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Fresh start hens

Fresh start hens

It's been a long while since I posted a blog, I seem to have been taking more photographs. Chris suggested a blog piece on the rescue hens and I'm more than happy to oblige.

The first batch of rescue hens are almost unrecognisable from when they arrived back in the summer. They are bigger, browner, their combs are glossier and prouder, they are more adventurous and a whole lot more bolshy (anyone who's been enthusiastically pecked on boots or jacket can attest to this). During the day they have open access to the outside, at night they are kept sheltered, warm and away from foxes. They have strong appetites for both food and water and have grass every day. I make a regular paypal/cash donation in exchange for eggs, and lovely they are too. It's fantastic to know exactly where the eggs have come from, and to be confident that they are well cared for. The hens are doing really well and it's in large part due to the generosity of supporters who have sponsored hens and also given their time to get the hens used to being around people.

The second group of rescue hens arrived on Sunday with Di and Dave and are already starting to settle in nicely. They're in a separate quarantine area which helps them to build confidence in their new surroundings without any risk of bullying from the established brood. Sponsors are welcomed for these hens too - contact Chris or Helie via this site, Facebook or Twitter (or even phone!) if you'd like to help. You can see a short video of these hens arriving below. Have a look, you'll be able to see just how far the first set of rescue hens have come, with the generous support and sponsorship provided by friends of Caenhill.


It's worth saying that battery hens, as we used to know them, no longer exist in the UK due to changes in EU law. Hens now have a bit more space and slightly improved conditions known as enriched cages. However, hens that are kept in these environments still have a lifestyle that is a long way from free range hens. When hens come to Caenhill they may have lost many feathers from scrapping with other hens. They are not used to having water easily available and may just peck when they want to drink, as that's what they do in the cages. They've never seen a cockerel or daylight, nor their own eggs. Change comes fast though and they adapt well to improved conditions. Chris collected eggs from the new arrivals on Monday morning, just hours after they'd arrived.

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Countryside Centre Where you can learn so much

I have spent a lot of the day making sure we know what we are talking about. Our Introduction to Agriculture course which we have developed for Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils. which will be held here at the Caen Hill Countryside Centre.
The next stage is for Key Stage 3 & 4 with our Seed to Fork delivery.
We also have targeted work for NVQ and other accredited courses.
We have some great resources from NFU (National Farmers Union) - where Farming Matters. They have a very interesting website which tells you about farming and the countryside. have a look: http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/farmingmatters
You may see things out in the countryside and wonder what it was, or why you saw it there. Visiting the site may help  you to find out a little more. Always good to learn something new every day.
Now at the Caen Hill Countryside Centre today, we have had some bold and bright winter sunshine. A cisp start with some ice around saw the deer trotting up the fields as soon as the sun rose. Even more came along once we had been out with the food. The birds really appreciate a little extra at this time of year.
While summer brings the colour, song and drama of the breeding season, winter is a great time to watch birds flocking together, sometimes in spectacular numbers.Why not learn a little more about our native birds here in the UK? Visit: http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/features/winterflocks.aspx
The birds tend to change their habits in the winter. They are more likely to swoop around in large flocks and several different species in each group. As the night draws in they will head for safety in a barn, an empty building, swaying reeds or even a bare tree.

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