The abandoning of Hens around the Country

I had a feeling this would happen when the Coronavirus Pandemic arrived early last year.

I’m sure that in good spirit and with the right intentions, many saw shortages of food etc., they were furloughed or even lost their jobs, so looked at a more self reliant life.
This showed in my website stats, a sudden increase of visitors to both the Chicken Keeping pages and Vegetable gardening.

Chickens in the Garden

Most of the purchasing of Chickens were in April and May. At that time, the weather was good and I’m sure the excitement of gathering your own fresh eggs had a beneficial feel to both the household and way of life.

I believe what happened was exactly that, good dry weather, easy to walk up the garden and carry out the necessary chores to keep the Chickens with good hygiene and health.

Through Summer though, the lockdown was eased as did the Virus. In moments of madness people were going to beaches, some getting back to full time employment, everything seemed to be calming down and the future looked good.

Unfortunately as we all know, the virus didn’t go away and although not a major lockdown like in Spring, along came restrictions

To cap it all, a variant came about in December and another lockdown arrived.

Whilst all this was going on, Autumn and Chickens in Winter came and the, in some cases, novelty of keeping them became more than a chore. Also, maybe the kids who enjoyed them aren’t so keen.
With the shorter days hens were laying less eggs, cleaning out the Coop became, too often or not, a mud bath and it was cold.

Now in January, we read in many local websites and newspapers that Hens are, for want of a better expression, being dumped in woodland, parks or wherever some think that Chickens will thrive on the outdoor natural environment.

The answer to that is a big no they won’t; foxes and dogs are the main predators plus the fact they won’t find somewhere warm to spend their nights and have a proper diet. For them, it’s just a case of terminal existence.

I know this refers to the minority and most are still delighted in keeping chickens, but it does raise the issue that having them is a 365 days a year job even if 100 or so of those days doesn’t suit the human side of things.

The RSPCA and other Animal Welfare Organizations are getting called out on a regular basis. Where those Chickens will end I know what, but have a worrying thought that should new keepers not be found, they will be destroyed.

So to those who may have abandoned their hens in this way, lesson learnt. Chickens are creatures, as we are ourselves, so it is a case of treat others as we would ourselves. At least find them another home.

But, those who’ve kept the Chickens they got during Lockdown and enjoying them regardless of rain, wind, snow, ice, mud and not so nice cleaning of coops…WELL DONE…..Enjoy !

To me it’s like one of those Horror films where you see some awful thing slowly creeping along devouring all that’s before it.

I moved from Ashford in Kent to Bishop’s Waltham in Hampshire nearly three years ago. Although I miss Kent very much, I haven’t missed the Housing Developments which over a number of years saw the countryside being eaten up by new housing, business parks and preparation developments for Brexit.

For the first 18 months in my new locale nothing much happened in the new build sense, then 2020 saw four sites being developed, all fields to the south side, luckily the north side is protected by the South Downs National Park
The sad news is that all the sites are on the border of the countryside hence making a walk to greenery a few hundred meters more than before.

Housing taking over nature

The above development started some month’s back and is now half complete. Beforehand they put up a Plastic Repile fence around the whole field. Is doing this to keep them in or keep them out ? Fair enough to keep them out, but keeping them in is just condemning them to almost certain death !
At the bottom of the bank there was a pond (foreground), this housed the Lizards and numerous birds, now it is simply mud, rubble and empty bags of crisps and other such things.

I don’t blame those wishing to move to the country, but most new housing developments seem to not take much notice of environment in the form of preservation of wildlife.
To build 100 houses which would say house 300 people is killing thousands of wild residents who lived there before.

The Governments new shortcuts on building seems to have led to the “There’s a field, lets buy and build”.

“Going down the Woods to play Mum”, those were the words often heard by Mother back in the 1950’s and very early 1960’s. The Woods were somewhere where you could be Robin Hood, Roy Rogers, Davy Crockett or William Tell, they were a place where the little Copse close to the House became anywhere from Sherwood Forest to the deep Greenery of North America.

As years go by, the Woods do have the occasional comeback, especially when you’re spending free time with the Scouts and then once more when you’re lucky enough to have a Son. Naturally you make out to him that you’ve gone there so he can play, but deep down, you’re craving that imagination for yourself and a quick return or escape to youth!

But, you get to a stage where the Woods still hold their magic, but for other reasons and this is quite clear with me, my quest for simpler living, being more frugal and using the natural resources around me magnetizes me back, the dreams never fade.

Just fifty meters down the Lane from here there’s a Wood, only about 150 meters long by about 50 meters wide but this gives me a bounty of nature’s freebies.
From this small place I get fuel for the Rayburn, wood to carve making useful utensils for home and garden, food from the edge including Blackberries, Elderberries, a rogue Apple Tree. Then there’s the wild Horseradish, Garlic, Hawthorn and Chestnut. What more could you ask for, it’s like a free Shopping trip! (See Nature’s Free Gifts in Frugal Living)

No short trip to the Wood would be the same if you didn’t find time to sit and ponder for a while though. In a very pleasant spot there’s a Tree with roots forming a perfect resting place, made to measure for me anyway.
There I can sit knowing there are pairs of eyes in all directions looking at me, I usually can’t see them, but the rustling of a Bush, the scurry of leaves and flap of wings tell’s me this is so.

Whilst this is going on, you find time to do something which is quite difficult in this modern age….think. Not all of it’s nice, yesterday for instance I wasn’t thinking maybe I would see another Olympic Games in this Country, it was how many more I’ll see anywhere! These thoughts I’m sure we all have, but possibly never take what it is saying to you. For me it’s fact that time is getting shorter, you never know what’s coming up, so you start to make these positive thoughts in so far as what more you can make of your life, improve it for yourself and for others. It’s a great place to plan.

Mixed in with the future, you are also remembering the past, some sad, some happy thoughts go through your mind, but these usually end up with the want to be Robin Hood or Davy Crockett again, if only for just a few short minutes.

So, it’s a place for resource, pleasure, sadness, happiness and meditation, somewhere to go where you can be yourself, look in the mirror of nature for guidance and learn.

I have a phrase I use a lot, ‘never go home empty handed’, in the Woods this usually means three or four return trips, once I’m in there, there’s so much I find it hard to stop, a Log Cabin would be nice, I could gladly live in there.
Back home you have all the proof of your visits; the Wellington Boot Stand, the Pen Holders made from Branch, the Mug Holders, Runner Bean Poles, Dowsing Pendulums and more.

From the age of possibly three or four, the Woods have been a major part of my life, they will continue to be so, all the while we have the common sense to hold on to them and not see them as a nuisance, they will provide many with both material things and be a source for inspiration and wonder.

Alas, the imagination of youth has for many been washed away or hidden by the streeses and strains of modern living or just a laziness to sit down and listen to ourself. The Woods is somewhere to peel away those barriers and look into yourself.

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