Listening to: Another Girl Another Planet (The Only Ones)
Weather: horizontal rain this morning, turning to vertical this afternoon
Birds: knot, oystercatcher, black-backed gull.
I'm not aware that the hens have a television in their shed. If they do it's well hidden.
For those who don't know, British Channel 4 has had a number of shows presented by celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver this last week highlighting exactly how chicken meat and eggs get onto the supermarket shelves. It hasn't been pretty, but it has caused something of a stir with letters in the papers, an internet campaign and at least one phone-in show on BBC radio.
Can it be any coincidence that our four remaining hens have stubbed the fags out and set to work? We arrived home on Monday to find an egg and have had nine more since - double figures for the week.
We haven't been doing much different, but there's been quite a transformation in the hen house. The girls look healthier, plumper and have been more active. They are noisier and will now go outside in almost all weathers.
As it appears we take most of our farming advice from TV chefs these days, we have put quite a bit of hay in their run and have some more hay knotted at the end of string dangling from the farm's only tree (which cowers for safety behind the hen house) so they have something to peck at. They have a couple of footballs and we're trying to put a couple of ramps up so they can climb into the tree (and presumably get stuck).
We have decided that, once the spring comes around, we will be sectioning off about half an acre for chickens, splitting the paddock in two so one half can rest while the other is grazed.
And the Trainee Pig Farmer is trying to get over his chicken phobia. I've taken to spending some time in the hen house with the birds to give them a chance to get used to me, making sure they know it's me who gives them their food. The next stage will be to actually hold one, but that'll take a while yet.