The day our lives changed for the better was the 21st November 2011 when four beautiful Gingernut Rangers moved into our back garden. It is truly remarkable how well these birds have fit into our family life, I can’t imagine life without them now. They have so much character, they chat away to you while they scratch at the ground, they stare right into your eyes and will come sprinting down the garden when they hear you at the back door. They are really fantastic.
We had thought about getting chickens before, a year or two earlier but were worried that our back garden wasn’t secure enough with two side hedges, a back fence (into an open field) and our house forming the walls of the garden.
I’m not sure why we decided now would be different. But after talking about it with Chloe and Millie our daughters, Mike found the perfect chickens, great egg layers and chickens that don’t really like to fly about on www.brackenholmebanties.co.uk. Claire and Bruce have been so very helpful, patiently answering all of our emails, each filled with many questions!
He found a great coop online from www.henhouseworld.co.uk, perfect for our garden and four chickens. Once ordered, it promptly arrived as a large flatpack and we put it together – it was surprisely easy.
The following weekend, Mike and Millie went to collect our new hens from Brackenholme Banties and brought them back to their new home.
It was exciting when they arrived, we all took one each as our own. Mine I named Roxy, Mike named his Penny, Chloe called hers Perky and Millie called hers Boo Boo. Weirdly they suit their names. Roxy is the oldest and the bossiest. Penny is Henny Penny the Worrier, Perky is definitely the most enthusiastic about everything (and the cuddliest!) and Boo Boo is the baby. They settled in well and Roxy began laying almost immediately.
We’ve had to keep them in their coop for four days so they would learn that this was their new place. I was a bit nervous about letting them out, they were obviously ready to come out and explore, the girls were at school and Mike was away at work.
I walked down the garden to the coop, whispered a nervous plea to remain in our garden, and opened the door. Our four lovely ladies literally flew at me in their eagerness to get free and immediately set about exploring their new surroundings. Phew phew phew. What a relief!
*Apologies for the sideways video!! Later that day, I watched from the window as they trudged back into their coop just as it was turning dark, about 4pm, waiting for me to come and secure their roost.
Things we learnt in the first week:
- The four day confinement worked a treat. We have had no trouble at all with them returning to roost each night.
- They love a good dust bath and shelter from the wind.
- They are very thirsty creatures.
- Our Gingernut Rangers are very friendly birds, they love to chat and aren’t easily spooked, something we were a little worried about with them having to share the back garden with two girls and all their toys.
- They love a piece of apple or a slice of bread. And really love a handful of meal worms.