That’s ‘cos you’re a wet hen, Magrat Garlick,’ said Granny.
Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

If you’ve ever read the book and wondered what a wet hen* looks like, I have some examples:

Although all my hens are named after Mr Pratchett’s witches, until today I didn’t have a Magrat… now I seem to have four.

So far today, we have had 22.6mm of rain – that’s nearly an inch – and it’s only 11:40am.


* Apparently, in the US wet hens are angry, but here in the UK they are soppy.

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  1. beckyhelps

     /  November 7, 2014

    Our two exbatt hennies looked out of the shed and if I was a mind reader the words in their minds would read “No way am I going out in that!” Just as well as one of them is in the middle of a molt.

    • Only Esme refused to come out first thing, but even she appeared after a short while… they are hardy having been raised as free-range, outdoor hens.

      • BeckyHelps

         /  November 10, 2014

        They came out in the rain today, ate, then straight back in again. So many don’t have a choice, but to sit in a cage, in a barn, dry and terribly sad.

  2. sarahfoto

     /  November 7, 2014

    Naah poor things. They do look a lot like mine, we even thought about knitting a sweater for our Maggie who took the molting as seriously as your hen by the look of it!

  3. In NZ a ‘wet hen’ is unhappy and letting everyone know it 🙂

  4. Soppy is so English! She’s a big sook, as they put it here, a big girl’s blouse…. Poor girls. Mine will have to get used to something very similar when they arrive; the Wet is only weeks away now. We’re giving them an extra large covered area which is raised up, floored with compressed crusher dust and then covered in straw. They’ll have somewhere to scratch, somewhere for a dust bath, and somewhere to stay out of the rain. The alternative is very, very wet hens with large mud bovver boots.

  5. Poor things. Yup, here in the U.S. the phrase is “mad as a wet hen.”

  6. My hens spend an inordinate amount of time hiding from rain. Luckily, there are a lot of places on Serendipity Farm to wait out the odd rain shower. Not sure where anger is applied to wet hens to be honest. The angriest chooks I know are the clucky girls who are most wily and incredibly angry beasts. I had one throw herself at me the other day because I was “near” her nest. One day vicious and the next she decided that this clucky lark was boring and is back with the flock. Thank goodness the wet hen anger syndrome is confined to the U.S.! 😉

    • I think they just look cranky when their feathers are bedraggled from the rain. “Mad as a wet rooster” might be more appropriate–they are just plain mean to begin with.

      • I think it depends on the rooster. We have had some doozies in the past but The Big Yin is a really wonderful rooster and looks after his girls amazingly well. It might be something to do with breeds? We have Wyandottes which are pretty friendly to start out with. All hens look the same when they are wet, soggy and depressed 😉

  7. My mum used to say ‘Don’t be such a wet hen!’ if I was mithering over nothing…or very little! Made me smile to hear it again. Moke xx


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