What is a chicken keepers worst nightmare? Having your flock wiped out by predators or disease would be one, but at least you could start over.

Joan is facing having to give up her birds due to health issues. She’s developed respiratory problems that include a sensitivity to chickens.

She contacted me to help her find homes for her beloved pets. I went to meet her today and to see the property where she lives on with her husband, Fred. Their two acres is located at the end of a cul-de-sac and it’s hard to believe there are any neighbours around. There’s only one other house visible; everything around them is forest.

They’ve got a lovely pond, which is filled with Wigeons and Mallard Ducks. Across the meadow from their wetland are Joan’s chickens. When they first moved there Fred built a large goat barn, which has since been converted into a chicken palace.

As you can imagine Joan’s reluctant to give up her birds. Her flock consists of 15 purebred and crossed hens. I adopted eight that fit into my breeding plan: three white Ameraucanas, one Crested Cream Legbar and four Easter Eggers (Ameraucana x).

Six others – Buff Orpington x, Barnevelder, Wyandotte x, Plymouth Rock and a rare Silver Penciled Rock went off to my friend Laurie (read: Ella’s Bumblefoot). She even took a sweet Mille Fleur d’Uccle hen that grew up living in an apartment. I’ve had bantams with standards before and they seem to get along fine. Little chickens often have big personalities.

The last bird to go, a Rhode Island Red, is heading off island tomorrow. She’s going to be the new BFF for a lonely Buff Orpington.

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We’ve taken photos of Joan’s birds in their new digs. I’m hoping that re-homing her beloved pets will have a positive impact on her health. I’m also hoping that knowing her birds are going off to new homes that will appreciate them as much as she has will be of some comfort.

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