The photo was taken during a circuit of the field, eight years ago now when ten warren hens would follow me around like puppies.
They were mistreated birds that turned out to be a delightfully tame set of girls, and the best layers I ever had.
This is an excerpt from Going Gently from eight years ago
"This afternoon I recieved a phone call from a guy who said he had 10 hens he wanted to rehome. He made some generalised excuses about his dog being a threat to his birds and sounded so in need of "getting rid" that I agreed to drive over to his village immediately to see what I could do.
As it turned out, the young bog standard hybrids were a gift to a child, who had all but lost interest in them, and I very nearly lost my temper when I crept into a "converted "wendy house" that had doubled as a make shift hen house. Inside ten skinny birds crowded around me like tame puppies. They were tame because they were starving and wanted food, and not because they had been hand reared..and I was quick to note that the house had no water or food laid out for them. There were no perches, straw filled nest boxes or even any sawdust in the shed...and the floor was three inches deep in wet , shit impregnated shavings which looked remarkably like porridge. The whole place was disgusting.
The man noticed my face and thinking that I was not impressed with the birds rather than their surroundings he asked if I would take the hens off his hands.........looking at the scruffy bunch, I decided to not to get angry and simply said " yes, I will take the lot!" It took 30 seconds to catch the hens and put them into Constance's cage in the back of the car. Within half an hour I had fed them properly ( 4 bowls of corn and pellets!!!! I couldn't literally pour the feed quick enough) then bedded them down snugly- 6 in the runner duck house ( the three remaining ducks will be housed with the older ducks) and the remaining 4 in the large hen house with the gentle young purebreeds ..........
I have nicknamed the new girls The Belles of St. Trinian's as their scruffy appearance reminds me of the the 1954 unkempt schoolgirls (above) I think they will do fine...........
I am now up to 100 animals!!!"