It began with Myrtle.
Unlike the raucously clucking Isa Browns in the adjacent shed, she stood quietly alone, a drop-dead-gorgeous Light Sussex bantam looking wistfully out at me – or so I imagined. I just had to make her mine.
After further consideration, I realised that introducing one little bantam barely out of chick-hood to my existing flock of full-sized hens could be a disaster. So I bought a white Leghorn as well.
My sons named the white leghorn ‘Hedwig’, after Harry Potter’s snowy owl (they’d prefer a snowy owl for a pet, but a chook will have to do). And my husband chose Myrtle for the Light Sussex bantam, observing the tradition of giving chooks old-lady names.
Introducing Myrtle and Hedwig to Nightmare, Lola and Ninja wasn’t as horrible as I expected. Following advice from Mr Google, I first put the new girls in with the old at night and I increased the size of the run so that Myrtle and Hedwig had somewhere to escape to. I also provided several sources of food and water to prevent fighting over food.
A few scuffles have occurred, and lots of squawking, but tonight all five went to bed without any fuss. I could hear them cooing gently together as they dozed off to sleep perched in a row.