Beryl & Ruby, the Red Shaver hens, arrived on Thursday evening.
I bought them on Trademe earlier in the week but couldn’t pick them up immediately as Mr Box was sick with flu.
The two hens had to sleep in the cardboard box they were transported in as I didn’t have time to arrange anything else that night.
The next morning I got up at daylight to let them out into the garden.
Our backyard is divided into four separate area by fences.
I put Beryl and Ruby in the area nearest to the house.
The other chooks could see them through the fence. A safe way for them all to get aquainted.
Beryl and Ruby cackled for their old flock a little, then set off to explore their new home.
The chooky girls originally came from an organic farm. The first owner sold them to the man I bought them from. He decided he wanted to keep heavier breeds and sold them on.
They obviously remembered their days of free- range foraging in organic meadows, as they strolled about the garden enjoying grasses, and other chooky delicacies.
Our cats were pleased too. They liked having 2 new hens to stalk, that had not yet learnt to give them a swift peck.
My Burmese cat, Simmy, loves creeping up on chooks and then pouncing at them and seeing them jump and squawk. Naughty boy.
Our old chooks got tired of this and have learnt to chase him instead.
I went inside to give Mr Box a poultry progress report.
He asked me where the new girls would lay. I didn’t really expect them to lay on their first day in a strange new place but I said I would sort something out.
The something was two cardboard boxes, turned on their side,flaps out and lined with straw.
Beryl and Ruby approved.
They each entered a box and proceeded to rearrange the straw.
One box was obviously superior and they both wanted it.
So Ruby had to wait.
Beryl piled up straw at the front of the 5 Star box and created a privacy screen.
I left her to it and went back in the house.
Some time later I heard an announcing cackle. Egg number one had arrived.
I collected it from the box, where it lay on the cleared cardboard floor.
Next it was Ruby’s turn.
By lunchtime we had two eggs.
Those Shaver hens are surely egg machines.
I made them a temporary hen house that evening, from a steel frame that had supported an engine being built, a sheet of plywood, a tarpaulin and some empty feed sacks, secured with clothespegs, the roof weighted down with pot plants.
After I persuaded Ruby and Beryl that perching all night on the old wooden sunlounger wasn’t a good idea, they ventured into their tent and settled down for the night.