Babs and Gladys are the latest addition to our family – they’re Columbian Black Tails, even though one has a white tail. She’s Babs. As per our ongoing tradition, they’re named after great soul singers and so she’s named after Barbra Streisand. Yeah yeah I know, it’s a bit of a leap and a jump to call Barbra Streisand a soul singer, but she’s certainly a great and soulful singer. Gladys – well, it probably doesn’t take any kind of leap of faith to realise she’s named after Gladys Knight.
We lost one of our young hens a couple of weeks ago. She just disappeared without trace – no sign she’d been got but no signs of her either. That left us with two old birds who rarely lay and Irma who lays well but not enough to satisfy our eggy demands. I’d come home from work and want to use eggs in the cooking only to find that there were none. I’d get really prickly if DM had eaten eggs at lunchtime! (I realise that makes me nasty and selfish but it’s the truth.) I had to resort to buying half-a-dozen last week - at this time of year that's unthinkable. So on my list of things to do urgently was to source a couple of pullets.
I did a scout round of the people we’ve bought hens from before but no-one had any available. I found a new supplier, very close to home, got in touch and he’d got girls of 18 weeks who were ready to go. They should be in lay within a fortnight – I can’t wait. Not only that, but these girls have a reputation for being marvellous little egg factories and are reputed to lay around 300 eggs per year each. Apparently their eggs are a delicate pink, quite big and delicious.
Tonight, a few minutes ago, at dusk, they have been unceremoniously thrust into the coop with Irma, Martha and Dusty. For some reason this lessens the bullying, we find. Tomorrow morning they will get bullied while the new pecking order is established but that’s quite normal. We just have to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. In a couple of days, once they are used to us and their new surroundings, they can take their first steps out of their run to start exploring their new world. I hope Babs and Gladys settle in nicely!