Thursday, 14 July 2011

The beginning ....

This is long.... very long! lol ... so you might need a drink and snacks!

It all started when I began a blog called Pinkfeatherparadise... and throughout the
following couple of years I read so many inspiring blogs and got a glimpse of all the possibilities that your life could possess if you chose to do something different and take a chance.... So I started dabbling with the idea of keeping chickens...
I had after all managed to learn to crochet and I was drawing and creating once again...


August 2010....

Seeing as we have a long grassy garden that the children never seemed to use it seemed a better idea to use it for something else....

So after weeks of investigation I bought an eglu cube on eBay and we drove to Wales to pick it up...

It stood empty... Ready for inhabitant for quite some time...



I was unsure if I was woman enough for the commitment I was about to under take... Could I learn everything required to keep some chickens healthy and happy... So I stalled in the purchasing of chickens...

September 2010....

As I hummed and ha'd about what flavour chickens I should get and where should i get them from and was I ready... would I manage... etc etc... we watched our almost 5 year old son start school... our 11 and a half year old daughter started secondary school and we decided to make sloe gin... and went gathering the berries from the surrounding fields around our village....


October 2010...

All the usual things happened during October...



and still I deliberated... and many excuses kept popping into my head... wait till the kids are on holiday... wait till after bonfire night... wait .... wait ... wait ...



November 2010...

Then I received an email from a fellow blogger who lives nearby and she enquired if I could re-home 3 of her chickens as she was expecting her second child and would no longer be able to keep her girls...

So with my heart in my throat I said yes and on Friday 18th of November Daniel and I popped over to collect them... Realizing for the first time that I didn't actually like things that flapped! ....

Karen and her husband caught the girls and placed them in the dog carrier and then it was lifted into the boot of my car... Once home I plucked up the courage to lift them out and place them in the cube...


I was now the terrified and yet so very excited owner of a white Sussex called Kate, her first port of call was the nest box...



a grey speckledy called Hettie, and a Barnvelder called Rusty... These two entered the cube flew down the stairs and investigated the run...



They settled in well... Kate, who is now Daisy Kate, soon laid her first egg... The Barnvelder wasnt yet laying as she was still a baby really... (Daisy have gone broody and Karen had placed some eggs under her and Rusty, now called Amber, was hatched) and if I remember rightly it wasn't long before Hettie stopped laying and started to molt.... which for a new hen owner was quite unnerving to watch... so with the aid of the internet and books I concluded that this was all very normal and all was well with my little feathered world...
I very soon realized that they deserved more room than the run gave them... plus Daisy Kate had dug a hole in the grass to teach her young friend how to dust bathe.. .which also scared me to bits to find the chickens lying on their sides rolling around on the dirt... lol ... so the garden was de-cluttered and the gate was made chicken proof and the stock fence in the hedges checked for holes.. I had no clue if they could squeeze through the fencing but there was only really one way to find out.... so I set them loose and waited with baited breath...


They didn't escape... they did however have a ball racing around investigating everything and anything....
As the weather started to take a change for the more wintery I decided that I would move the cube up under a flat roof area that the previous owners put up... so with a bit of huffing and puffing I managed to get it into place... its actually fairly easy to move but I had to bump it up a little step and it would have been easier with another pair of hands... but I'm and impatient girl and managed on my own.. lol



December 2010...

Well as predicted the snow arrived on the 2nd of December and I was relieved that I had moved the cube....



The girls were not overly impressed by the white stuff... for the first time every Daisy was in her element as she was now totally camouflaged... lol



January 2011... to March 2011

In February , Just before Valentines day, Hettie and Amber started laying eggs...



To say that I stunned my other half during the following months would be an understatement... from cold icy days through to warmer spring days I let out, cleaned out and fed and put away my girls... I had fallen in love with their clucky greetings and excited flapping and the coop was a fairly straight forward and easy clean.... no shoving my head in a smelly wooden box... I don't like big sheds so this was so much better for me...

April 2011...
After all the watching and spending so much time just watching them I realized that Daisy was not her usual self... so after chatting to Les (the very patient other half!) and a bit of research we realized her grumpy, growly, feather fluffing attitude was broodiness.... do I let her brood some eggs or wait for her to get over it ....?



So I waited and hummed and ha'd ( I do that a lot! lol) and I researched some more and eventually I dug out an old rabbit hutch and Les and I set about altering it so that it would work as a broody box... I wasn't too concerned about her stopping laying for a few months and she deserved a rest as she had laid right the way through the winter...


May 2011...
I set up the hutch with some fertile eggs that I bought from a friend in the village and transferred her from the cube (where she was hoarding the other girls eggs!) and placed her on her new fertile eggs...


The other 2 started poking their noses into the broody coop... so I erected a fence to keep daisy in the nursery area and the other 2 free ranging.... plus this meant if daisy came out to feed and poop then she wouldn't be tempted to go back to the wrong coop... she is a fabulous broody... she sat on those eggs for 21 days... some days I lifted her and made sure she did her business, fed and drank before she went back in...



We all waited with baited breath on the 21st... my neighbors must have thought me mad on all fours listening to a rabbit hutch... I think a web cam will be fitted for next time! lol

and on day 23 I opened the broody coop and she hopped out and tried to bring her 4 chicks with her.... you may notice in the edge of the above picture a little bit of green... yes I bought another coop from Ebay... this time an eglu classic rabbit hutch... its the same as the classic chicken although it doesn't have roosting bars or a nest area... (I have bought this though ready for next year and also in case I need to separate a bully once they are big enough to be all integrated together...)


it only has a meter run but we built an extension....

So where were we.... ah yes... mum escaped and babies were quickly shut in the hutch... I fetched a bowl and put wood shavings in the bottom and with much clucking and protestations from mum I placed the chicks in the bowl and transferred them to the classic coop.... mum could not be caught... she was not a happy hen... so I opened the side hatch


and in she jumped....



we added wood to stop the chicks form squeezing through the meld mesh... and a wooden ramp so that they could get up into the coop.... I did have to add a liver to the coop as the base is plastic and slippery and the chicks would not have been able to walk properly and run the risk of splayed legs...



Three black and one brown....
The eggs were from a flock of Black Rocks... which I later learnt do not breed true... so even now I have no clue what they will become... want to see them now?












Sorry for such a long post.... but I decided that I wanted to stop filling my original blog with all things hen..... lol ... I you read all the way to the end.... big hugs to you and well done... you deserve a cuppa and a sticky bun...:D

I'm no expert but I have learnt so much ... so if you have any queries or questions please ask... I will try to help if I can...

I will do a july post in a few days...

take care
Alex
x


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2 comments:

  1. Well I did read right to the end of your post and I enjoyed every word of it.
    I'm so glad your enjoying your girls and I can't believe how much those babies have grown. You'll soon have more eggs than you know what to do with lol.
    I'll look forward to reading your next post.
    (((hugs)))
    karen

    ReplyDelete
  2. where's my sticky bun? :D

    ReplyDelete