Late last night just as we were going up to bed, My husband went to close up the chickens as we've done for the last year. - The only trouble was that a Fox had got there before him, and our lovely rescue chickens Sally and Princess Leia were no more.
We live in a semi rural area, and the houses that back onto us face a field and a farm, so it's hardly suprising that there are foxes around, we just hoped that locking them in at night, and only letting them into their run while we were at home would save them.
When I was told last night, I wasn't that upset, - life goes on kind of thing, and it isn't as if they were house pets, that got cuddled, - but today as I can't work because of the snow, and as I look out over the garden at their empty run, I realise how much they've been a part of my and the garden's life this year.
At the beginning of November last year, we received the Chicube run that we'd ordered at the Malvern Show, and installed our Rescue chickens in it. I wrote about it here
They obviously liked being Free range rather than kept in a cage, and produced the first egg for us just 2 weeks later on my Birthday. Since then they have averaged about 10 eggs a week between the 2 of them.
Although getting eggs has been fantastic, - for me as a gardener, that hasn't been the greatest benefit. For me, Having to go out into the garden every morning and evening to feed them has meant that i've had to walk past my greenhouse, and vegetable bed. It's meant that I can't ignore if plants need watering, and the odd weed or 2 has been removed at each pass by. It's meant that my compost bin has had a regular weekly top up of high quality nitrogen rich fertiliser, it's meant that lots of my scraps don't go to landfill or even in the food waste bin. on top of this, it's meant that every slug and snail i've found has been thoughrly enjoyed by 2 chickens keen to recycle my garden pests.
So I shall remember Sally and Princess Leia with a smile, and hope that they Rest in Peace, - and now i'm off to find some replacements, so that I have an excuse to go down the garden, and my veg patch and greenhouse won't get neglected