I had a phone call from my brother yesterday. The conversation went like this:
Brother – I have another chook for you.
Me – But I don’t want another chook.
Brother (sounding dejected) – Oh, never mind then. I’ve been waiting ages to get this one for you. It’s the same as the one you already have. An Orpington.
Me – But I don’t have Orpingtons.
Brother – Not an Orpington, then. The one you already have.
Me – Do you mean one like Hannah Hen. The one that came from across the road in the paddock.
Brother – Yes, the same as her.
Me (sounding a bit sceptical) – Do you mean you have a Partridge Wyandotte bantam?
Brother – Yes
Me – Does she have the partridge ring around her neck?
Brother – Yes
Me – Is she a bantam?
Brother – I think so, yes. I’ll bring her up this week and if you don’t want her I will give her to my mate and he’ll put her in the freezer.
Me – Ok.
I told my daughter Aitch about this encounter with my brother. I realised (when she looked at me aghast) how ungrateful I had been. He knew I wanted more hens the same as Hannah Hen and he knew that his friend on a farm had one like her in amongst her chickens. He had taken the time to go and get her for me.
But these are the reasons I was feeling ungrateful:
I don’t think that she will be a Partridge Wyandotte bantam.
I want friendly, docile chickens.
I want to know her background.
I want a pullet and not an old hen.
I want a healthy chicken.
I am not ready to introduce a new chicken yet. My three have just got used to being together.
I am told that you shouldn’t ever introduce one new chicken to an existing brood.
I can only have a few more chickens and I want to choose wisely.
But Aitch is right. I can’t say no to this chicken. No matter what she is, I have to keep her. I couldn’t send her to the freezer just because she doesn’t “match” the hens I already have. But then, I don’t want just any old hen. I only want heritage breeds. I don’t want hens bred for eggs. Oh dear. What will I do.
I got another phone call from my brother tonight. He is bringing her out tomorrow.