Scrubbed floors and perch, fresh wood shavings, cosy nesting boxes and the most nutritious hen food that money can buy awaited our four new additions to the Button family today.
I must admit, I didn't get on well with our last lot of chickens. They had an evil glint in their eyes, and seemed to have it in for me from day one. And I couldn't bear to be within ten metres of them.
Now suddenly our new batch can do no wrong in my eyes. And I see myself as the 'mother hen', or perhaps 'broody hen'.
We each have our own hen, which we chose from the 'chicken shop'. We told the girls they could choose whichever hen they liked. But interestingly they both opted for the bog standard, considerably cheaper, Warrens. I think they felt a huge sense of loyalty to our last lot of chickens who were also Warrens, and whom they loved very much.
However Tom and I were like kids in a sweet shop, and there was no way we were going for boring Warrens.
I chose a beautiful silver Suffolk whom I have named Snowdrop. A pretty name for a fine bird. And Tom has named his hen, also a Suffolk, Ethel (a name we considered for Dolly).
Betty has named her chicken 'Pecky Becky', and Dolly has named hers 'Super Chicken to the Rescue', or 'Super Chicken' for short.
And while the Warrens were pretty cheap, the Suffolks were bloody expensive. Our proper country friends would be appalled if they ever found out how much we had spent. They are more for getting their poultry for 25p a piece, and bidding in incomprehensible loud animated speak at the local farmers market - an experience that absolutely terrified me the one and only time I went along to try and buy a duck.
Anyway I do hope that the four little ladies are getting on well, during their first night together, and that they aren't too cold or frightened in their new surroundings...