Fingers crossed for rescue chooks

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This weekend has been more chicken-y than National Chicken Day in Chicken Town, in Chicken County.

Saturday was Chicken Rescue Day, and Sunday was Chicken – well, egg – Showing Day. We are now, as a family, entirely chickened out.

Saturday saw us driving around the wilds around Hawick looking for the halfway house where our rescue chickens from Wing and a Prayer Rescue had been dropped off after liberation.

We turned left opposite Emtelle and suddenly we weren’t in Kansas any more. Half an hour later than planned, we arrived, signed for six chooks, paid our nominal fees and had some of the baldest hens I’ve ever seen in the back of the truck.

Back home, we settled them into their temporary ‘quarantine’ quarters and put plenty of straw in the coop, just to give the folically-challenged a bit of extra comfort.

Despite their appearance, and the trauma they must have been through, an egg was waiting the next morning, followed by four more the next again day. Bless. So far, so good – all alive and no doubt revelling in the extra space. I think free-ranging is going to blow their avian minds.

On Sunday, a grand day out, as ever, was had at the Peebles and District Poultry and Bantam Club 28th Championship Show.

In contrast to the bedraggled beasties we picked up the day before, all of the chooks, bantams, turkeys, geese, and ducks on show had been primped and preened to within a polished inch of their lives.

Bathed, oiled, Vaselined and polished, they strutted proudly in their show cages.

We had high hopes of taking Sergeant Murdoch, our lovely new cockerel, to the show. The dashing white and black sergeant was hatched last summer and is now maturing nicely.

He has taken over from our dear, departed Bruce as defender (and ravisher) of the chooks, and is doing his job(s) very well.

Having never shown a chicken before, I am not sure if a) he’s show quality and b) whether I would oil and Vaseline the right bits. But it would be fun to try it.

But not this year. Too much hopping up and down from perch to compost heap to shed roof and down to earth again to ravish the hens resulted in a condition with a rather lovely-sounding name – Bumblefoot. So a quick call to the vet and two jags for the now not-so-dashing sergeant. More the hobbling sergeant.

Still, we thought, the show is four days away, and if he’s on the mend and walking OK, he can still go to the ball.

He obviously just didn’t want to go, as the next morning we noticed he’d skinned the side of his leg. So we treated it with purple spray, an antiseptic used for minor cuts which is especially good on poultry as it stops other birds from pecking the open wound, which the little blighters tend to do. Grim.

So, no show for the sergeant. However, our eggs entries did garner two first places, two second places and two third places. Not bad for hens just coming back into lay, and included our first ever, ever, ever prize for the inside of an egg, as opposed to the outside. Second prize for ‘internal and external contents, large fowl’.

Team that with a visit to the Cocoa Black cafe for morning coffee and the best brownies in the Borders, and life couldn’t get any better.