Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Hens and holidays

"Oh I'd love to keep hens!" this statement is usually followed by questions about henhouses and feed and poultry breeders. Then "What do you do when you go on holiday?". The answer is to find another henkeeper and swap holiday henkeeping duties. Hens like routine, and so long as their daily habits aren't disrupted they are happy.

So in return for the under-gardeners (and studio assistants) being kept clean and well provided for when we are away it's our duty to do the same for this grand gentleman and his seven wifelets!

Over the past few weeks I've enjoyed being waitress and house-maid for a neighbour's Black Cochin cockerel and his harem. He purrs in a deep Barry White voice. "Look! Look!" he makes sure they know I've put the corn feeder out for their supper. "Look! Look! Look!" he picks up the chicory leaves I've brought them and sees that each wifelet is pecking contentedly. They've been confined to a shady hen-run beneath a plum tree, but I could see them longingly gazing at the green lawn - so I let them take a stroll before bedtime. He struts as if he's wearing high heels, billowing trousers and shiny tail-coat - he's escorting his girls on an evening promenade. Then the wifelets are ushered back to the henhouse and he sits in the doorway, red wattles resting on his shimmering mane of feathers, surrounded by his adouring ladies. It's been a pleasure sir!


  1. What beautiful creatures! I have a hidden fondness for chickens and cockerels which started all of 57 years ago whenI went to stay with my aunt and uncle in Pilning near Bristol. They had a hen house and the smell and the sound of it at evening was just so magical. One day...sigh.

  2. I think I've fallen in love! What a gorgeous male... no wonder he has a harem. Your description of him and his walkabout were fascinating ...

    It is great that you can swap hen-keeping duties with a neighbour ... I wish I could do that more easily with my dog.

  3. What a fabulous regal looking bird he is. I love his black feathers and vibrant red wattle. Are this breed quite friendly?
    Sara from farmingfriends

  4. Hi Celia,

    I have tagged you for the Fantastic Four Meme, follow this link for the details http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/?p=410

  5. Hi Toffeeapple, Kate and Sara
    Cochins are my favourite poultry breed (sadly I no longer have my birds - but I'm sure I'll get some more one day). They are one of the largest breeds but are extremely docile and friendly and their masses of feathers mean they feel like pillows!!!
    There are 6 standard colours: Black, Blue, Buff, White, Partridge and Cuckoo. You'll have to get a trio Sara - everyone smiles when they see a Cochin running!

    Hi CS - oh! thanks - this may take some time to think about!

  6. Hi Celia

    I'm jealous! I would loe to have my own chickens. Unfortunately, in my modest little home these days up here in the North East it is impossible. One day I certainly will though. I can't imagine how fantastic it must be to wake up and have a freshly liad egg for brekky!



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