Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Sunday 5 July 2009

Sad news about Ginger

This is a hard post for me to write.

When Compostman went to let out the chickens this morning he found Ginger dead inside the Broody Ark, where she had been recouperating in isolation since the fox attack.

Yesterday she spent her second day outside with all the other chickens, running around, scratching around in the soil and generally being a normal hen. She still hadn't laid an egg since the fox attack, but she didn't look egg bound and shock can often stop a hen laying for some time. Also the hot weather has put a couple of the other girls off lay, so we were not worried about Ginger not laying. She looked absolutely fine when I shut her in at 9pm and at midnight Compostman checked on her and she crooned at him from her nest box.

Ginger wasn't injured in any way when he found her this morning, she looked as if she might have had a brief struggle (the bedding was churned up) but apart from that she had ..just...died. So we assume that perhaps she died of heart failure, possibly bought on by another egg in the process of developing, getting stuck overnight. Or, maybe, she just, died.

Ginger and Henny were the first 2 hens I got when I started keeping chickens again two and a half years ago, Compostman bought me an Eglu and Henny and Ginger as a birthday present.

We were all always very fond of Ginger, she was very clever and always keen to come and join in with what we were doing. She also seemed very bright for a chicken and would lead us over to gates she wanted opened...and she had a trick where she would jump up to get food from your hand.

Ginger the amazing jumping chicken! Her feet are around 2 foot off the ground in this photo.

Ginger spent yesterday re asserting her "top hen" status by getting first dibs at any tasty morsel of food and by re-enacting a "coldiz" style raid on the veg garden. She dug a tunnel under the wire and got inside the veg garden then encouraged some of the others through, to wreak a bit of havoc in there....

I tried to take a few pictures of her during the afternoon to show you all she was back in action, but she was too busy to pose for me.

SO, all very sad here and we buried Ginger on the edge of the wood today, near one of her favourite scratching spots.

RIP Ginger Hen, you will be much missed by all of us here at Compost Mansions.


  1. Oooo (((HUGS))) Sorry to hear about that. How terribly sad.

    Ginger was so loved though and bought much into your lives that you will always cherish.

    These darn critter-babes; carving big notches in our hearts all the time; they have a lot to answer for :)

    Big love to you,
    Rae x

  2. I am so sorry about your Ginger. The news really hits close to home for me, as my sweet jumping hen was killed 2 weeks ago by a neighbour's dog. She would hop up and down when it was time for treats - the others would peck them off the ground, but she would be like a small child - hop, hop, Me! Me! RIP Ginger, and Dorothea.

    BTW, I have been enjoying your blog for some time now; thank you.

  3. So sorry to hear that, Compostwoman, that must have been particularly hard if she was your first chicken. I hope Henny won't miss her too much.

    Chickens are great fun, but it's hard to know how they feel. One of ours lost a nail from the back of her foot yesterday morning and she lost some blood, too, but we assume and hope she will be all right. Her wattle is quite pale, so we're a bit worried, but otherwise she seems fine and she has laid another egg today.

  4. So sorry to hear about Ginger. It might have been the weather, I had a hen die last week out of the blue.

    She was fine when I locked up the hens but I found her on the hen house floor the following day. She didn't look stressed, in fact she looked very peaceful. We'd had a thunderstorm and I wonder if the heat and the thunder had triggered a heart attack.

    All the best,

  5. When we lost our Penny who looked just like your gal it was oh so sad.
    They realy have their very own little personalities and are great little mates.
    Glad your other Hens are well and will help keep you occupied.
    Rip to your lil feathered friend

  6. Sorry to hear that. You were so hopeful, this must have come as a shock. I guess at least she had a good day yesterday, if that's any consolation. She had one last good day doing her chickeny thing and went out on a high.

  7. Thank you all so much for your kind comments...I am sad BUT she DID have a very good day yesterday and at least, unlike Genghis Hen a and Cathy Hen, she had a good life from the very start...18 weeks reared as an organic pullet and then 2 years of an idyllic life with us...

    Am still very sad though as I really thought she had pulled through the fox attack and was going to be OK...

    Will have to ring Tamsin the lovely vet tomorrow and give her the bad news...she was SO pleased to hear from me on Fri morning that Ginger was on the mend....


    Oh well...am thinking what new hens I could get, now I have less than I would like....a ginger coloured hen is definately a priority!

    and maybe an Amber Star, another Black Rock or two and I fancy a Buff Orpington....also a RIR as they are becomming a rare breed in their own right...

    I do not want too many pure breeds as the Dorkings are mad enough thank you...at least 2 of the 4 Dorkings are permanently broody mad squarking nit wits....

    but freely admit am a besotted hen keeper...

    Will really miss Ginger Hen, though....and her eggs were the very BEST eggs of all the hens..!

  8. Sorry CW I have only just caught up with the blogs this morning. I was terribly shocked and saddened to hear about Ginger... it was all seemingly going so well and I really thought she had made a full recovery... as in fact she did, so maybe its as you say some sort of heart failure from developing another egg...
    Ginger was truly a wonderful lady and thanks to you she had an amazingly happy life right up to her passing... and you must take comfort from that.
    Ginger will always be with you in your heart and memories and she has been laid to rest in a very beautiful place.. Ginger will be missed bless her!!
    The Biggest Hugs to you CW!!
    Thinking of you!!!
    With Much Love, Jane xxxx

  9. Oh honey, I am so sorry to read about Ginger. I've only been reading along for a couple of weeks, but I really had my fingers crossed for her.
    (((hugs))) to you, compostwoman

  10. Oh, that's awful, especially as she was on the mend. But, as you say, she had a fabulous "last day" - love the tale of the veggie garden break in!

  11. What a shock as you thought she was on the mend. I can't add any more to what everybody else has said. My thoughts are with you. Looking forward to seeing what new hens you choose.

  12. Aw, Poor Ginger, I'm so glad her last day was filled with doing naughty chickeny things.

    Sue xx

  13. She was a good hen. And a very pretty one.
    I'm sorry for your loss.

  14. So very sorry for your loss. It sounds like she had a wonderful life with you and your family. Bless you all during this difficult time.

  15. Very sorry to hear about poor Ginger :( I have only been reading for a few weeks as well, your lovely garden and naughty hens are an inspiration! x x

  16. Oh no thats glum news :o( wow she could jump,bless her thats some chicken,no wonder you are feeling sad
    GTM x x x x

  17. CW - so sorry (and shocked) to hear your news.

    My thoughts are with you.


  18. Aw, that always sucks losing an animal... I lost a kid this week during goat deliveries. Not the same as one you had a relationship already.


  19. Am only now getting around for a catchup and am so sorry to hear the news of Ginger. That is something that I know I would find very hard to cope with and don't want to think about for now. What a beautiful resting place though. x


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