Meet Abigail and Anna.
They are Buff Orpington chickens which my friend, Lucy, has rented for the summer.
They arrive with their own pen which has a coop upstairs. The pen is equipped with feeder and water shutes and can be moved around the yard.
You must allow the birds free in the yard every day to forage for themselves.
You can tell the birds apart because Anna has lighter feathers on her derriere. Besides looking slightly different, the birds have different personalities. Anna is less social than Abigail, who will peck your hand in greeting. Anna wants nothing to do with humans.
Both chickens love their time out of the pen because they like to scratch in the flower beds. They are great weeders, as they scratch the soil, exposing the rich dark earth underneath. The birds enjoy the worms they find.
The chickens are very attuned to predators in their environment and will run into their pen if they sense any danger. While I was there, Lucy fed them some apple, their favourite treat,
but they sensed something, stopped, ran around and eventually headed into their pen.
The hens each lay a brown egg per day. Their eggs are jumbo size compared to the white extra-large eggs I usually buy.
In October, the chickens will return to their owner and an unknown fate. Lucy plans to rent chickens again next year.