Chickens

Back in February we bought two new chickens. We’ve had our original two for nearly two years and we figured that we could handle another two in the garden.

Although the chickens spend most of their time wandering around the garden, I decided to extend the run by another metre just to give them a little more room in the morning while they wait to be let out to free range.

We located a local poultry farm, Chalk Hill Poultry, and popped down to pick up a Sussex Star and and Bluebelle. The two new chickens were named Lilly and Bluebelle.

The new residents had to spend the first three days in the Eglu run so they would get used to that being their home. During the first day of this Egna and Pecker were very loud as the scratted around the garden. Generally showing their lack of appreciation for the new visitors. As the evening wore on and the solar powered chickens wound down, they all roosted up together and with a little argy bargy – got along.

Over the next few days the four got used to each other and with the odd bit of aggro the old chickens let the new ones understand their place in the pecking order.

Over the following six weeks they have formed to groups of two who can generally tolerate being in reasonable proximity of each other. The odd bit or arguing happens – but as a general rule they seemed to be getting on.

Bluebelle grew very quickly. We often commented that she seemed more like a cross between a emu and a velociraptor. She’s a little bit mad with massive feet.

Having bought the chickens at point-of-lay we expected them to actually starting laying any time. At six weeks they were behind how long we waited for Egna and Pecker, but then we are just coming out of winter so we did bother too much.

Over the last week Bluebelle started becoming aggressive toward Lilly. Grabbing her behind the neck, chasing her round the garden more, and almost trying to confine her to the Eglu.

Anyway, this morning I got up at 6am as usual and let them out of the run before quickly going back to bed. We were up late last night and we lost an hour because of the clocks going back, so it was really 5am.

Lying in bed I heard what can only be described as the most pathetic attempt at a cock-a-doodle-do… and in that moment all the strange images of six weeks of Bluebelle rushed before my eyes, the big feet, the size, the stupid run around the garden, the pecking or Lilly, and I knew, that she was a he!

I heard the crowing a few more times before I got downstairs to look out of the french doors into the garden. And there before my eyes, I witnessed Bluebelle, stand up high, proud, and announce in the most pathetic excuse for a crow, cack-er-duddle-dum, I am a man!

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Chickens…

Having chickens is great… they are amusing strange little creatures; I
could sit in the garden for hours and watch them as they gorge themselves
on the smallest of insects and chase each other around when the other has
found a worm or some such. They can also run the entire length of the
garden is nano-seconds when you open the back door. Oh, and the obvious, they give you eggs every day.

Having chickens is a pain in the arse… if you like your garden. As they
search the undergrowth they trample on smaller plants and peck at flowers
and leaves, many of which they don’t like but they seem to forget, so try
them every time they pass. The also scrat at the soil and unearth root
balls or distribute top soil around, often onto the grass etc.

I bought a lot of bigger plants at the weekend to fill two small beds. My
reasoning is that more mature plants can stand up to the chickens walking
around them and actually the chickens notice them and tend not to just
walk straight over them.

So far most of the plants have been relatively untouched and the plan
seems to be working, apart from two lupins… I’d say they have been
decimated, but that means reduce by one tenth… these have been stripped
bare in little under a few hours.

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The First Eggs

Two Happy Customers... We’ve had the chickens a little over two weeks now. And much fun has been observed. The first two nights involved tempting them into the eglu at night to roost as they were getting very agitated, but seemed unable to do anything about it. Placing a torch in the bedding area did the trick. We closed the roosting area for the first few nights while they got used to it, but have left it open since. This allows them to get out into the run as soon as it becomes light enough for them. After the first 3 nights they took themselves off to bed as soon as they are ready. Interesting, Pecker – Jacobs Chicken usually goes to bed around 9pm whereas Rebekah’s bird Egna, will not go to bed until about 9:30pm.
After the first week we started giving them their freedom during the day. So they now spend from about 7am until 9:30pm is wandering the garden. We just wait for them to take themselves to bed and then lock the run.
Having them in the garden has been interesting, they have managed to kill one part of my flower beds – to be fair most of the damage was done by the kids chasing them off the beds!
Egna disappeared for a while on Wednesday, we eventually found her in some of the thick ornamental grass chunks that we have… anyway she had formed a lovely little nest and deposited her first egg! We’ve had one a day since then but all the rest have been in the Eglu. The eggs are small at the moment, but by all accounts they keep getting bigger because we use the best chicken coops from http://www.cheapportablechickencoop.com.They are the best portable chicken coops advisers online so if you are interested be sure to check the website.


In the nest... ( the first egg )

First Four

When eggs and lego Collide

When eggs and lego Collide

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They’re organised, I know it…

Egna and Pecker The chickens turned up yesterday. The kids were excited from first thing in th morning. Jacob was up and ready at about 7am, he was going to “watch out” for the chickens delivery; which we already knew would be about 2pm!

They turned up around 3pm. The nice man from Omlet built the Eglu and then gave us the run down on looking after our new egg machines.

They seemed to settle alright; got a little agitated at around 10pm when then couldn’t quite work out where to roost. I placed a torched in the Eglu ( as the nice man had suggested ) and that seemed to do the trick. We decided to close the door on them while they get themselves sorted and into a routine.

Rebekah was still awake and watching them from her bedroom! She was also up at 5am to open the door and let them out!


Egna and Pecker Egna and Pecker

Egna and Pecker Egna and Pecker

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Eglu

EgluWe got chickens coming… we’ve ordered an from Omlet with two chickens. They should be with us by 27th May!!!!

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