Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,

New Hens And A Look At Needlework

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We lost a hen recently, one of my favourites, a Bovan Nera named ‘Marley’ – her sister, ‘Bob’ died a few weeks ago as well. Such a lovely, sweet nature, she was the only hen that stood by Amber while she was recovering from a broken leg and didn’t pick on her. When broody, she would hop up onto the sofa and settle down on The Boys’ laps waiting to be stroked.

I miss her calming presence and gentle ‘clucking’ as she wandered in and out of the house.

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As you may have noticed, The Girls play a big part in our lives so I thought you might like to know a bit more about them.

If not, just scroll down the page to the sewing and crochet:)

There are only two hens remaining from the original flock of six, ‘Ginger’, a Columbian Blacktail, and the characterful ‘Amber’, an Amber Star, whose image has graced many a blog post and who is now fully recovered and integrated back into the flock.

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We raised Cock, Buzz and Woody from eggs that our hens hatched, but we lost Buzz to the fox after she ventured into his domain. Generally we don’t have a problem with foxes because, although they are just yards away in the fields most days, they are happy to feast on the never ending supply of rabbits rather than risk getting shot by trying to steal one of The Girls!

Spot, Bluebell, Bob and Marley were all found dead in the nest box at different times with no obvious signs of injury. However, Cock is twice the size of The Girls and he has these lethal weapons.

Three inch long spurs.

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Being an amorous youngster, he is not very delicate with his ladies and we suspect that it was one of these daggers that broke Amber’s leg back in the Summer. He may also have accidentally crushed the others in the nest box overnight too, which would account for the sudden nature of their demise.

Having said all that, he keeps the flock from squabbling most of the time and is a brilliant guard ‘dog’, crowing at any poor unsuspecting delivery person who dares to open the five bar gate at the end of the driveway.

Being a country girl born and bred, his thunderous “Cock-a-doodle-do!” at five am every morning is reassuring rather than annoying. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when Cock let out his his first strangled half-crow at six months old as he was feeding them corn, the first time we were certain he was a cockerel and not a hen. The tell-tale huge wattle and comb take up to a year to develop fully and at that point he looked just like the others.

There’s no mistaking him for a hen now though!

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Here’s ‘Woody’, hatched with Cock and Buzz.

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A quiet hen who loves blackberries and will jump quite high to reach the juiciest ones!

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Anyway, with a reduced flock of just four we decided it was the right time to replenish the numbers. After a failed attempt to hatch three eggs under a broody hen (they kept getting broken) we returned to the farm where we purchased the original six and bought four more point-of-lay hens.

You need to introduce new girls to the flock with care and in at least pairs as they will automatically get hen-pecked by the senior birds in a bid to teach them the pecking order. And yes, that’s where those phrases come from!

Do you want to meet them?

No, we haven’t got any less obvious with our name choices!

Here’s ‘Star’, a Sussex Star, looking a little grubbier than usual.

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‘Bluebell’, a, erm, Blue Belle.

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‘Chestnut’, a Chalk Hill, Chestnut Ranger.

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Finally, meet ‘Snow White’, a White Leghorn.

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The newbies are still settling in and they haven’t quite got the hang of roosting in the coop at night yet. We usually find them on top of the run at dusk but, several times, have found Blue Belle asleep on top of the rotary washing line!Β  Luckily, when they’re dozy they’re really easy just to scoop up and safely relocate on the perch with the older hens.

We still find the odd egg laid randomly around the garden and under the trampoline, but most days they’re in the nest box now.

Chestnut lays dark brown eggs – don’t they look pretty with all the others in the bucket?

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It’s nice to see a decent sized flock free ranging again!Β  Even the newbies regularly come into the house for a ‘chat’ and a few crumbs of whatever I can find to give them. We have four sets of French windows downstairs most of which are permanently open from April to September so The Girls are used to popping in and out at leisure. Now the air has chilled somewhat, the doors are closed and they don’t come in as often, but opportunist Amber will squeeze through the tiniest gap in a door left ajar and plonk herself down firmly with the dogs in front of a roaring fire!

Hens – if you haven’t got any yet, GET SOME!

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Talking of a roaring fire, you may remember that a while ago I found this lovely old fire screen in a charity shop for a few pounds and it has been prettily screening the empty grate all Summer. I shall miss seeing it over the Winter, but logs crackling are a fair substitute!

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An English cottage garden scene hand embroidered onto linen – isn’t it beautiful?

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I used to do a lot of embroidery and cross stitch and still dabble now and again. Years ago, circa 1987-88, I spent weeks labouring over these two ladies as a Christmas gift to my mother.Β  She has since downsized and they were packed away for over fifteen years before she offered them back to me.

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Each lady is about ten inches in height so they’re pretty sizeable. I just need to repair the back of the frames and then I think I might hang them in our bedroom. What do you think? The colours are still as vibrant as the day they were finished nearly thirty years ago – testament to being kept behind glass out of direct sunlight, I suppose.

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I’m almost three quarters of the way through my Minerva Crafts project for October – good job I started back in July, but I knew I’d need three months to complete the WHOLE book!

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I’ve already got my sights set on another glorious book to work through cover to cover – “Let’s Go Camping” by Kate Bruning.

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You have to check out the caravan – it’s even got crocheted bunk beds!

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In fact, I may have to go right to Amazon now and order myself a copy because my heart is fluttering just looking at it again.

What’s on your needles right now?

Author: sewchet

Sewing, Crochet and other loveliness!

55 thoughts on “New Hens And A Look At Needlework

  1. I am only just recovering from the excitement of Little Cotton Rabbits’ latest post and now I’m looking at the crochet caravan and am beside myself! I wish I was more proficient at crochet but I have no doubt that you will produce a fabulous version. Lovely photos of the Girls – the eggs look magnificent.

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  2. I like your new hen Bluebelle she is a lovely color. I also like that little caravan. πŸ™‚

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    • Bluebell certainly is a striking bird to look at. We’re only just beginning to learn their individual characters but she seems very placid and easy going with the other hens. Isn’t the caravan divine?

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  3. Lovely photo of the eggs supplied by your girls,
    How cool does the caravan look, I just might have to pop it on my Christmas wish list πŸ™‚

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  4. Love the firescreen and your cross stitch ladies. Wish I was brave enough to keep hens, but I worry how I would cope if I had to dispatch one of them. I am very very tempted by that book . mmmm

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  5. And I have already looked on Amazon!

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  6. All your hens are so lovely and the names are perfectly suited too πŸ™‚ I’d have hens in a shot if my life had arranged itself differently – so I enjoy yours and others posts that include photos and stories of their flock. I just love the embroidered ladies your mother has returned to you, they will look beautiful on your bedroom wall! You did a great job of them – isn’t it a treat to see your early work again!

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    • Thanks Pauline, I mention the hens often on the blog so it made sense to say a bit more about them. They have very individual characters which makes them such great creatures to have around. I had forgotten all about the cross stitch ladies I did for my mother all those years ago so was delighted to know she’d kept them and happy to have them back. It is lovely to look back on early pieces – she even still has (and uses) the pincushion I made for Mother’s Day when I was five!

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  7. Beautiful hens and eggs and screen and embroidery and that camping book… so much love in one post πŸ™‚

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  8. Such a shame about losing your hens, though your newbies look lovely, hope Mr. Cockerel treats them with tlc πŸ˜‰ Beautiful embroidered ladies and that fire screen is so pretty! LOL…if all else fails and you can’t stay out of that new crochet book, you can always make everyone a caravan for Christmas πŸ˜€

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    • Thanks Caren, its horrible when one of The Girls die, I get incredibly attached to each and every one, but it’s part and parcel of keeping animals so I try to be philosophical about it. Its funny, I wasn’t going to show the cross stitch ladies I did years ago. Don’t know why, perhaps because they’re not recent projects, anyway they seemed to fit in with this post so here they are! Don’t joke about the caravans – I might make you one:)

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      • Whether feathered/furry or otherwise, I think we all get attached to our little animal friends and it’s never easy when they pass ❀
        I think it's great that you showed the two ladies, amazing workwomanship, never mind they are from many moons ago, they look as if they have just been completed, thanks to your mum looking after them so well πŸ™‚
        I have no complaints about getting a caravan LOL…nor would anyone I'm sure πŸ˜‰

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  9. *raises hands* Ooh, me! I have hens! I have five Rhode Island Reds and one Bantam. I love the Bantam the most, but she has a broken leg. I love the eggs!

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  10. You write such interesting posts, love the fire screen, love your cross stitch maidens and the crochet campsite is bonkers.

    Obviously hens have personalities, (who knew?) love the image of hen and dogs in front of the fire.

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    • I’ll try to take a photo of the hen and dogs curled up together in front of the fire. I suppose it is quite amusing and not something you see every day! ‘Bonkers’ is exactly the right word for the crocheted campsite – I’m itching to get started on it and there’s no point in kidding myself that it’s going to wait until after all my Christmas presents are finished:)

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  11. Loved meeting the girls, and now you have your ladies back too πŸ™‚ Sure I’ve mentioned it before, but we hen-sit our neighbours’ three and you can’t beat the excitement of finding the eggs!

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    • So you get the enjoyment of hens without the responsibility? What a lovely compromise and yes, egg hunting can be good fun if they decide to stop laying in the nest box like ours occasionally do, especially if you’ve got a big plot like us with loads of hiding space!

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  12. So sorry to hear of the death of one of your sweet babies. I love the new ones. They look like they each have such unique personalities, The pics of the different eggs with the feathers is awesome. I do a lot of cross stich, reading, crochet and painting and selling dolls to make them look like real babies. You can see my nursery on my website under my name. I really love your blog!!

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    • Thanks Robin, it’s upsetting each and every time we lose a hen but it’s part and parcel of keeping them. The different eggs and feathers make a pretty picture, don’t they? My, you are talented in lots of areas! Painting is one thing I’m absolutely useless at but love to admire. It’s Somerset Arts Week at the moment and I love to go around the studios looking (and buying!) all the art. Luckily my daughter is a talented oil painter so the lounge is full with her works. I visited your website when you first started following my blog as I was trying to follow you but could only find your website. What you do with those newborn dolls is nothing short of incredible:)

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      • Aww thanks for the compliment on my dolls. I love making them. I was a nurse for ten years in the baby ward so that helps with the coloring, veins etc. I remember when you showed a piece of your daughter’s work and her talent is spectacular! The pic of the chicken hopping in the air for a berry was so funny, You got that one just at the right time. LOL

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  13. Just love that Let’s Go Camping book! Good to hear Amber is better and to see all your beautiful birds. Well done with the dolls book too.

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    • Isn’t the book fantastic? I showed my husband and he just rolled his eyes – they don’t get it, do they?! Bringing Amber into the house for a few weeks to heal definitely saved her life and it’s wonderful that she integrated back into the flock so well. The first night was a worry, I can tell you! She kept knocking on the door to come in the house to roost for a few weeks after!

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  14. I loved the post and reading about your little flock. They are the cutest ever. Amazing colours of your flock as well. Not to mention the fun they get up to and the lovely eggs.
    And how sweet is that camping! My goodness, it is a must have for sure! πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, the hens are a big part of our lives so it only seems fair to do a post about them. The camping book is almost too cute for words, isn’t it? Great attention to detail even down to the crocheted cups on the hooks!

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      • Love your hens. They are adorable. I some days miss growing up on the farm and all the animals. Now living in the city / suburbs, we are a little restricted of what is allowed.
        That book is special. I can just imagine working for hours on making the little goodies. πŸ™‚

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      • City living has its own treats – a trip to the theatre is a rare occurrence because it takes three hours to get there! I spent yesterday on the sofa tending poorly boys and managed to get started on the book:)

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      • Indeed. City living is nice as well. Its pretty convenient. And we have great markets with produce from the local farms and producers that makes up for it.
        How is the boys today? Feeling a bit better? They always seem to get better faster when Mom or Dad is around to pamper them. πŸ™‚ Take care and enjoy the book!

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  15. Love the fire screen, another thing to add to my ‘would love to make’ list! I’m about to begin the scary (to me) process of joining together all the pieces of a baby cardigan I’m knitting. Started in June! Wish I was as productive as you!

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  16. Love the description of all those hens! But now we have met them you had better keep them safe so as not to result in a mass mourning of all your readers if something awful happens!

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  17. Love your chickens! I would LOVE some but hubby says our deeds say we can’t. It has just occurred to me that he might not want to add to our menagerie and I haven’t checked myself! Your cross stitch ladies are lovely – and loving your crochet! Xx

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  18. Thanks for the introductions. Blue Belles my favourite – in the looks stakes! Wonder if we should make room for them, not sure what the cat would think, she’s a bit of a hunter. Would the chickens gang up on the cat? πŸ“

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  19. What a delightful post! I loved meeting your girls, they are all so beautiful. Never had hens, but always yearned for them when we had a more rural home. Now we are in the city and cannot have any (although I do hear a random rooster now and again). The fire screen embroidery is lovely, but oh how happy you must be to have your ladies on blue – they are exquisite! Thank you for sharing your lovelies with us. πŸ™‚

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    • I am more than happy to have the cross stitch ladies back as they’re the kind of thing you never get around to making for yourself, someone else always comes first. The fire screen gives me great pleasure each time I look at it – I shall miss it over the Winter months but view it with fresh eyes next Spring.

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  20. That was such a nice story. You do well remembering all your hens’ names! My grandma has chickens so I’m glad my girls are experiencing that, as I don’t have the space for them at home (and I’m renting so I don’t think my landlady would approve!) but I just love fresh, proper free range eggs. I love how yours wander in and out of the house! Lovely imagery! And your cross stitch is exquisite. So nice that it’s still looking perfect πŸ™‚

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  21. What a fun post! I have such fond memories of hens – we always had 4 (one for each family member, as my father used to say) when I grew up: fresh eggs ….. yum!
    And, as it turns out, we have one more thing in common: I used to do a lot of cross stitch as wel…… Love your ladies, glad to read they’ve returned home!
    The caravan crochet book is just too cute, isn’t it? Marianne xx

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