Goodbye Pepper, Hello Colette

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I’m very sad to report that while I was away in Scotland, the lovely Pepper was nabbed by a fox and she is no more.

It was upsetting but we always knew it was a possibility because our chickens room around the garden most afternoons. Even though we keep an eye on them when they’re out of their run, the urban foxes around here are quite bold & unfortunately they only need to get lucky once.

When I got back, Ginger was clearly very unsettled and lonely. It’s a bad idea to keep chickens singly because they are flock birds and need at least one other hen around. So on Saturday we headed over to our local supplier and scored a new chicken.

Meet Colette.

Photograph of Colette, our black and grey Cou Cou Maran Chicken. Photo by Kirsty Hall
Kirsty Hall: Colette, February 2010

She’s a beautiful Cou Cou or Cuckoo Maran – the ‘cuckoo/cou cou’ part refers to the speckled silver and black colouring. Marans are originally a French breed, so naturally we had to go with an appropriately French name. She’s a ‘point of lay’, which means that she’s not laying yet but should start in a week or two once her comb grows in.

Photograph of Colette, our black and grey Cou Cou Maran Chicken. Photo by Kirsty Hall
Kirsty Hall: Colette, February 2010

Because Ginger & Pepper had always been such good friends, I didn’t anticipate any problems introducing Colette. Boy, was that a rookie mistake! Ginger took huge exception to this interloper in her run & was absolutely rotten to poor Colette. She wouldn’t let Colette anywhere near the food & water and defended her territory with quite shocking levels of violence.

After a day of a traumatised Colette refusing to come out of the coop, I admitted defeat & asked on Freecycle for a spare run. Fortunately someone had a small rabbit run that they were planning to take to the dump, so I collected that on Monday evening and ever since Ginger has been spending her days in solitary confinement with a dish of food and water. She is less than happy!

Fortunately this is just a temporary measure – I’ve ordered another set of feeders from ebay & when those arrive, I shall divide the run with bamboo canes during the day. They’ll be near each other but they’ll both be safe and Ginger will have more room. I’m going to carry on separating them during the day until they can get along, which apparently can sometimes take months. I am making progress though, they managed to room around the garden together today without fighting and they’re sleeping together quite happily: the problems just seem to be over food.

Thankfully Colette has been slowly regaining her confidence over the last few days. She’s still jittery though – I let her out of the run today so I could clean out the coop and then she wouldn’t let me anywhere near her and wouldn’t be persuaded back in again. I couldn’t even tempt her back in with food. Fortunately she went back in on her own accord eventually & I was able to shut her in. Ginger is easy to get into the run – she’ll go anywhere for a handful of grain, the wee strumpet!

I am an artist & purveyor of obsessive projects based in Hebden Bridge, England. My work involves the accretion of large numbers of small objects - pins in fabric, knots in string or hundreds of envelopes - to make sculptures that deal with fragility, loss, repetition, obsession and time.

19 thoughts on “Goodbye Pepper, Hello Colette

  1. I love the chicken video! Colette is beautiful. Hope she escape's Pepper's fate.

    [Reply]

    Kirsty Hall Reply:

    I hope so too, Avital. She got frightened by a fox this evening because she was in the temporary run but we chased it off and moved her back into the main coop. I'm going to experiment with leaving them both in the main run again this weekend and we'll see how she copes.

    [Reply]

    Kirsty Hall Reply:

    I hope so too, Avital. She got frightened by a fox this evening because she was in the temporary run but we chased it off and moved her back into the main coop. I'm going to experiment with leaving them both in the main run again this weekend and we'll see how she copes.

    [Reply]

  2. I love the chicken video! Colette is beautiful. Hope she escape's Pepper's fate.

    [Reply]

    kirstymhall Reply:

    I hope so too, Avital. She got frightened by a fox this evening because she was in the temporary run but we chased it off and moved her back into the main coop. I'm going to experiment with leaving them both in the main run again this weekend and we'll see how she copes.

    [Reply]

  3. Chickens! I wish I could have them, but I live in an apartment. Colette is indeed beautiful. I used to buy what we call 'yard eggs' from a woman who lives nearby. They were delicious – so much better than the eggs from the store. AND some of them were blue! I had no idea eggs could come in so many colors, including dark chocolate. Too bad they don't actually come in real chocolate, heh.

    Btw, I have a friend who's a photographer. Been trying to get her to start up a blog. I'll send her a link to your articles, maybe that will do the trick. Found you on Third Tribe forums. :)

    [Reply]

  4. Chickens! I wish I could have them, but I live in an apartment. Colette is indeed beautiful. I used to buy what we call 'yard eggs' from a woman who lives nearby. They were delicious – so much better than the eggs from the store. AND some of them were blue! I had no idea eggs could come in so many colors, including dark chocolate. Too bad they don't actually come in real chocolate, heh.

    Btw, I have a friend who's a photographer. Been trying to get her to start up a blog. I'll send her a link to your articles, maybe that will do the trick. Found you on Third Tribe forums. :)

    [Reply]

  5. Chickens! I wish I could have them, but I live in an apartment. Colette is indeed beautiful. I used to buy what we call 'yard eggs' from a woman who lives nearby. They were delicious – so much better than the eggs from the store. AND some of them were blue! I had no idea eggs could come in so many colors, including dark chocolate. Too bad they don't actually come in real chocolate, heh.

    Btw, I have a friend who's a photographer. Been trying to get her to start up a blog. I'll send her a link to your articles, maybe that will do the trick. Found you on Third Tribe forums. :)

    [Reply]

  6. Hi LaVonne, welcome to the blog. Thanks for your kind comments about Colette. Ginger lays slightly speckled pale brown eggs but when Colette starts laying, she should lay very pretty chocolatey-brown eggs. I shall be sure to take some pictures for you!

    The Third Tribe forums are a blast, I'm having such fun over there and learning so much that I'm bringing back to my blog.

    [Reply]

    LaVonne Ellis Reply:

    I'm looking forward to the pics. Too bad we aren't neighbors so you could sell me some eggs. :) I'm in San Diego, California – a bit of a trek!

    [Reply]

  7. Hi LaVonne, welcome to the blog. Thanks for your kind comments about Colette. Ginger lays slightly speckled pale brown eggs but when Colette starts laying, she should lay very pretty chocolatey-brown eggs. I shall be sure to take some pictures for you!

    The Third Tribe forums are a blast, I'm having such fun over there and learning so much that I'm bringing back to my blog.

    [Reply]

    LaVonne Reply:

    I'm looking forward to the pics. Too bad we aren't neighbors so you could sell me some eggs. :) I'm in San Diego, California – a bit of a trek!

    [Reply]

  8. So this is the new one! Colette is pretty. Too bad she and Ginger don't get on! It seems they can be territorial. I don't know a lot about chickens, even though I should, since they're all free-range in the Caribbean. They often venture into our garden, and a few months ago, one came inside and wasn't inclined to leave. I had to keep the dog away until I could coax it back outside.

    I wouldn't mind keeping chickens one day…There's nothing like fresh eggs.

    [Reply]

    Kirsty Hall Reply:

    The fresh eggs are lovely but I also enjoy having the chickens around because they're endlessly amusing. Ginger is a real character, always into everything and a bit cheeky. She was 'helping' with the gardening today. I hope that she and Colette will eventually get on, I think it's just going to take a little time.

    [Reply]

  9. So this is the new one! Colette is pretty. Too bad she and Ginger don't get on! It seems they can be territorial. I don't know a lot about chickens, even though I should, since they're all free-range in the Caribbean. They often venture into our garden, and a few months ago, one came inside and wasn't inclined to leave. I had to keep the dog away until I could coax it back outside.

    I wouldn't mind keeping chickens one day…There's nothing like fresh eggs.

    [Reply]

    kirstymhall Reply:

    The fresh eggs are lovely but I also enjoy having the chickens around because they're endlessly amusing. Ginger is a real character, always into everything and a bit cheeky. She was 'helping' with the gardening today. I hope that she and Colette will eventually get on, I think it's just going to take a little time.

    [Reply]

  10. Rest in peace, Pepper! Colette is a beauty. I'm sure Ginger will come around soon enough and they will be best of friends.

    [Reply]

    Kirsty Reply:

    Thanks Jalanan, I’m happy to report that they’re getting on fine now and are able to stay in the same run together.

    [Reply]

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