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  1. International Womens Day 2024

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    International Womens Day

    International Women's Day: A Celebration of Progress and Inclusion

    Each year on March 8th, the world comes together to recognise the remarkable achievements and power of women and all those who identify along the gender spectrum. I'm sure you've come across it by now as I've noticed it gaining more momentum in recent years, which is wonderful.

    IWD's roots stretch back over a century to 1909, a time when the fight for women's voting rights and improved working conditions was gaining momentum. The Socialist Party of America commemorated a garment workers' strike in New York. A year later, Clara Zetkin, a trailblazing socialist feminist, proposed an international day for women's rights at a socialist conference. March 8th 1911, saw the first official IWD celebrations across Europe, with over a million people rallying for voting rights, better working conditions, and an end to war.

    The focus on peace became even more prominent during World War I, with women across Europe using IWD to protest the violence. The United Nations officially recognized IWD in 1975, during International Women's Year.

    In recent years, IWD has expanded its focus to include and celebrate transgender and non-binary individuals recognising that the experiences of womanhood are beautifully diverse, and striving to uplift all voices.  This is echoed in this year's theme, which is "Inspire Inclusion," a call for understanding and valuing the importance of including everyone in the journey toward a more equitable world.

    Celebrating in the UK

    I couldn't find a large-scale, nationally organized Women's March today, so I don't think there is one this year, but there will be plenty of local events today and probably over the weekend. The fact that it's Mothering Sunday this weekend will probably encourage a lot more events to run. Expect to find engaging talks, workshops, marches, film screenings, and art exhibitions that shine a light on the contributions of women and non-binary individuals across the country. Many organizations also host insightful online events for wider accessibility. Fingers crossed for good weather for all the outside events! 

    IWD offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the progress we've made and to envision a future where equality is the norm. While we set aside this special day, let's remember that we can champion the spirit of IWD every single day. I certainly try to, as it's so close to my heart. I'm sure you can all see from my site that championing Women's empowerment, across the entire spectrum, is as the heart of what I do. 

    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46 xxxx

  2. Breast Health Checks

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    Breast Cancer Awareness: The Importance of Self-Checks  Breast cancer awareness

    It's been a while since I did a reminder about breast health and checks, so it's time for a refresh. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide, with early detection being absolutely crucial in improving treatment outcomes and survival rates. Regular breast self-examinations are a simple yet important step in increasing awareness of your body and potentially catching any concerning changes early on.

    Why Breast Self-Checks Matter

    • Familiarity with your body: Self-checks help you understand what feels normal for your breasts. This makes it easier to spot any potential changes or abnormalities.
    • Early detection: While self-checks don't replace professional mammograms, they can play a role in finding breast changes early when treatment may be most successful.
    • Empowerment: Taking charge of your own breast health can be empowering and reassuring.

    How to Perform a Breast Self-Check

    Here's a step-by-step guide:

    1. Visual Check:

      • Stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and arms at your sides.
      • Look for any changes in the size, shape, or color of your breasts.
      • Check for any dimpling, puckering of the skin, unusual redness, or nipple discharge.
      • Repeat with your arms raised above your head.
    2. Lying-Down Check:

      • Lie down on your back and place a pillow under your right shoulder.
      • Use your left hand to examine your right breast. Use the pads of your three middle fingers, moving in small circular motions with varying levels of pressure (light, medium, firm) to feel all the breast tissue.
      • Start at your armpit and slowly sweep across to your cleavage, then move down to the edge of your ribs. Continue this in an up-and-down pattern until you've covered your entire breast.
      • Repeat on your left breast, using your right hand.
    3. Shower Check:

      • The warmth and wetness of the shower can make it easier to feel your breast tissue.
      • Using a soapy hand, use the same technique as the lying down check to examine both breasts.

    What to Look For:

    • New lumps or thickening in your breast or armpit
    • Change in breast size or shape
    • Changes to the skin of the breast – dimpling, rashes, redness
    • Nipple changes - inversion (turning inward), unusual discharge

    Important Reminders

    • Frequency: Many experts recommend performing breast self-checks monthly.
    • Timing: It's ideal to do self-checks a few days after your period ends, when breasts are likely to be less tender.
    • Don't Panic: Most breast changes are not cancer. However, if you notice anything unusual, consult your doctor promptly. Don't self-diagnose, seek professional evaluation.

    Beyond Self-Checks

    While breast self-checks are important, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Remember:

    • Mammograms: Regular mammograms, as recommended by your doctor based on age and risk factors, are the gold standard for breast cancer screening.
    • Listen to your body: Report any new, persistent changes in your breasts, even if not found on a self-check, to your healthcare provider.

    Let's Spread Awareness

    Share this information with the women in your life! Early detection saves lives.

    Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor about breast health concerns and appropriate screening schedules.

  3. Feminist Icon - Dr Jane Goodall DBE

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    "Every single day that we live, we make some impact on the planet. We have a choice as to what kind of impact that is."

    Jane Goodall

    I often seek inspiration from trailblazers who have broken barriers and made a lasting impact on the world, and try to include them here on my blog. I want to celebrate people by sharing their story whilst I learn about them. One such remarkable figure is Dr. Jane Goodall, whom I had heard about many times, but not fully known about, until today. I like to write about it here so that I can cement it in my mind, and in the hope that it might be of interest to you. 

    Jane Goodall (II)

    Jane Goodall's journey serves as a beacon of resilience and determination, and that's what struck me the most. Born in 1934 in London, England, her early fascination with animals laid the groundwork for a lifelong dedication to understanding and protecting wildlife. Her decision to study chimpanzees in their natural habitat in Tanzania was groundbreaking, challenging established scientific norms, especially for female scientists, and redefining our understanding of primates.

    Despite facing numerous challenges, including limited resources and societal expectations, Jane's unwavering commitment to her research led to groundbreaking discoveries. Through her patience, keen observation, and deep empathy for the chimpanzees she studied, she shattered misconceptions about animal intelligence and behavior, fundamentally reshaping our understanding of the natural world.

    Here are some of the things that Jane enlightened us on:

    1. Tool Use: Jane observed chimpanzees using tools, such as sticks, to extract termites from their mounds for food. This discovery challenged the notion that tool use was exclusive to humans, highlighting the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees and reshaping our understanding of primate behavior.

    2. Social Structure: Through her long-term observations, Jane documented complex social hierarchies among chimpanzee communities. She observed behaviors such as dominance displays, grooming rituals, and alliances, revealing similarities to human social dynamics and providing valuable insights into the evolution of social behavior.

    3. Hunting Behavior: Contrary to previous beliefs, Jane observed chimpanzees hunting and consuming meat, including small mammals like monkeys and birds. This discovery challenged prevailing ideas about chimpanzees as solely herbivorous and shed light on the diverse dietary habits of these primates.

    4. Communication: Jane documented a wide range of vocalizations, gestures, and facial expressions used by chimpanzees to communicate with one another. Her studies revealed the complexity of chimpanzee communication and its role in maintaining social cohesion within groups.

    5. Emotional Complexity: Through her observations, Jane demonstrated that chimpanzees experience a range of emotions, including joy, grief, and empathy. Her research challenged the notion of humans as the only species capable of complex emotional experiences, highlighting the rich inner lives of chimpanzees and fostering greater empathy for our primate relatives.

    What sets Jane apart is not just her scientific contributions but also her ability to translate her research into meaningful action. Through the Jane Goodall Institute and programs like Roots & Shoots, she has empowered individuals around the globe to become advocates for conservation and social change. Her work has inspired countless people, from scientists to activists to everyday citizens, to take up the cause of environmental stewardship and make a positive difference in their communities. We don't all have to go to Tanzania to make a positive change for this planet. 

    Jane's legacy reminds us of the power of perseverance, empathy, and collaboration in creating meaningful change. The use of her voice to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is something so powerful, and something to inspire all of us. 

    Here is the link to her foundation, where you can read all about her and her institute, along with a donation page if you are able. 

    the Jane Goodall Institute Homepage


    "The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves."

    Jane Goodall

  4. Feminist Icon - Hedy Lamarr - Actress and Inventor

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    Hedy Lamarr (2)

    Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-born American film actress and inventor who was born on November 9, 1914 and died on January 19, 2000. She was a film star during Hollywood's "golden-age" and was often typecast as a provocative femme fatale.  She appeared in many films throughout her career, including "Ecstasy" (1933), "Algiers" (1938), "Boom Town" (1940), and "Samson and Delilah" (1949). She was married six times and had three children. 


    What interests me about her, however, is that she was also an inventor who pioneered the technology that would one day form the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth systems. Her achievements are a little geeky for me to fully understand, but she basically co-invented a technique for "spread spectrum communications" that paved the way for the tech in all our gadgets that we use today.  Lamarr's invention was originally intended to help the US Navy remotely control torpedoes during World War II.

    She also created a patented "Secret Communciation System" designed to keep the Nazis from intercepting Allied transmissions by jumping radio frequencies.

    Lamarr was also inspired to innovate in the world of aviation as Howard Hughes (a businessman and film director) wanted to create faster planes that could be sold to the US military. She bought a book of fish and a book of birds, and looked at the fastest of each kind. She combined the fins of the fastest fish, and the wings of the fastest bird, to sketch a new wing design for Hughes’ planes. The military ordered 100 of the planes in 1943, but only 2 prototypes and a mockup were ever completed. Still, this is quite an accomplishment for someone who is also a current Hollywood actress, I'm sure you'll agree. 

    Lamarr was rightly given an honorary award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997 for her contributions to the field of technology, and I feel she deserves more recognition. 

    I think she is a remarkable woman and I am so glad she received that award before she died and also was able to see some of the modern uses for the technology before she passed in 2000.  I would have loved to have met her for a cuppa and a chat. 

    To read more, see: 

    Hedy Lamarr | Biography, Movies, & Facts | Britannica

    How Hedy Lamarr and Her Inventions Changed the World (

    Hedy Lamarr (

    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46  xxx

  5. We Are All Human

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    Hi everyone.

    Just a little post as I've had a message on my site and emails about my family emergency.  It's certainly been a tough few weeks for me.  We all go through difficult times, and when you come to me for help, a lot of you are feeling very low or struggling in your lives.  Many of you have been feeling progressively low, some have had breast surgery, some have lost hope of feeling better.  You share with me, and are open and honest with your troubles.  I try to help you all as best I can and hope that even just by talking to me and hopefully finding options for your breasts, you can feel better.   You often tell me it/I've helped, and that is so wonderful.

    I write this now as I find it's sometimes helpful to know we are not alone in suffering. It's part of being human and tough times affect us all.  I'm suffering at the moment and finding things tricky, so I thought I'd share. I want my blog to be informative and uplifting, but also real.  This is me, Jo, the little shop owner who is having a tough time and being open with you, and that is no bad thing I think.  If you only like happy blog posts, skip this one.

    My first woe was recently when a young teenager riding his scooter out between two parked cars without looking, onto my car as I drove up the road.  It was such a shock and so frightening, for us both, with the ambulance, police all in attendance and me being interviewed and breathalysed.  My daughter was in the car too, but luckily everyone was OK.  It did result in a hefty car repair bill, as my entire front headlight was smashed on the passenger side and the front bumper had to come off.  It was really frightening, as for a long time I wasn't sure if he was ok, and the Police started quite forceful with me in case I had been driving dangerously, so it made me feel like I was guilty of something. It was all OK after, as I came home and reminded myself that the boy was ok, that I hadn't done anything wrong, it was just an accident and the light is just money. 

    Next was a flood in my house.  The stop-cock managed to burst off in my daughters room.  The pipe burst and when the stop cock has been pushed off with the pressure, my panicked mind took a while to work out how to stop the water jetting into the room.  I was trying to reapply the stop cock with the full however-many-bar-of-pressured-water, until I suddenly remembered it can be turned off in the street.  It didn't fully turn off out there, but enough to stop the flood.  A week of taking up flooring, running dehumidifiers, replacing flooring and repainting damaged walls etc, and it's all ok.  It just took a LOT of time and some more money.

    Next was a fox attack in my garden. I was silly and I had let my lovely chickens out on the lawn with me, as they have been enclosed since December due to Avian Flu.  I just wanted them to have some freedom and some sun, and I forgot that it is the time of year when foxes are terrible. I'd never had one come into my garden though, just before midday and try and snatch one in front of me.  It took me and them completely by surprise.  I scared it away and grabbed them, but one was too injured as it had snapped at her.  After a lot of nursing and time, she still had to be put to sleep.  It was so utterly upsetting, especially as she was my favourite, I had a £200 vet bill without the happy ending and I am racked with guilt.  If only I hadn't let them out with me.  I cried a lot for 2 days, mainly from the shock and guilt. 

    Now it's a family member that is very unwell.  It's so upsetting and worrying and eclipses the other things, which is as much as I can say about it here.  I'm trying to keep going and do all I can to keep my mental health in-tact, and it's a little too raw at the moment.  We all need to do what we can to process our stresses, grief, financial worries and remember that things will not always be so bad.  I'm trying to do that right now, and remember that life isn't always this difficult.  I've read a bit about it and what I am doing is called "active coping".  The other type is "passive coping", so keeping things more hidden away.   I do talk to those around me, express when I am having good and bad moments of mental health and they do the same, which is absolutely invaluable. Writing this is part of my active coping. 

    Not everyone has a support network though, and using mine a lot right now reminds me how lucky I am. If you are going through a tough time and you feel alone or just that you need to vent, do email me.  I'm not a counsellor and I don't know the "right" thing to say, but I can listen if that's what you need.  You can write me your struggles in complete confidence to me.

    On a more positive note to round off, when things have calmed down in my life I'll look to doing some write-ups for things that can be done when stressed in case it helps someone.


  6. Feminist Icon - Nellie Bly

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    Nelly Bly Blog PNG


    For the next in my series of Feminist Icons, I'd like to write about a lady I read about recently in my National Geographic magazine.  It's so nice to be able to discover stories of confident, empowered, game-changing people who have been able to help carve a better future for women, and share them with you here.  I love it :)

    Nellie Bly was an American pioneer of investigative journalism and was born in Pitsburgh in 1864 as Elizibeth Jane Cohran.  At 21 years old, she wrote a letter to her local newspaper to rebuke an article entitled "What Girls Are Good For". The newspaper was so impressed that they hired her, go Nelly!  She was born Elizabeth Jane Conran, but preferred to use pen names Orphan Girl and Nellie Bly, and grew up experiencing hardship after her father died when she was 6. Money was difficult, and her Mother married and then divorced an abusive man, which helped start a fire inside Nelly to succeed in journalism and call attention to the difficulties that working-class families faced in their daily lives.                 Nellie-Bly


    Life as a journalist at the Pitsburgh Dispatch wasn't all she dreamed of, having been restricted to writing for a segregated women's section of the paper.  Nellie could have accepted this comfort of employment, but instead she decided to make a shocking move for the time, and head off to Mexico alone to work as a correspondent.  It is this move, that I love about her the most, as she was willing to risk herself in order to further her skills, find new stories and report on things that were being hidden from journalism. During her time there she wrote about the exploitation of peasants, and by whom they were being exploited, and it was this that ultimately forced her hand to leave in order to avoid arrest from the authoritarian government. 

    Of to New York Nelly went, in a time that its creative journalism was booming.  Nellie's first assignment for the New York World involved her getting herself committed to an asylum in order to write an undercover piece about conditions there. "How will they get me out?" she asked, "First get in" was the answer.   I'm not sure that's an assignment I would take, but Nelly was undeterred and managed to get herself certified as "demented".  She soon realised that institutions were overcrowded (built for 1000 but housing 1600), understaffed (only 16 doctors), employed ill-trained and brutal staff, and had horrific conditions. The patients were not only mentally ill, but also immigrants unable to communicate and the extremely poor.  Nelly was appalled by the fact that no women were given the chance to prove their sanity and that that government felt it was acceptable to keep women this way.  She resolved to change all that. 


    After 10 days, Nellie was released thanks to the paper's lawyer, and her article shocked the public and triggered a grand jury investigation.  This led to increased funding and improved conditions, so it's undisputable that Nellie's risk paid off.  As one of the first undercover journalism examples, let alone by a woman, Nelly has paved a way for writing that aims to penetrate layers of shielding and prompt education and change.  For this I really do want to honour her.  

    Her following articles always included her name, showing how popular she had become, and included "Nellie Bly Buys a Baby" and "Nellie Bly Tells How It Feels to Be a White Slave".  For the time, Nellie was boundary pushing and this continued when at aged 25, Nelly travelled around the world in 72 days in order to break Phileas Fogg's fictional record of 80 days.  She became America's first celebrity journalist, but made sure all knew that she embarked on the trip after her newspaper thought it a better job for a man. She showed them

    After marriage and a journalism hiatus in order to run her husband's company, Nellie returned to writing after moving to Austria and became the first woman journalist on the front during World War I .



    On her return to America, she continued to write and use her column to help people find work and housing.  Nellie never gave up on the hope that her writing could help improve the lives of those who are fighting, in life as well as in war, and struggling with the challenges they are faced with and others are ignorant to. 

    Nellie died in January 1922 of pneumonia, and was 57 years old.  Her life was rich, varied and boundary pushing, and I hope she felt beyond content at all she achieved. Female reporting and investigative journalism was forever changed by her determination and willingness to risk herself, with newspapers unable to claim that a woman "could not do it".   Just ask Stacey Dooley.



    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46 xxx


  7. Feminist Icon - Millicent Fawcett - Happy Birthday!

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    Happy Birthday Millicent!


    Just a quick birthday wish for her from me today, as there are plenty of fabulous articles out there and they are better than anything I could write.  

    If you'd like to read more about her and the suffragette movement, have a look through these great articles and resources:

    Here books are available as ebooks here:

    And The London School of Economics and Political Science has a fantastic Women's Libray detailed here:

    and a digital timeline with books here:

    Details of her statue in Parliament Square can be read here:



    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46 xx

  8. Feminist Icon - Nest ferch Rhys - Welsh Princess

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    I love history.  I love reading historical novels, watching movies and TV shows like Vikings, The Tudors, The Last Kingdom and The Pianist, as well as fantasy history like Game of Thrones.  I guess I just love being taken back in time and living another person's life for a while.  As George R R Martin says:


    When I read a historical book or watch a show, I am taken into a radically different life, and I love that.

    Let me introduce you to a Welsh Princess called Nest (or Nesta).  She pops up in a few of the novels I've read and she's rather awesome, so I just thought I'd share a little about her.

    She lived from 1085-1136, during the time of intense fighting against the Normans who had come over, won in battle against our King Harold Godwinson, and taken over England.  That was of course near Hastings and is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.  Her father was a Welsh King and he resisted the Norman spread across England into Wales.  He died fighting just outside Brecon against William the Conqueror's son, named, erm, William .  Nest was still a teenager but was packed off to English court, as she was quite the beauty.  That must have been such a tough time for her as she was separated from all her remaining family, but she struggled on.  She settled in to London life, and even had Henry 1s illegitimate son (before he was King).  According to written accounts, they were very close and things could have gone differently for her here, but she was ordered by Henry to marry a Norman Constable of Pembroke.  This sounds rather harsh as he did love her, but he had become King and had to marry someone else for political reasons (he no doubt wasn't all that happy with it either).

    This is a medieval manuscript in the British Library showing Nest in bed with Henry, crowns an' all! 


    Nest was shipped back to Wales with her new hubbie Gerald, so I'm sure she was happy to be going home; she even managed to make the forced marriage work. It's reported that she and her hubbie had a good relationship, despite her being a Welsh Princess and he a Norman Invader who had taken over Pembroke Castle. She was a well-balanced, strong, open and honest woman from what I've read, and she learnt to love Gerald for who he was.  He learnt to respect her Welsh roots too, and was respectful of Pembroke and the Welsh people.  I'm sure making the relationship work was not easy at the start, so hats off to them both.  

    They had 5 children together, and during her life with Gerald she was abducted and possibly raped by her cousin.  She came through that ordeal with real strength, only to have Gerald die (not after he avenged her though) and her to be married off by her sons to someone else.  It wasn't the best time to be a woman that's for sure.  She had another child in this new marriage, and this son went on to be famous in his own right, Robert FitzStephen. 

    Despite all her trials and the constant battling between her family and the English (her brothers and nephews continued the fight), she still managed to walk the fine line in the middle with dignity.  She maintained relations with both sides, and that must have been extremely tough with times of very high tensions.  She was held in high esteem and Henry 1 reportedly remained very fond of her.  He lost a great woman and I bet he knew it.

    Women have made all sorts of marks over history, largely not documented or known, and Nest is one I feel a real fondness for.  She spent her life being ordered around by men due to the time she lived and the little rights she had, but her legacy and the recording of her life shows she was held in very high regard.  This is no mean feat for a woman back then and I think she helped pave the way for the end of the Welsh and Norman/English tensions.  Go Nesta.  

    If you'd like, you can read more about her by clicking here:

    Jo xxx

  9. Chicken Update!

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    I've had some lovely messages about the chickens, wondering how they are getting on, so here's a quick update.

    In short, they are doing GREAT!  Chicken 

    They've got used to the sights and sounds of the outdoors, they've been indulging in dust baths in the sunshine, they've been hit by the rain and learnt it will make them very soggy if they don't go and shelter, they've been let out with the others, they've been chased around a bit, they've moved into Cluckingham Palace and they've even experienced hail (I don't think they liked it any more than I did...ouch!).  

    Frida proved to be the best at integrating, and I saw her socialising with the old girls very early on, but ironically, she was the only lady still trying to go to bed in the little house, all on her tod!  The other 3, including little scared Hilda, got the idea and soon started to head up to my Cluckingham Palace Mansion to bed, electing to sleep in the nesting boxes away from the squawking old girls.  I kept having to fling Frida in with them, but she's finally taking herself in there now.  Go Frida.  Chyna has grasped the morning mealworm breakfast routine very quickly, and waits up the top so she gets her own little pile to munch on. She's also been a pickle, trying to eat my earing, ring and bracelet when I've been cleaning out the chicken house. 

    So, the old girls have accepted the new girls, they are still sorting out the pecking order, but it's all really harmonious compared to the non-stop clucking and the "who the hell are these?!" looks I was getting at the start. Super-shy-bleeding-and-tiny Hilda is no longer hiding down the bottom, but is out wandering, and her feathers have really come back beautifully.  I snapped some photos but she wasn't around, so I'll have to do her later.  Here are Frida, Chyna (egg-laying extraordinaire) and Villanelle.


    I must also add some of the old chickens as they wanted their piccie taken too, and posed so beautifully.

    IMG_20191202_122539430 IMG_20191202_122608624
    Dumbledore and Dorothy Nugget (my chicken!)

    Until next time




  10. Chicken Re-homing with the British Hen Welfare Trust

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    This is a more personal post, as I want to tell you about the amazing work the British Hen Welfare Trust do.

    To start, I'll give you a little back story. My next door neighbours had 13 hens, and then few years ago decided that they would re-home them.  We'd never had chickens before, but decided to give it a go with their help, and took 5 of them.

    Well, that changed my life!  I'd always been a little scared of them, simply as we don't get the chance to be around chickens often, so they were an unknown entity.  I soon learned how entertaining they are, how they have such different personalities, how they love a good cuddle and a bath and how lovely their eggie presents are compared to the shops. 






    Fast forward a year or two, and some of our girls had gone to chicken heaven :( Since then, we've adopted 8 ex-free range hens from the BHWT. It has been interesting as the first 5 we got all came in pretty good condition, just a little pecked from squabbling.  The second lot was in a terrible state for free-range, and certainly opened my eyes to the fact that not all farms are the same.  I knew at this stage that giving a good retirement to hens would be a big feature of my life, so my next step last year was to build a bigger-than-I-meant-to build chicken house. It's built up high to make it easy for us to clean and give them shelter underneath from the rain and is fully insulated.  I used old bits of wood I had, wood donated to me and even old laminate flooring on the inside. It was fun to make :)

    I've had a few years on this planet now, and enough to know that I feel passionate that large-scale industrial animal farming is not the right way. Farming is a wonderful thing, and I'm not commenting as I'm a vegan or even a full vegetarian, but I think it's only sensible that we farm with care for the planet and compassion for the animals we are going to consume. Industrial farming has been shown again and again to be having a negative effect on the planet, and it certainly is not the life that the animals should be having. Our second lot of free-range re-homed hens showed me that we are moving in the right direction, but there is work to be done. 

    We've learnt that our rescue hens have a shorter life than our first ones and our two fancy Poland chickens with afros that we bought back in the day, and we've just been given the chance to house 4 ex-colony birds. This is the new name for battery/caged hens, but they are given a little more of a natural environment in their cages with perches etc.


    I jumped at the chance as these are hens in real need of seeing that life can be lovely.  We touched back up our old smaller chicken house with its own run, so that they could adjust slowly without having our girls up in their faces with a bit of turf warfare. 

    The next step, last Saturday, was to go to the collection day and get our new girls. It was, as I expected, the most difficult of the re-homing days. The staff were amazing of course, and it was run with impeccable efficiency.  What was difficult, was that there were 4 poorly hens outside of the big pen that the staff had the re-homing girls in.  All 4 were wrapped in coats and were in the sun, and it transpired after talking to the staff, that they were suffering from hyperthermia and trauma. These girls were not well, and it broke my heart.  Once we got to the holding pen, I could see why.  They were scrawny, with barely any feathers and had probably never been outside. They were wondering what the hell was going on and their bodies were in shock.  The staff kept them all as calm as they could of course, and it was worth the move from the farm in order for them all to find new homes. They deserve to enjoy a free-range retirement after all their hard work commercially egg laying for their whole lives so far.  It was just too much for those poor 4 girls.  The staff were going to look after them as they had the experience, and hopefully most of them pulled through with all their TLC.

    We packed our 4 girls in our lined crate, and brought them straight home.  They were certainly unsure, and were pecking madly at me, but I managed to give them a little bath (they loved it and calmed straight away) and a good dose of vitamins before they moved into their temporary house within our big run. Welcome to the family ladies!  We named them Hilda, Frida, China and Villanelle (big Killing Eve fans!).    

    IMG_20191025_085939966      IMG_20191025_085949824

    IMG_20191026_092548454                               IMG_20191026_092600223

    They have spent the last week in their little house and run, and have settled in so well.  Hilda is a little poorly, but she is further forward with her feathers coming back, and it looks incredibly sore. She loves her pet-friendly hot water bottle.  Villanelle is living up to her name, and spends her time trying to escape the smaller run when I open the door.  She's ready for her freeeeeeedom!  She's been out a few times and with her extra confidence will really help the other 3 when they integrate. 

    I think I will integrate the two most confident this weekend, as Hilda is just not ready, but Villanelle is going stir crazy!  Villanelle and probably China will be placed in the main chicken house at night, as this is the best way to have them accepted. The older girls will wake up and see them in their house in the morning, and realise there is very little they can do about it now! Hilda and Frida can then stay in the little house together until Hilda is ready. 

    If you've ever thought about getting chickens, I totally recommend it! Get a good guide-book and speak to others for advice (me included!).  The BHWT has a wealth of information and supplies, and can advise if you are starting with rescue hens.  It's a learning curve, but they are so much lovelier than I ever imagined, and will really make you smile.