Tuesday 31 March, 2015
I have a batch of 40 pol hens ordered for collection next month. They are Rhode Rocks with a smattering of White Leghorns. They will be going in to the Brown House (as opposed to the Green House, where last year’s Rhode Rocks are).
In preparation, the hens that were in the Brown House last year have moved into the caravan, affectionately called Dignitas. These are a mixed bunch, the youngest being a disastrous batch of 40 that I bought in October 2013 (there are fewer than 20 of them left, but that’s another story). All 41 birds have gone through at least one moult and egg production has fallen off so they will have a glorious summer free-ranging in the pig pen and adjacent field, but they won’t go through another winter.
Sunday 17 August, 2014
We killed the eleven hens yesterday and cleaned them today. The total cleaned weight was 36.6kg. average 3.33kg with a range of 2.9kg to 3.9kg.
They were quite fat and two were on the point of laying. In comparison, the cocks had almost no fat.
Sometime this week, I'll look back the invoices and see how much feed we used but I wanted to get this written down before the grubby bit of paper was lost or thrown out.
Monday 11 August, 2014
We killed the nine Hubbard cockerels this weekend - combined freezer ready weigh of 40.4kg, or an average of 4.67kg per bird; smallest birds (2) at 4kg. We've got eleven hens to do next weekend. They're much smaller. Full results posted next weekend.
Wednesday 2 April, 2014
The chookmobile is now occupied by twenty four mixed hens and Hoppy, the cockerel.
Monday 3 March, 2014
We record the number pf eggs we collect from each of our two henhouses each day. At the end of each month, I total it and, with reference to the number of days in the month and the number of hens in the house, I calculate productivity.
For February, the green house, with the remaining 27 of the 40 pullets that I bought in October is at 82%. The brown house, with 17 hens I bought POL April last year and 28 Black Rocks that I bought day-old in Spring 2011 ????, is at 47%. I suspect most of the production is coming from the 2013 birds :-)
Wednesday 12 February, 2014
We've bought a caravan. Cost us £50 from the caravan storage place along the road. We're hoping to get it home tomorrow and start stripping it out, for conversion into a mobile henhouse.
We have a flock of "scratchers" - about 20 in number that have "retired" from the main flock and now live in three small henhouses next to the field shelter ('cos I'm too soft to cull them). Because of the position of their houses, they tend to forage in Home and Near Top paddocks - and they do a real good job of breaking up dung and so on.
Wednesday 12 February, 2014
Thursday 12 September, 2013
Well, part 2 done now – we’ve been through the 37 hens in the brown house, identified and counted the old and new hens and double ringed the new hens.
We have 20 old hens and 17 new ones. We’ll move the old ones into the Scratchers arks and see how the young ones are performing, then put the green and brown house hens together – the house will take 45 at a pinch and we’ll get a new batch of forty for the green house (and Dumpy).
So a cull looms :-( and I’m off to sort out a new batch of pullets.
Thursday 5 September, 2013
Well, we’ve made a start on implementing out new poultry plan.
We have sold our small flock of Crested Cream Legbars – a cockerel and four hens. That has allowed D2 (Dumpy 2) to take over as flock cock in the green house – and very well he’s taken to it too. :-)
The odds and sods – four young Welsummers and two White Leghorns - have moved to the Scratchers. This has shocked them into laying, it seems – two white eggs yesterday and the day before and one today!!
Tuesday 27 August, 2013
One of my jobs for September is to review the health and welfare plan for our poultry. That, and an article in this month’s “Smallholder” magazine about selecting hens for culling before winter, has lead to a wider discussion about our poultry enterprises.
To recap, the plan is to run two flocks of forty layers under the orchard. Each house has three paddocks, each roughly 400 square metres, and the hens rotate round these on a monthly basis.