With only a week to go to the promised lifting of lockdown for our hens, many of them are risking never seeing that hoped for day at all. They have suddenly turned into a bunch of egg assassins, indeed virtual cannibals, because the eggs they are trashing and consuming are eggs that have been laid by family members.

It didn’t start out this way. I blame the boredom and incarceration of the poultry lockdown for all this egg death and destruction. For months now the hens have been confined to a shed. John has made them a covered run, but that just tantalises them with the sight of the field they used to be able to peck and scrat in to their hearts content.

John has also provided wire hanging baskets for the hens that are suspended from the roof of their hut. I drop lettuces, cabbages in fact anything I think the hens might fancy like cooked potato peelings into the baskets. At first they were reluctant to peck these gifts as the baskets swung away from them when they aimed a jab at its contents. But gradually they gained confidence and quickly demolished the foodstuff on offer.

But today they are half way to freedom. We have moved all the worst offenders, some young bantams into a hut and run that they can share with the ducks. The ducks are let out every day to go down to the pond to splash and preen their feathers. They are very well behaved and after their swim, all waddle back to their run and corn hopper. There have been other things on our mind today though apart from egg eating bantams. A ewe has mastitis. John had noticed that one of her lambs was not thriving and , on examination, saw one of the ewe’s teats was swollen and inflamed and not producing any milk. Luckily we had some ewe replacement milk powder and have been able to give the lamb supplemental feeds. This afternoon we loaded ewe and lambs into the trailer and took them to the vets. Fortunately the system was set up for the vet to come out to examine the ewe in the trailer. The ewe has had her first dose of antibiotics and hopefully will soon be on the mend. For the moment we will keep bottle feeding the one lamb and hoping Mum can feed the other herself and then , fingers crossed, be able to feed both lambs once the mastitis has cleared up. Time will tell.