Getting ready for new hensRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 31 March, 2015

by Rosemary at 8:53am in Poultry Comments closed

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.

So the Brown house has been thoroughly cleaned, doused in Poultry Shield and the perches replaced with fresh wood, ready for the new inhabitants.

I’ve also taken advantage of the three paddocks round the house being empty to lime and reseed them. I did this at the weekend, putting down roughly 15g / m2 of lime and 1.66kg of grass seed on each paddock (I bought a 10kg bag and we have six poultry paddocks – not very scientific, I know).

The three paddocks round the Green House will be done April, May and June as the hens rotate round them.

I’ve used a special poultry grass seed mix from Barenbrug UK, which includes Barlexas II Tall Fescue, Balmoral Cocksfoot, Barage Perennial Ryegrass, Baristic Strong Creeping Red Fescue and Comer Timothy.  I hope this will give a persistent and hardwearing sward – because the hens do trash it.

So, I’m ready to go whenever the hens are ☺ We’ll be getting our meat chicks at the same time, so I’ll need to be getting their accommodation ready too – but there’s a pen with sheep in that area just now, so it’ll have to wait a few more days.

I’m looking forward to having some White Leghorns again. They’re great layers of white eggs, but are small so don’t eat much; they are flighty though, so that might be fun ☺


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