Yesterday, the ever tolerant husband trekked halfway across the midlands so that we could pick up two silkie bantam pullets. As it was also our wedding anniversary, I think he deserves special mention.
Since the early demise of Belinda, our youngest son has been a very sad little boy. When asked what would make him feel better, he made it perfectly clear that if resurrecting belinda was out of the question, it would have to be another hen. Preferably one that looked like a microphone. This description puzzled me for a bit, until the penny dropped. He wanted a silkie.
We arrived at the breeder's and were greeted with a shed full of silkie chicks. The problem with silkies, is that they like to keep their gender ambiguous. Being relatively slow to mature doesn't help, and many a poultry keeper has looked out at their eight month old hens one day and suddenly heard a wimpy cockadoodledoo. There can be no vocal manifestations of maleness in our small suburban garden.
The breeder handed us three chicks which he was certain were pullets. Our youngest instantly fell in love with a microphone headed blue which he has named Kiki Fluffy (he is six). The ever tolerant husband instantly proclaimed that this was a stripper name, so I elbowed him in the ribs, not wishing to have to explain the term 'stripper' in front of the breeder. I chose the other pullet, a partridge-ish coloured girl who just looks like a Margot. They definitely look as though they should be wearing grand Pat Butcher style earrings and clutching handbags to their matronly bosoms.
I have set up a separate pen for the newbies, next to the Convent's grounds. When we first got home, I put the silkies out in their hutch and let the girls out of the Convent. Mabel came over to the netting instantly, suspecting that something was afoot. Seeing nothing obvious, she lumbered off into the border to eat my marigolds. The others watched Mabel, saw her lose interest, and proceeded to do likewise.
It took Kiki and Margot a good forty minutes to feel brave. Kiki stuck her head out of the hutch first, eyed the ground (they had never been on grass), and then hid again. A few minutes later, after a brief conference with Margot, they both slowly emerged and set about scoffing the lawn.
They did all this in silence, so they'd been out a while before the girls clocked them. Mini edged closer to the netting, staring intently at the new comers. Mabel took matters into her own hands, and jumped straight in to the pen. She was swiftly evicted, much to her disgust. Slowly but surely, the girls encircled the silkie enclosure. They seemed unsure as to how they should react to this new development. Obviously, if I'd brought new chickens into the garden, there would need to be some duffing up. However, the girls seemed to decide, these ridiculous looking things were not chickens, so should probably be ignored.
The silkies hid behind the rose bush, and did their best to look like discarded feather dusters.