The ‘Chickens’ category:

Chicks, maybe

June 5th, 2011

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One of our chickens is broody: she sits on her or her friends’ eggs all day long.

The first time I noticed her sitting in her laying box in the middle of the day I thought she was maybe dead since she was utterly motionless. However, I quickly learnt that she was fine when I gave her a poke and she nearly pecked my arm off.

Our neighbour has loads of chickens and 3 cockerels so we asked if we could have a couple of his eggs for her to sit on. We swapped her old eggs for these new ones the other day… and now we wait.

If all goes to plan the chicks should hatch out in a few weeks.

Food!

May 16th, 2011

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This morning’s gatherings from the garden:

It’s not exactly self-sufficiency, but I reckon we could survive on eggs and cherries if we had to…  It’s a start anyway!

Grandma mauled by 12 year old bitch

April 12th, 2011

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You’d have thought that at the age of 12 our dog Buffy would have calmed down a little, but given that she was ABSOLUTELY MENTAL when we first got her, ‘calmed down a little’ means she’s now just MENTAL.

So, as you’ve probably gathered from my tabloid headline, she attacked the chickens and managed to bite the one Soren named Grandma. We’re always very careful to keep an eye on the dogs when they’re out in case they go towards the chicken run, but after weeks of apparent poultry nonchalance, we let our guard down. And once down, this was the resultant conversation our neighbours heard (but didn’t understand because they don’t speak English):

“Where’s Buff?” one of us asked the other.
“Shit, she’s in with the chickens!” the other replied.

Buffy had a mouthful of brown feathers; one of the chickens was down, another had legged it over the fence, the rest were flapping about in a panic. We grabbed Buffy and tied her to a fence post in the coutryard well out of the way whilst we inspected poor Grandma. She’d been bitten on the back and lost some feathers and skin, and she was hobbling. Corrie applied some Savlon to the wound… and then we hoped for the best.

That was a few days ago. Grandma is still with us and seems fine. She’s still walking with a limp, but apart from that seems alright really: she’s still laying and still wandering around pecking at the grass. Hopefully she’ll make a full recovery.

As for Buffy, well, we untied her from the fence post after a few hours once we’d calmed down. She never goes outside without a lead on when the chickens are out, which is a shame but it’s for the best.

Maybe when she’s in her early 30s she’ll be calm enough to trust in the outside world.

And the winner is…

March 28th, 2011

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Isaac!

After much deliberation we decided that Lucy seems like a strangely fitting name  for our chicken.  Congratulations, you will be receiving a letter from your new ‘hen friend’ soon!

Competition – name the chicken!

March 21st, 2011

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We bought our chickens at a poultry market three weeks ago.  As you can see by the egg counter on the right, they are doing quite well and have laid 36 eggs already.

Chicken keeping has been pretty simple so far:

  • Buy chickens, lady at market stuffs them into a box;
  • Go home and tip chickens out of box into the newly cleaned poulailler / chicken house;
  • Leave some food and water freely available, keep them shut in for a week;
  • Visit several times a day to compulsively check laying boxes;
  • Let chickens outside after a week, walk through village to retrieve escaped chicken;
  • Reinforce fence.

They put themselves to bed when it gets dark, so all we have to do is go and shut the door, and they haven’t escaped again.  I tend to take them some treats in the afternoon (discarded biscuits, half chewed pieces of bread – generally the kind of thing that litters the floor when you have small children) and they are so greedy that they come running, or sometimes flying, over to the gate to meet me.  They are always so busy and are happy to carry on pecking about while we sit and watch.  It is very relaxing to watch them, but Milo is so over it.  He would rather put leaves into their water.

Soren has named 5 of the chickens so far – the brown Warrens are Jelly, Grandma and Eva, and two of the black Marans are Spotty and Henley.  The sixth chicken still needs a name so please help us out by leaving your name suggestion in the comments.  Here is the un-named and rather skinny looking bird:

If we choose your suggestion not only will you have the glory of winning, you will also receive an annual letter from your chicken, keeping you updated on all of her, ahem, exciting adventures and such.  If you come to visit I will also most likely bake you something incorporating one of your chicken’s eggs.  What a prize!!!