Sometimes, a hen comes into your life and can’t help but make an impact. Dear Viola was one of those hens. She came to us in the summer of 2016, with her flock sisters. The Shakespeare Sisters, we called them, and Viola was named after my favourite Shakespeare heroine from Twelfth Night.
But what a state she was in! We’ve never seen a hen look quite as rough. Her comb was overlarge, floppy and pale, her wings looked like chopsticks and she was missing so many feathers that she looked almost oven-ready.
However, appearances can be deceptive and she soon proved to be a feisty little girl, marching up and down the run of the coop, asking to be let out to free-range for the first time.
And how she loved to free-range! So much so that she was soon laying eggs in the hedge and venturing through the hedge into our neighbours’ gardens! She also loved sneaking into the house whenever the door was open, leaping onto our chair in the conservatory and sticking her head in any bags of food around. She really was an adventurer!
Winter weather didn’t faze her even though she was a sun-worshipper at heart. In fact, I’ve never seen a hen enjoy sunbathing so much and, in the early days of her release, we had to put sun lotion on all those bare bits of hers!
I loved looking out of the kitchen window to see her leaping on to pots and bins and sneaking around the oil tank. One never quite knew where she’d appear next.Darling Vi. You were such a special girl and I hope you loved your retirement with us as much as we loved having you as a part of our family. You’ll be missed so much.