A couple of weeks ago I went out to buy feed at Dodson and Horrell. When I drove up, what should they have but a poultry event. I couldn't of course, walk by the hens and ducks on display without having a jolly good look, but I was strong. I didn't buy anything. Then. But I went back the next day and bought myself an early birthday present: two point of lay Black Rocks. They are hardy hybrids who are supposed to be able to cope with cold, and bearing in mind our field is always windy, and in winter is positively Arctic, they seemed a sensible choice.
I got them home and fetched daughter to name one (had already decided on the drive back that one would be Black Bess - she's below).
The hens erupted out of the carrier into the stable, and Miranda promptly named the other one Tiger.
And what a prophetic name that was. Poor Scrabbles, my head hen, has been demoted. Tiger is now top of the pecking order. She's more likely to jump on the others that stop fights, but Scrabbles does still weigh in and stop scraps among the lower orders. Hey ho. They have settled down now, but there have been moments when I have looked beadily at Tiger and contemplated her suitability for the pot.
They are beautiful hens though, particularly Bess, who has marvellous greeny-black colouration down her back, and they are laying well. I do like watching the way the flock dynamics change - at least when it's not accompanied by violence - but I think that's it. Nine hens are enough.