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Kestrel Lodge's Girls

As some of you will know, we’ve kept hens here at Kestrel lodge since we came here nearly 5 years ago, but what you may not know is that they are absolutely amazing creatures.

If you’ve stayed with us in the last year then you may well have had the hens visit you in your tent as they are very friendly, and they’ve gotten very bold.

Over the years they’ve got more and more brazen they started in the very large hen enclosure in year 1 then ventured into the surrounding garden in year 2. The girls made it to the pony paddock year 3, and then last year began their daily visits to the campsite – this year they’re also joining the lambs in the field too so who knows where they will end up next...the village? Ordering a round at the pub? (5 halves of Old Speckled Hen, 3 G&T’s, 2 Bloody Mary’s and some pork scratchings, please.)

Watching them you see how commonly used phrases come from nature like hen pecked – if you get on the wrong side of the leader! The pecking order, because there definitely is one. Next time you’re up, see if you can see who rules the roost. One of my favourite things is watching them go about their day, they have a little routine, as to where they go at what time of day to have the best chances of finding a tasty worm or a generous camper to feed them. They love strawberries and sweetcorn, watching them peck it off the cob is hours...well, minutes...of fun, and every one of them has their own personality. Watch them and find your favourite. Mad Maeve is still one of ours even if she’s no spring chicken anymore. But the time I love best is in the late evening watching them as they make their way home to roost after a good day scratching in the dirt. They all just make their way back to the hen house and settle in for the night, with a few gentle squawks, a bit a feather rustling, and some scratching at the sawdust.

We have 10 hens at Kestrel Lodge in various colours, and mostly they lay different coloured eggs. When they are on form, they lay an egg each most days. Except Mad Maeve...she’s down to one or two a week now and they look more like mini eggs...we sell them in reception for you to try, the girls will join you for breakfast as they are partial to eggs too!

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Mad Maeve (The old speckled hen) and a few of her cohorts off to the campsite.