Throughout the four years since Hen Solo and Princess Layer arrived, Pete and I have had occasional conversations about what we would do as and when one of them died – since it is widely accepted to be cruel to keep one chicken, especially one that had been used to having a companion.
To begin with, there was no debate – we would get two new young chickens and carry on as before. As the years of chicken responsibilities wore on (early starts, squawks, poorly birds and the inability to go anywhere without finding a carer) we started coming round to the idea that we would find a new home for the remaining chicken and have a bit of chicken-free time.
This has particularly been in our thoughts of late as we would like to move, sooner rather than later, and the logistics of taking chickens with us (and the stress it would cause them) had to be factored in. We made a rational decision – when one chicken died, the best thing would be to re-home the second and decide whether we want more chickens when we were settled in our new location.
On Friday morning, when we discovered that Henny had popped her little clogs that’s exactly what we decided to do, and we started to look for a retirement home for Princess. Friday was a horrible day, there was barely a moment when we weren’t both distraught, but we spent as much time as possible outside with Princess to keep her company.
On Saturday morning I let her free range around the garden early on when Pete was still in bed. She was at her best – calm, inquisitive and well-behaved. She was completely at home in the garden, and didn’t look as though she wanted to live anywhere else. The thought of losing her as well was unbearable.
And so as soon as it was a reasonable hour we went and bought her two new companions – a white Silver Amber called Cluck Skywalker (Cluckie) and a brown Gold Star called Chewbucka (Chewie). Pete introduces them nicely in the short video above. They have settled in quite well, and are happy enough with each other. The only fly in the ointment at the moment is that Princess Layer hates them! Hopefully she will accept them soon and peace will reign once more in the chicken run.
This blog post was written by Emma Cooper and was published on The Unconventional Gardener website. If you're reading it elsewhere you may want to navigate away from plagiarised content.