Archive for the ‘Keeping Chickens’ Category

Never count your chickens before they hatch!

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Well another interesting year with the chickens.  Last year we had only five chicks and they all turned out to be cockrels!  This year is not turning out to be very much better.  We have had four batches of eggs with a broody hen on each.  The first one – Madame la Pomme  just hatched one chick – Puffin.

Mme La Pomme and her chick - Puffin.

Mme La Pomme and her chick - Puffin.

The second hen – Cornflake – hatched one chick and then proceeded to trample all over it.  Georgina rescued the poor little thing and hand fed it for a few hours and then gave it back to its Mother – who proceeded to trample all over it again.  In desperation we popped it under the wing of our third hen  – Mrs Noah who was sitting and she – although somewhat surprised by having a chick appear so quickly when she had only been sitting a few days began to look after it.  The inevitable happened of course – having got a chick she waited for a couple of days and as none of the others hatched she got off them and let them go cold.  Still a bird in the hand is worth two in the egg we say!  This one is called Shirley.

Wait for me mama!

Wait for me mama!

Lastly we had Precious who was sitting on six eggs.  I was so hopeful and watched her everyday – taking her off the eggs for 10 minutes and letting her wander around.  Finally the day came and the eggs started to hatch.  On the Saturday morning she had four chicks with one egg still cracking – I didn’t know where the other egg had gone.

We had a food smoking course that day so I was busy and didnt tell George as it was going to be a surprise.  Finally we would have a hen with a ‘string’ of little chicks running behind her.  But Oh, when I went to see her at the end of the day three of the chicks had died and the fourth was about to die.  Only one remained – Lucky!  I was devestated and took the little chicks and buried htem in out ‘Pet garden’.  Lucky has been renamed Tatoe – due to her love of potatoes!

Precious with Tatoe in the ark.

Precious with Tatoe in the ark.

So this year we have three hens all with one chick each!  However  I am pretty sure now that Puffin is a hen and I am so hoping that the other two will turn out to be hens as well. 

Little tatoe!

Little tatoe!

Madame La Pomme has abandoned Puffin and has gone broody again so I have been to a friends and got six eggs from her hen house.  She has Black Rocks, Wyndots and Light Sussex.  Four of the eggs are a beautiful dark chocolate colour. 

Nougat - always looking for an opportunity. "Could it be that you hiding my lunch?"

Nougat - always looking for an opportunity. "Could it be that you hiding my lunch?"

As always I have my fingers crossed.  Will keep you posted.

I am the Big daddy!

I am the Big daddy!

Andy of course it terribly proud of them all!

Keeping Chickens!

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

One of the great benefits of downshifting and leading a quiet and simple life is the time and space to keep chickens.

We inherited a rooster and a number of chickens with the house and have been addicted to them ever since. We now have a rooster – Andy and 7 hens – all named and all very much pets.  They are –

  • Mrs Noah – the Matriarch who is in charge of the hen ark
  • Hettie – the cheeky and best loved little brown hen
  • Precious – Hettie’s daughter – and don’t you just know it!
  • Gloria – born on the ‘Gorious 12th’ (August)
  • Madame La Pom – She hatched from a blue egg – given to us by  a neighbour and has a fluffy ‘pom-pom’ head
  • Cornflake – A Buff Orpington and Branflake’s best friend. Stately, beautiful and as thick as poo!
  • Branflake – A Buff Orpington and Cornflake’s best friend – and like Cornflake in every way.
Peep-Po!

Peep-Po!

We haven’t been all that successful with our breeding programme.  In 2007 we didn’t hatch any chicks at all.  In 2008 we hatched 5 chicks and they were all roosters. 

This year Madame La Pom was sitting on 6 eggs and hatched one chick – Puffin – who is now 3 weeks old and doing well. Branflake has been sitting on 6 eggs (has broken two) and was 3 days overdue when one chick hatched – yesterday.  Named ‘Burley’ it looks to be doing well and I am so hoping she will hatch another couple – but one is better than nothing.  Finally we have Mrs Noah sitting on 6 eggs and she should hatch around the 23/24th.  Cant wait.

Hettie with Precious and Gloria

Hettie with Precious and Gloria

Here is hoping that they are not all roosters again.