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A Silkie Story

In the summer of 2005 we visited Bob’s sister Isabel in Northamptonshire.  She took us up to the field to admire her hens.  Almost before the words “Oh aren’t they lovely” were out of our mouths, 3 little silkies were packed in a box ready for their long drive north to Newcastle.  Of course not being expected, Ena, Mina and Mo had to make do with an adapted car trailer as their new home for their first few days, but being silkies they continued to chatter and to lay, and seemed to enjoy the freedom of a large run on the grass.  They were soon free ranging and settled into the big hen house with the flock, although they kept themselves apart from the large birds.

Sadly, Mina, the smallest of the trio, went very light and died. Of course the other two went broody, and although it seemed rather early, at the end of February we gave up the unequal struggle to dissuade them and set some Cream Legbar eggs that Gill and Dave kindly gave us.  Ena and Mo behaved impeccably sitting together on six eggs and on 18th March they proudly presented us with two bonny chicks.  (Yes, I did check the other four eggs and they were empty – phew!)

All continued well, mothers perfect, both chicks pullets, until it was time for integration.  It didn’t happen.  Silkies and pullets were running free and roosting in the hen house, but ranging as a separate group from the main flock.  Time for advice from the experts.  “No” said Maggie, “the hatchlings think they’re silkies and will stick with their mums.  No problem though, we’ll take the silkies on and in time the pullets will identify with the other big birds.”  Isn’t it wonderful to have friends like these!

Despite being in silkie heaven, Ena died shortly after the move, but Mo (now Evie) continues to thrive with Maggie and Derek’s established silkie flock.  The pullets did well at the summer show, and are laying a small but nicely shaped blue egg.  They are now well integrated but remain our pet birds, and are always first in line for treats.