Reading can take you to places of wonders and dangers. Like travelling, it can open your mind and take you places you never dreamt of going to before.
Which is how I ended up getting obsessed with chickens.
It was an article on the Internet, pleading at my heart strings. These birds need you, it said, showing a picture of a group of bald brown hens with sad eyes. They were former battery hens, kept in cramped cages for eggs, and were being ‘released’ from their miserable prison years.
Many of the homes these previously unlucky – now lucky – ladies now resided were ordinary suburban (some even urban) houses with patios and lawns.
It was a revelation.
I never thought about hens in that way before. They were farm animals or lived in smallholdings. (As I found this was also a firm view held by my nearest and dearest).
Then I remembered a former colleague who chatted happily about her backyard chickens.
I perused the article. I gazed out at my petite garden. Could a coop fit out there? Would I have the discipline to wake very early to let them out each morning? Be responsible enough to arrange hen sitters to come and look after them?
I looked at those bald hens again in the photo.
Jemima would be a nice name. Maybe Mabel and Ethel…
Not yet. But maybe one day.
That was at the start of 2015.
A two-year odyssey of research, day dreaming, procrastination, hard work, blood, sweat and tears followed… 🐔
Note: I came across the title of this blog in a book called Chickens as Pets and thought, how apt. So Damsels in Distress title courtesy of Andrew Hinkinson’s Chickens as Pets.