Remember the Des.Res. made by my horny-handed but glamorous assistant in November of last year? Like much of the nation's housing stock in these credit crunched times it has remained unoccupied. We towed it into position - thus proving a tow bar was a Good Idea, and there it has sat ever since - the poshest poultry house in the County*- waiting for hens.
Until yesterday that is. Becky had got herself 28 birds - young pullets to rear for the table - and did I want some? Well, yes please. How many could she spare? She thought I could manage 8 or 10. So 10 it was.
I held her baby while she manhandled the crate containing the birds out of the boot of the car and carried them up the field to their new home. Baby Tristram and I watched as they were decanted into the house where they stood in a miserable cheeping huddle. Were these surroundings not good enough?
24 hours later and bedded down on some of the last shavings in Montgomeryshire, well fed and watered too, they are a little less suspicious of their surroundings and have actually ventured outdoors. I wouldn't describe them as remotely pretty; pale and beaky and already at 15 weeks, big bodied. They are a commercial hybrid, bred specifically for meatiness and presumably rapid weight gain. Becky wasn't sure what had gone into the mix. They'll be ready for the table in 6 to 8 weeks time provided I can hone my poultry rearing skills and get them to gain weight. Poultry Fatteners are what I need apparently - although not so much as they 'go off their legs'. We don't want that do we?
Again, terribly difficult to photograph - or maybe they are just camera shy.
* The title of the poshest hen house in the County, if not the country, should actually go to the Fowl House at Leighton, now owned by the Landmark Trust. That is one impressive hen hut.