Archive for the ‘chickens’ Category

Our Chickens

In chickens on June 23, 2009 at 2:32 pm

We have had our current layer chickens since about May last year. So these girls are roughly 17 months old. Up until two months ago we have had no health problems with the birds but as you will see from these photos they now look a little tatty as they have lost patches of feathers around the neck and also on there backsides.

In themselves the birds are very alert eating very well and laying eggs everyday. We have the 6 birds and generally get 4-5 eggs a day and some days 6. Diet wise they have the basics layer pellets and corn but this is supplemented with all many of food that is left over in the house – rice,pasta,chips, vegetables,fruit – just about anything really. I also provide lots of grass cuttings.

From what I can tell chickens naturally lose feathers when they are moulting. However these lasts about 6 weeks and is usally accompanied by the birds ceasing to lay as they put there energy into development of new feathers. So we have ruled this out.

Secondly we thought there might be some parasite lice or mite. We have given the chicken house a total clean from top to bottom and can see no evidence of any bug in the house.

Chicken lice would seem to be most likely cause of the problem. However we have treated all the birds with a powder but the problem persists and again I can’t see anything in the house.

I was also told this problem could arise from lack of green vegetation or from the social pecking order. We do supplement them with green vegetation as they have eaten everting green in their enclosure.

Anyone keep chickens have any advice for a novice chicken keeper!

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Chickens in our Garden

In Antony Worrall Thompson, chickens, point of lay on June 19, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Our chickens have now been with us about 3 weeks and have settled in well. We took what felt like a bold decision a week ago to allow them out of the confines of their house and run to roam the garden during the day time.

This has gone well we had initial fears as to whether they would try to fly over the fence but at 5 feet this has been sufficient and to be honest they haven’t tried to make an escape.

Our next fear was how they would get on with our 3 cats. We kind of watched to see what would happen and who would claim mastery of the garden. At first there was a period of watching by our cats Brian, Bernard and Willow and somewhat indifference from the chickens ( the only name that has stuck so far is for our brown hen – Antony Worrall Thompson ) who were too busy eating grass like a hover mower. Suddenly the Speckled hen decided to make a decidedly chicken run straight at our oldest cat Brian who shame faced ran for it . So the pecking order of the garden has been defined in favour of the girls . To be honest they seem to get on very well together.

We have yet to get any eggs and this is something which should be do any day and every morning there is an expectation of finding one but so far nothing. We are feeding them well on layer pellets and afternoon corn feed along with odds and ends such as rice which they like a lot.

Point of Lay Chickens

In chickens on May 28, 2007 at 10:31 am

It is like bringing a new born baby home from the hospital! The amount of attention and visits to the bottom of the garden to check on how our 4 point of lay chickens are doing. Unfortunately it has rained ever since we brought them home on Saturday. Our run being wire netting didn’t keep the rain off so we bought some plastic corrugated sheeting to put over the top. This might be totally unnecessary but they didn’t seem to like getting wet.

On the first night we were unsure if the chickens would be able to find their way up a ramp and into the the house to sleep. So when it was nearly dark I climbed into the chicken run and helped each bird into the house! The birds had been looking tired and about to sleep where they stood.

We hadn’t noticed the chickens actually going into the house all day and we are told to keep them enclosed in the run for at least 2 weeks. However we had set their layer pellets up in a suspended feeder inside the house so we gave them a good handful of corn out in the run.

We have yet to name the birds. Any suggestions are welcomed. We have 4 birds a silver/white bird that is clearly in charge, 2nd in charge is the speckled hen and bottom of the pecking order is the blue/grey bird. The brown bird is docile and seems to be very friendly and doesn’t seem to get any pecks from the othersAt the moment we have some ideas around characters in the Lord of the Rings. My son wants to call our brown chicken Anthony Worrall Thompson however they are all girls but thinking about it that is still ok.

Chickens !

In chickens on May 26, 2007 at 9:01 pm

We have added to our family today when we acquired some point of lay chickens. A drive out to Stebbing in Essex to visit Hens for Homes and to speak with Kirsty helped us to decide on what chickens to buy. Here you can see a big range of point of lay chickens before buying. They can also be delivered. The chickens cost us £12.50 each.

The choice in Chickens is vast but rather than venture into pure breeds we decided to go for some hybrid hens. We decided we wanted both friendly chickens and good egg layers. We have 4 hens 2 of which are around 15 weeks and another 2 who are about 20 weeks old.

We have 4 different birds a Bovans Goldline which is a brown coloured chicken which lays brown eggs, a Bluebelle which is a grey/lavender coloured bird, a Bovans Silver which is said to be a very friendly bird and a Maran Cou Cou a speckled coloured bird.

Kirsty provided us with a starter pack of various items including all of the necessary food which was a supply of corn and a big bag of layer pellet, some grit to aid the birds digestion, and a drinker and feeder for the water and pellets.

We transported them back from Essex in a cat box and a crisp sized cardboard box. Apparently this is the standard way of doing this. Before bringing them home all of the birds had one of their wings clipped. This is an entirely painless process which will hopefully stop the chickens flying into trees to roost. It should apparently mean they will only be able to leap about 3 foot which is important to us as some of our fencing is only 5 feet high to our neighbors.

The previous week we had bought and erected a very well made chicken house and a 6 foot run from Tillett Pet and Poultry. The houses are well made and you can fit a chicken house and a run into a standard mondeo car. The house was well made and was easily fitted together in about 20 minutes. Although we gave it a coat of Somerset Green Cuprinol paint first.

The birds traveled well in the car and were very quiet. Getting them out of their boxes and into their new house meant picking and holding a chicken which Kirsty made look simple but takes a bit of practice and confidence to get right. however mission accomplished and the birds are in their new home. We are told to expect a 2 week period period while the birds become used to their new home and during this time they have a bit of a sneeze or two.

we have yet to name the four chickens. So far the silver bovan bird seems to be the leader pecking out sometimes at the others when she is wanting first peck at any food. However the grey/lavender bird seems the most flighty and adventurous and once or twice has tried to make her escape back to Essex launching herself at the top of the run.

We are complete novices at chicken keeping and no absolutely nothing really. However it will be exciting to see when we start hopefully getting some eggs. My pictures were take in the evening fading light and I hope to get some better shots soon.