pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Meet Our Guard-Hen

Some people have guard dogs, we have Billie-the-Beak.
She was brought-up in a tough neighbourhood and quickly learned that she had to fight for everything in life.

Even now that she has the freedom to roam in our wood during the day she still fights - just because she enjoys it.

If you look carefully you will see that her beak is crossed (click on the photographs and they should enlarge).  I usually cross my fingers when I meet her, in the hope that I will escape without a nasty stab wound!
She arrived fresh from the battery farm like that.  Despite such a weird configuration she manages to eat most things, although we do have to make sure that her chicken food is deep enough for her, otherwise she bangs her beak into the bowl in frustration at not being able to get any.

She's not a pretty sight - especially when she takes a run and jumps up, trying to impale you on her beak!  Heaven help your toes if you are unwise enough not to have them well covered!

We all respect Billie.  
Toby has special respect for Billie.  
She terrifies him.  
On several occasions I have had to rescue him from her clutches.  
He never turns his back on her now!
He doesn't have any problem with our two other rescue hens, Sick-Chick and Little Red Hen - that's Sick-Chick behind him.  He would never sit like that if Billie was around.

I took these photographs yesterday while I was wandering around the wood taking photographs of lots of tree eyes for a future post.  When I turned around I found the three hens, one of the cats (Bennie) and Toby were following me.  A lovely little entourage.

One of these days I will manage to get a photograph with all of them in the same frame.  It always makes me smile to see them all taking a stroll around the wood 'together'.


  1. Oh poor her, with that little crossed beak! That said, she seems to manage just fine and is quite a beauty otherwise! Ilove the picture of Toby.

    I bet Billie could beat up my roosters any day!

  2. I love this story. I have a friend who rescues battery farm chickens. In the summer, when he has the winodws open in his home office, they dance to the sounds of Stevie Wonder! :)

  3. That picture brought such a smile to my face...I must share the one of one of our hens in the lounge with Amber the dog looking on as if to say " get it now".

    Ex battery hens rule as you know! x

  4. Hi Natalie, Billie is looking very well at the moment; the three of them have a wonderful life in the wood.

    My money would probably be on Billie to win!!

  5. Hi Dom,

    Oh she's not really evil - she's just a bit feisty, and because she is 'differently enabled' Mother Nature gave her a handy weapon to use - and the wit to use it!

  6. Hello Marmaduke Scarlet,

    Lovely to know that somewhere there are hens who dance to the sounds of Stevie Wonder, now that paints a lovely picture!

  7. Hello Susan,

    They definitely rule!

    I would love to see the photograph of Amber and the hens.

    It is wonderful to see how a few weeks of freedom and good living can transform those poor, scraggy, almost bald little creatures.

    Ours have now had several years of fun and frolic and they are happy birds, each with an interesting character.

    Billie you know, Sick Chick is the one who 'talks' constantly, Little Red Hen is the one who fits in with everyone and everything, beautifully!

  8. Poor old Billie - was she used as a bottle-opener or something before being rescued?

  9. Fabulous post! I am a hen mother and loved this!

  10. Hello Owl Wood, I hope she wasn't, although maybe that would account for her grumpiness!

  11. Hello Karen, Lovely to meet you. Our girls are great company when we work in the wood as they love to spend time with us, even Billie! They arrived in a terrible state but it doesn't take long for them to become the hens they were meant to be.


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