Yellow Chicken House

Chicken Keeping – The good, the bad and the egg-ly!

Thunderstorm Rescue

on February 12, 2014

It’s fair to say that the UK has seen some particularly bad weather over the last few weeks with storms, gale force winds and severe flood warnings. Here in Aberystwyth, the promenade has taken a serious battering from the onslaught of stormy weather causing huge amounts of damage and destruction.

My chickens have been (quite literally) blown off their feet by the bad weather. The endless rain has turned much of their free-range area into a mud bath which I reluctantly squelch my way through every morning to let them out for the day.

In previous posts, I have mentioned that my chickens are prone to the occasional bid for freedom into the neighbours garden in search of wild bird seed. Last week, Cookie managed to escape the Omlet chicken fencing (apparently by digging a hole underneath it!) and make her way over into the neighbour’s garden. The weather was reasonable at this point but rapidly took a turn for the worst. The sky went black, lightening flashed, thunder clapped and the heavens opened. Martin spotted the stray chicken looking shell-shocked and helpless over the fence from our kitchen window and called me downstairs. Despite wearing just my dressing gown, I pulled on my wellies and dashed out into the storm to rescue my chicken! Fighting against the driving wind and rain, I leaned over the fence, beckoning the frightened chicken towards me. After a minute of indecision, she came towards me and I grabbed her through the gap in the fence. Wrapping her up in my now drenched dressing gown, I ran slipping and sliding down the garden towards the yellow chicken house, where the other chickens had already run to safety. I crouched down at the entrance with Cookie who apparently did not want to get out of my dressing gown! I could tell that she was frightened and shaking so I crouched there for several minutes, holding the chicken and getting soaked to the skin while the storm raged around me. Buffy popped her head out of the house and made a whinging noise which got Cookie’s attention, at which point hopped down and ran into the house. I then closed the door to the run attached to the house and rushed back inside my own house to get dry.

Once inside, I headed upstairs to get changed. I then heard a huge bang. I looked out of the window to investigate and was pretty shocked by what I saw – a large roof fascia from the house overlooking my garden had been blown off by the wind and landed (nail side down) across the chicken free-range area, taking down part of the fence with it. Had I been standing under that beam when it fell, I could have been seriously injured. Luckily, I had locked the chickens into their Eglu run so they were not in harm’s way. Disaster averted!

The stormy weather appears far from over though. As I write this, 100mph gale force winds are forecast for today and the rain is lashing down outside. My chickens are sheltering under a bush in the garden, probably dreaming of a time long ago when they could dust bathe in dry soil, sunbathe on a mud-free lawn and chase butterflies on a light summer’s breeze. Let’s hope those days aren’t too far away from us…


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