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Poorly chook

Wednesday 12 May, 2004

by Dan at 1:25pm in Poultry Comments closed

One of our hens is a bit under the weather at the moment. Rosemary noticed it was a bit listless yesterday lunchtime, and said she'd be surprised if it lasted the night - it was a bit huddled and not terribly active so she isolated it in the old ark. When I got home from work it was still alive, and quite bright-eyed. Later in the evening she (the hen) produced a very large egg, and seemed to perk up, but we kept her by herself overnight.

This morning I found that she had laid a soft-shelled egg, and again seemed reasonably chipper. So we've marked her, and have left the end off of the ark so that she can rejoin the flock if she wants to. Fingers crossed she'll be okay and that it was a temporary egg problem, but if it persists we'll consider the common advice in these cases which is to cull the bird.

Trampolining hens

Tuesday 23 March, 2004

by Dan at 1:13pm in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

On Sunday afternoon I planted about 400 Sturon onion sets in the big bed beside our garage. Since onions form a part of just about every meal we eat these will keep us going for about 10 months after harvest.

One of the downsides of keeping hens is the need to protect everything in the garden which can be damaged by the hens pecking, and scratching. With many vegetables, especially those sown direct or planted as small sets or tubers, that means netting. You can probably see where this is going.

New hens

Thursday 12 February, 2004

by Dan at 6:35pm in Poultry Comments closed

Yesterday evening we made the short trip to Drum to collect our new hens - 8 Rhode Island Reds in fabulous condition, just coming into lay. Due to Forsham's abysmal customer service (I won't say more) we didn't have the fixings for constructing the new ark, so they spent their first night here in the shed before being moved into the old ark this morning once it was vacated by the old hens (keeping up?).

This afternoon we got the new ark built, just in time for one of our old Rhodies who was clearly needing some private time and liked the look of the new nest boxes - she went straight in as soon as the last screw was affixed and did her stuff. The new hens are a little freaked by Tess, who treats the arks like Hen TV, and who is mesmerised by the new arrivals, but they'll soon treat her with the same disdain as every other animal we own. We'll tackle the integration of the old and new in a week or so, but for now everyone has a safe, comfortable home and somewhere private to lay.

Poultry articles

Saturday 7 February, 2004

by Dan at 7:19pm in Poultry 1 comment Comments closed

This afternoon the snow stopped me doing much more outside after finishing the fence posts for the new pig pens so I spent a couple of hours completing the poultry articles. This will at least be good news to David, who will now be able to demonstrate to Hilary that keeping hens means a little effort, a great deal of enjoyment and some fantastic products.

It's not a 6ft hutch, is it?

Friday 6 February, 2004

by Dan at 6:48pm in Poultry Comments closed

It was so disappointing. We had arranged to pick up our new hens, 8 Rhode Island Reds, this coming Sunday. The new ark was sitting in shrink-wrapped glory waiting to be assembled. We were all set.

So imagine our disappointment on opening said ark this afternoon (we'd both finished at 4pm specially to tackle the task) to find that the instructions and fixings were not for our Boughton 904 but instead a 6ft Proper Hutch. A phone call to Forsham secured an assurance that the correct instructions and fixings will be with us on Monday, but it leaves us with the imminent arrival of 8 hens and nowhere for them to live.

Planned expansion

Wednesday 31 December, 2003

by Dan at 3:55pm in Poultry Comments closed

At the moment we only have 4 hens - one of our original 6 died of natural causes in the summer, and another was taken (we think) by a fox in the autumn. This spring we plan to get another 8 to give us an even dozen - there is plenty of demand for the extra eggs, besides which we like having them around.

So we need a bigger house for them. We've got a Forsham Boughton 902A at the moment, and have been extremely pleased with it. Most importantly it's practical and easy to manage - with wheels on one end we move it every day or so to fresh grass. It's also very well built of good quality materials and will last a good number of years. Given all this it's no surprise we're going to get a 904 - basically a bigger version of the 902A. It's more expensive than some of the offerings out there, but at 399 UKP inclusive (we'll get the VAT back too) it's not bad value, and will pay for itself in a year or so with egg money.

When moving house

Monday 29 December, 2003

by Dan at 7:38pm in Poultry Comments closed

Yesterday R mentioned to me how exposed the hen's ark was, positioned as it was down by the river. So in the morning I dutifully wheeled it across to the orchard, thinking that the chooks would be able to find it without problem, since they do cover a fair bit of ground most days.

I was wrong. They spent the coldest night we've had for a long time (-6 degrees) out in the garden somewhere away from their snug roost. They seemed none the worse for wear for it this morning, and we even had our first egg for a couple of weeks. To prevent a repeat I made sure that they knew where their hoose was today by cajoling them over with some corn and demonstrably pointing it out to them (a couple of passers-by were most amused, and I've learned my lesson).

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