In the last week of January, we were puppy-sitting little Dottie, so she spent some time with us at Baulcombes Barn. She enjoyed her time on the farm, with all the smells and unusual and new things to explore. She was fussed over by the Bluebell House group, and both were pleased to meet each other.
At one point, she watched the hens through the gate, before going in the yard to meet them. We soon realised that she was less interested in the hens than their poo!
Later that week, the Plumpton College Rural Pathways group came for their work experience session and worked well at various tasks. These included: feeding and tending pigs, sheep, hens and ponies.
One student commented how clever the hens are, making the feed hopper work in order to feed themselves.
Another student found where some of our free range hens had been laying eggs, and helped to collect fourteen eggs.
Unfortunately, at the weekend after the groups had been, two chicken were killed by a fox. I suspect that the chickens did not get into the chicken house before the safety nighttime door closed, because the evenings are getting lighter and they may not have been ready to go to roost.
I have now set the automatic door to close an hour later. We need to keep an eye on the daylight changing and keep adjusting it accordingly.
Report by Owena Lewis, therapist and farmer