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Can two humbugs and a lemon drop mend a broken heart? Well, if they are eight-week-old bundles of feathers and mischief maybe…

Two humbugs and a lemon drop!

Two humbugs and a lemon drop!

With Effie suffering two sad losses recently, her little spirit was flagging. She was becoming very clingy, spending more and more time in the humans’ coop and she had taken to standing by the gate looking into the big girls’ garden. At night time, instead of being the top tier of a two hen pyramid, she discovered that being a one hen pyramid was a very lonely place to be.

We had decided that Effie needed small hens as company. Young hens, so that she did not feel threatened or frightened. Seeing how calm she had been with little Izzy, it was certainly the right thing for her.

And then I heard that three little bantam chicks were ready for a new home. They had been hatched in the animal care unit at work and I had seen them at only a few hours old. My friend who had originally reserved three was unable to have them, so they were needing a home.

It was a sign.

On Friday afternoon these three bundles of mischief came to live in Effie’s Garden. India Lemon Drop is a lemon pekin bantam and the two little humbugs are Inca and Iona, partridge pekin bantams. India Lemon Drop is the naughty one but also the girl who does not quite trust me yet, Inca is the darker of the humbugs and is brave and inquisitive and loves cuddles (well, tolerates them) and little Iona is the humbug with the reddier, more Celtic colouring. She is sweet and gentle and also tolerates my cuddles!

Two humbugs Iona (left) and Inca

Two humbugs Iona (left) and Inca

India Lemon Drop

India Lemon Drop

They have their own coop and run for the moment and Gary, Effie and I spent the weekend building them a bantam-chick-proof run with a top on as we discovered very quickly that bantam chicks can easily clear a four foot fence! The cats were also quite intrigued so security was essential! In between her cuddles with Gary, Effie tried out the babies’ dustbath (it used to be hers in the ICU) and deemed it most suitable.

Gary and Effie take time out from run building for a cuddle and a snooze

Gary and Effie take time out from run building for a cuddle and a snooze

Effie is now rather taken with her new babies, although I am not sure she knows quite what they are. When India Lemon Drop did her Houdini act over the fence, she landed right at Effie’s feet. Effie just stared (in shock no doubt!) and made no attempt to attack her. And yesterday there was even some beak cleaning going on through the fence!

Meeting big sister Effie

Meeting big sister Effie

I am hoping that by the time these babies are big enough to meet the big wide world that is Effie’s Garden, Effie will have accepted them and she will have friends and company once more. No-one will ever replace her beloved Miss Basket in her eyes, or in ours, but our little humbugs and lemon drop may just provide the comfort our darling Effie needs.

Thank you Quolanta Arnold for the brilliant title to this blog xx

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