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  • All the Joys of Keeping Chickens

  • EVELYN Gettings got the hen habit after being roped into looking after a neighbour's flock

  • when he was on holiday last year.

  • "My neighbour had them for about 10 years. I didn't even know he had them until he asked

  • me to look after them and I absolutely loved it," said Mrs Gettings from Shotley Bridge.

  • "By the end of the fortnight, I was absolutely hooked."

  • Her experience of caring for her friend's chickens led her to the Battery Hen Welfare Trust website, which also provides

  • help and advice for novice poultry keepers. She now has five former battery hens in her

  • garden.

  • "I had to wait a couple of months and at the end of November, I went to collect them from

  • a farm," she said.

  • "We never had pets apart from the odd guinea pig but they are actually not hard to look

  • after. You feed and water them at least once a day.

  • "The most laborious thing is cleaning them out; I've got a composter to put all the stuff

  • in." Like most chicken fans, she loves the distinct characters in her flock.

  • "They all have their own little personalities and traits," said Mrs Gettings. "They are

  • absolutely fascinating to watch. Just great fun."

  • All her hens have names - Bobble, Dora, Stephanie, Emma and Sweetpea. Bobble had few feathers

  • when she arrived and her sisters kept pecking her, making the situation worse during what

  • turned out to be one of the coldest winters for decades.

  • Mrs Gettings looked online for advice to keep Bobble warm and instead of finding recommendations

  • for a heater, she discovered sewing patterns for chicken jackets.

  • "I made her an array of coats to wear - she had leopard skin and pink jackets," she said.

  • "They really did work. It saved her - it stopped her being pecked by the other hens and kept

  • her warm. She's really come out of herself.

  • "She now has a full set of feathers. When we first got her she would not come out of the hen house, and did not know how

  • to peck or scratch around as the other hens did.

  • "When we put her outside she ran under a bush and stayed there. Now she is just a normal

  • hen, and loves being out in the garden."

All the Joys of Keeping Chickens

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B2 hen neighbour flock absolutely battery garden

Keeping Chickens

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    Why Why posted on 2013/04/07
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