more on the chickens

last weekend we painted the chicken house in order for it to be ready for the chickens we thought we might go look at this weekend.

i fancied some Sussex hens, supposed to be child friendly, good layers and not too keen on flying away, i also think they look nice. but, we got standard hybrid hens good at laying and pretty friendly too.

We have four, 1 for each of the girls, although Yogi has agreed to share hers with Rach at The Big Sofa, so Rach you and Yogi need to come up with a name for the cream one with the darker red comb.

we were a bit worried about getting them into the house from the box but needn’t have been, they were as good as gold…. they seem happy for now, they’ve all tried out the perches, 2 have sat in the nest boxes and they’ve all had a god old munch on their food (and had water too).

getting the house ready almost there

                  almost there!

Yogi 7 Rach\'s hen

 in the foreground we have Yogi & Rach’s hen, in the background Boo’s (Boo’s seems to be a little bit shy so this is the only pic we have so far)

noise & muffins hens

the hen in front is Noise’s, she has black in her tail feathers, and also in her wings. Muffin’s hen is the one behind, where Noise’s is black she is cream.

None of the hens have been named yet although muffin is considering Road Runner for hers as it took quite a lot of running round the, quite considerable, pen in order to catch her, Boo thinks maybe ‘Really Real Toot’ for hers. Noise has only just found out about them so hasn’t had time to think at all and of course number 4 hen’s name will require collaboration between Rach (who hasn’t met her yet) and a 6 and a half week old baby…. could prove interesting!

personality wise so far we have the ‘balsy’ brown & cream, the ‘shy’ cream, the ‘media hungry’ cream and the rather ‘laid back’ brown & black. we’ll see how they go once they’re allowed out of their house, see whether we need to revise first impressions.

we bought straw for their bedding as this was what was recommended and layers pellets as this is what they’re used to. i may change their feed to mash once they’re used to being with us (hopefully by the time i need to buy more feed) as i’ve heard via Stonehead that it helps manage boredom levels…. 

It does feel like quite a big responsibility having chickens, strangely moreso than children! i think it’s because children are there in your face all of the time, you CAN’T leave them behind when you go on holiday or away for the weekend, you can’t forget to feed them etc and foxes generally don’t try to eat children (not that i’ll be trying to prove this theory anytime soon) but chickens, they’re different. it’s not generally accepted that you’ll stick them in the back of the car and drive for 2 or 3 days to your mothers with them… (would they even let them on the ferry….) or even an hour and a half up the road to your mother-in-laws so you have to think about what to do with them. if it’s raining hard or even hailing (again) do you really HAVE to go out and feed them? of course you do, and it’s not that they are more of a responsibility than having children, they’re just a different responsibility and one we’ve thought about carefully before embarking upon (although i’ll have you know we thought carefully before embarking on having children too!!) but just before and then again just after we paid for them we both looked at each other with mild panic inour eyes, and then we smiled.

of course we are doing the right thing. take care of them and the rewards from having chickens are enormous. they calm you, they bring sunshine when life is feeling crappy, it’s a lovely feeling laying in the hammock listening to the chickens clucking around below you. i’ve wanted chickens since i was tiny, and now i have them. life is good.


5 thoughts on “more on the chickens

  1. I based my though on pellets vs mash on a couple of scientific papers I’ve read. The University of Bern, Switzerland, did a study that found rates of feather pecking were lower in hens fed on mash than on pellets. The hens had to peck longer to get the same amount of food, and it also matched their foraging behaviour.

    The World Poultry Journal had a scientific article (peer reviewed) that said feather pecking was more likely to occur when hens were fed restricted diets, coarsely ground feed, or pellets.

    There are a few others and I can dig out exact references if you want. While the studies and articles were of confined hens in the main, I think they also have application for small-scale poultry keepers with relatively small runs.

  2. luckily we have a large enclosed garden where the ‘girls’ will usually be able to run free, it’ll only be when i’m not around that they’ll need to be confined.

    no need for exact references, i bow to your experience keeping chickens, maybe one day someone will look at my blog and be inspired but for now i’m the one being inspired, thanks for taking the time to look at my post and for taking the time that you do to update yours.

  3. Woohoo! So excited for you, I am truly honoured to have joint naming rights, what about Cindy?! Cindy was Yogi bear’s friend (girlfriend?!) I think in the cartoons, so that could work. Does she look like a Cindy? I will leave it to Yogi’s superior judgement. If she approves let’s go with that.

    The chicken house looks gorgeous, they are all going to be very happy, can’t wait to meet them at some stage! xxx

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