Chicken
&
Egg Magazine
is a British Hen Welfare Trust Publication
Editor:
Jane Howorth
Design:
Lisa Pope
Phone:
01884 860084
Email:
chicken&egg@bhwt.org.uk
And Finally ...
Bunty, my dear little Boopy-doops, Bunts,
Boopers, Bunty-boo-boo. Why does she
have so many names? She has been
with me for a long time and they are
terms of endearment, pure and simple.
Bunty came out from a farm over four
years ago now, handicapped as she has
remained ever since.
However
,
she has,
in the eyes of my vet, my colleague and
myself, enjoyed life – she’s a hen who
makes the most of her lot.
Despite being unable to walk around freely, and unable to feed herself, Bunty has always
enjoyed the companionship of other more mildly handicapped hens – outliving them all as
it happens. As well as mutual preening and coffee morning chat, chicken-style, Bunty
has delighted in days on the front lawn either sunbathing, clover leaf pecking or watching
the antics of my six little dogs who well know that whilst Bunty may be unable to chase
them, she can inflict a fairly swift peck as necessary. Of course now she’s part of the
family, they’d rather snuggle up with her and watch the world go by.
Does she have personality? You bet. Bunty has a BIG personality; she’s chatty and
responsive, she adores the occasional warm bath (to resolve a smelly botty); relishing the
experience by swishing her tail, bouncing up on her legs and dropping back down into the
bubbles. She’s incredibly picky when it comes to supper time and when I calculate how
many hand feeds she’s enjoyed over the years, it’s in the thousands. Her favourite is ex-
bat crumb made with warm water and a few milled porridge oats, my infamous ‘boost-ball’
recipe. But Bunty isn’t satisfied with the ingredients being blended correctly, the texture
and temperature are paramount and Lady Boops will reject soft boost balls on a Monday,
demand them on a Tuesday and want a different blend on a Wednesday. When chef
gets it right, she’ll fill her crop to bursting and present elephant-sized poops, reward
indeed!
I have no idea how much longer I will have Bunty, all I can say is that
whilst we have had no more than a handful of hens so handicapped, and
we would certainly not keep a hen ‘going’ simply for the sake of it, she
has enjoyed life on the outside almost as much as those fit to forage.
And she has been a pleasure to care for … I love that hen to bits.