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Gill Buchanan's Blog

Snowball, Delilah and the hens of Capel Farm

On Capel Dairy Farm they have egg-laying hens and Wanda is very fond of them.

This is the fictitious farm that features in my novel:

The Artist, the Farmer and the Ancient Oak

I've always fancied having some hens in my garden but it hasn't become a reality so far. I'm very envious of those that do.

There are four varieties mentioned in the book, all good egg producing girls!

And here’s a run-down of the perky peckers:

  • Goldline hens have an inquisitive nature and are very friendly. They will quite happily eat from your hand once they get to know you. They have pretty brown/red feathers with white under-feathers and tails.

  • Light Sussex birds are the ones with a predominantly pure white plumage with black neck feathers, tail feathers and wing tips. They are hardy, friendly birds that can be tamed and are easy to handle. They often like to be at the top of the pecking order!

  • Rhode Island Reds are beauties with their reddish-brown coat of feathers and shining black tails highlighted by hints of green. I think they probably know how gorgeous they are.

  • Orpingtons have fluffed-out blonde feathers, short legs and a curvy, short back. Very cute!

Here’s an excerpt from The Artist, the Farmer and the Ancient Oak. This is the first scene when Wanda goes up to the hen barn. As usual, the first thing she does is to let all the hens out on to Hungry Hill; something the Taylor family, who she married into, berate her for.

Wanda held one of the Goldline hens in her arms and stroked her red brown feathers, lightly kissing the top of her head. The mild fresh air felt good this morning; it helped to clear her head after a bit too much wine with Saffy last night. She still hadn’t seen Glen; he had been out milking the cows when she got back. It was horrible to think that they had rowed and said some terrible things to each other.

‘You like it out here, don’t you, Delilah?’ She put her down so that she could waddle off and join the others, foraging in the field. She had noticed that when the hens were outside, they weren’t too interested in the feed she was supposed to be giving them. They seemed more absorbed in exploring, pecking at the ground as they went. Looking out over Hungry Hill and beyond, she could see the water of Pond Meadow glistening in the sunlight.

‘Don’t go too far, Snowball,’ she called out as a Light Sussex turned to look at her. ‘Nothing wrong with your hearing.’ She smiled as the hen held her perky head high displaying its bright pink comb.

The Artist, the Farmer and the Ancient Oak is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle from 1st March.

However, you can pre-order the Kindle version now at the discounted price of £2.99.


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