Thursday, 7 April 2011

Keep Chickens!!

Today I sat outside one of my chicken-coops on the floor and peered through at my Silkie hen and her three adopted chicks, I must have sat there for about half an hour, I kept thinking, 'I'll just watch for a bit longer, oh just a bit more' but I was totally captivated by the adorable way they kept a close eye on their mum, and how they chased her frantically when they had realised that she had moved from the last spot they had noted, whilst they were being distracted by how much fun it was to scratch around ,as foraging is something that comes naturally, and what makes baby chickens more independent than most other birds, as they have a natural ability to feed for themselves almost straight after they hatch, which makes them rather special..

Keeping chickens for me started as a curiosity, I had bought my husband 4 hens as a Christmas present, we had talked about it and the idea appealed, but it was one of those things we had loved the concept of but didn't really know much about, and I didn't know anyone who had chickens, to ask, to get advice from, but actually the best place I found for all of this advice were forums like 'Down the Lane' and the 'Omlet' site which are very  informative, also they are very friendly, and everyone who owns chickens that I have ever come across are always delighted to be called upon to help anyone who may be thinking of getting some.

Now I have roughly 40, I say roughly, because I have chicks, I have a hen sitting on eggs due to hatch in a weeks time, and I have an incubator with 10 eggs doing very nicely, I sit with my cup of tea most mornings in all weathers and watch my girls peck around and scratch, their clucks and squawks are punctuated by the joyous sounds of my two cockerels, who are on the look out for predators and safe guarding their harem, and they really do lift my mood.

I would say to anyone thinking of keeping chickens that they should go ahead and get 3 to start with,which is a manageable flock, and you will get a few eggs a day which is ample.
And for ease and convenience get a walk in pen, because those coops that you have to crawl into are a total bloody pain, unless you are 3 feet tall, I suggest you make or buy , 3 x 6ft tall panels joined to make an enclosure measuring about 12ft, with panels over the top as a lid to keep off foxes, this set up will make a great start. and you will need a chicken house inside, perhaps you could make one, or else buy one on ebay, they don't have to cost the earth, I bought a cheap one and painted it bright pink and it's lovely.. also the good thing about having a paneled structure is that you can add to it, which believe me you will !.

I have a love for a specific rare type of chicken and they are called 'Transylvanian Naked Necks' I have a second pen in the garden and have set up a programme to breed them, which I have started this year.

I also do 'Chicken Keeping for Beginners' afternoons which you can find here,

If you would like any advice at all and would like some help with anything chickeny you could contact me by emailing 

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