Tuesday 13 August 2013

Spot the hen

This week's winner Hebe the goat
My hens are more than free range, they are farmyard hens, they explore everywhere and lay eggs everywhere.  When a wild jungle fowl hen feels the urge to nest, stimulated by her hormones and ovulation, she leaves the flock in search of somewhere secure and secluded it's the same for domestic hens.

This behaviour gives rise to one of the main welfare issues surrounding the keeping of hens in battery cages they just can't act normally, they are totally frustrated. They like to be able to re-arrange some loose material such as straw to make a nest.
Two days ago I found four eggs on the floor of the goat pen and further evidence of how strong the nest urge is. A hen  had been nesting and laying in the hay rack, the goats when they pulled out the hay pulled out the eggs none of which were broken. To get into the hay rack she had to fly up onto the stable door, cross the byre then fly up almost two meters to get into the rack but it must meet her criteria she keeps on coming back.
Secure, secluded and comfortable

In some national newspapers there's a, "Spot the ball competition" a player, a goal mouth and no ball, there's a regional variation of this in Cumbria where the Westmorland Gazette has a ,"Spot the dog" competition; a Shepherd, a field, a bunch of sheep and no dog, you have to put a cross on the dog's nose to win.

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