Tess had a respiratory condition. These two girls had a hospital ward to themselves and during that time a bond was formed.
When they did return to health we tried to integrate them with the other hens but Tess was petrified and would hide in a corner or cower whilst she was being attacked. Each hen is different, they have their own personalities and characters, and if a hen isn’t happy in a group then we recognise that and treat them differently to give them what they need. Luckily the broody coop had recently been vacated and is a perfect fit for two hens, so Gertrude and Tess moved in!
They seem happy in there – they’ve got a bit of space in the run attached to the broody coop and the other hens will often come up to them, meaning that they’re slowly getting used to the larger group. I’ll open the door to their coop and Gertrude may come out for a wander, and she’s fine with the other hens, but she knows where her home is and always returns to Tess. Tess though does not come out when I open the door, preferring to stay where she is in her own environment, and that’s fine.
We do want to let Gertrude and Tess fully enjoy their retirement though and we do give them more space to explore from time to time and as the weather improves we’ll look to integrate them into the main flock. The main thing though is that the hens are happy and right now Gertrude and Tess are enjoying their exclusive coop and run and Tess in particular is much happier in her own little world with her best friend Gertrude to share a meal with or keep her warm at night.