Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The New Chicken World

 
The chickens have settled in well after the move, the egg laying is down to an average of five or six a day which is the lowest we have ever had, but this is caused partly by the fact that the hen that was left behind (and caught and re-homed by our neighbour) and also the one that sadly took it upon herself to die last week were both good layers.  So if we still had them that would have been a much more respectable seven or eight.
 
Angel, 'the double rescue' Hyline still lays a couple of eggs a week even though she must be getting on a bit for an ex commercial layer, but for reasons known only to herself never in the nest boxes, she hops over the fence lays her egg behind our house in a pile of leaves and then hops back over into Chicken World.  We have no problem with this, we just keep our fingers crossed that she always gets back safely.  We tried moving the leaves but she laid on a pile of stones instead, so the leaves are re-instated for her comfort ... yes, we are soft like that :-)
 
 
Caldwell II is still in charge of the flock ....
 
 
... ruling with a iron fist of tender care for his wives, until Lovely Hubby shows his face and then the aggressive little so and so charges with feathers and spurs a flying!!

 
He has a young pretender in the form of Flash ...
 
 
... who is maturing into a most magnificent specimen,.
 
We don't know what breed he actually is as he was sold along side his siblings as a Silkie .... and he definitely NOT a Silkie!!
 

Although Snowy his sister is!!
 
She's always on the go, hence what is a slightly burry photo, a bundle of Silkie fluff that runs around at the speed of sound!!
 
 
The henhouse is proving really good.  At first I had trouble adapting to a completely different style of house.  You get in your routines, any chicken keeper will know what I mean.  Cleaning them out a certain way, knowing how the birds use the house, accessing the house yourself.
 
We made some modifications to it to suit us and our birds better, we took out the first of the interior perches, our girls just couldn't manage the jump up to the perches without first landing on the board that sits under them, with the perches coming right to the edge of the board this was impossible and they spent the first few nights sleeping on the floor.  Luckily we have a lot less birds than the house is designed for so this is not too much of a problem.  We also made them a ramp that leads up to the shelf so the larger girls can climb up instead of jumping, our Black Marans are heavy birds and they found it a struggle. 
 
 
At the rear of the henhouse are the nesting boxes (accessed from inside for the birds and from outside for us), unfortunately the door for this opens downwards which just clears the incline of the hill.  It would be so much better for accessing the eggs and for cleaning out purposes if it was the lid that lifted up as it did in our last henhouse.  But for now this must remain as it is, although it is frustrating to be stood on a slope ducking down to reach in and collect eggs.
 
The only other downside to the house is that the perches are fixed in position with screws, I much prefer removable perches sat in recesses and  also the shelf under the perches is supposed to slide out for ease of cleaning but this is virtually impossible to do singlehandedly so I have worked out a way to clean it from inside the house, a bit of a bug bear but one that I can live with as long as we do a deep clean of the house every so often and remove these completely.
 
All in all it is a well thought out house and very well made, LH was impressed with the quality of the treated wood and the instructions for assembly were so easy, we could have had it assembled on site for a very reasonable cost but he wanted to do it himself so he could thoroughly check it's construction. 
 
Now I'm used to is, cleaning it out daily for a month helps considerably with this, I am getting happier .... and the main thing is the chickens are happy and safe.  And it proves that we are happy with our henhouse we have just ordered a brand new shed from the same company to house all our chicken feed and supplies ... this time it's not a Manshed .... it's a Chicken Shed!!
 
At the moment we have the electric fencing round Chicken World but hopefully in the next couple of months we will be constructing a proper fenced area with an undercover space for the rain that very occasionally falls here ...... please understand the sarcasm in that last sentence ;-)
 
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Thank you for all the comments about yesterdays Blogging post.  You left some really good links to Blogs that I don't currently read and I'm sure a lot of you will be using them, just as I am, to hop even further around Blogland.  It's also nice that we enjoy a lot of the same Blogs.  Some of the ones mentioned I do already read but are not on my sidebar.  Reading Blogs can be a wonderfully time consuming occupation, but it's so nice to belong to a crowd of like minded souls.
 
Sue xx
 
 
 

21 comments:

  1. I am so glad that your chickens are happy in their new Chicken World; it does look quite luxurious for them. I am surprised that you have not encountered more problems (or frustrations) with living so close to the hill. We looked at a house on the Wales/Shropshire border a few years ago, and that had a 'hill behind' which was one of the reasons why we did not move (that and the fact that there was no work in the area!) but I am so in awe of what you are doing. I hope you are not finding it too lonely during the week, but of course you have all us lovely people to keep you company!

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  2. So glad that your chickens have a happy home, it looks amazing for them. Chickens are the first thing we are getting when we move to our forever home, whenever that may be :)
    AFM
    xx

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  3. I would def. find a way to make the lid lift on the nest boxes instead of the side, that would be a real pain. (mind you I'm collecting over 100 a day so it's a bit different!)

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  4. I look on Pinterest and have followed boards with frugal ways, crafting,building hen houses (never know how far into the future I'll be needing one) and various other how-to boards. Now that I know where to look for a certain item or how to, I don't spend quite as much time on there!
    xxx

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  5. Hi Sue, Glad you are getting on well with the hen house. It's always good to hear customer feedback on how their hen house works for them, and how we can improve the design. Hopefully you will find the shed works well for you too! All the best, Philippa, Smiths Sectonals

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  6. I don't know anything about chickens, but it is interesting to learn about them. I got" bitten" by one once as a child ! A few years ago, my son's girlfriend ( now Ex) was being paid good money to find out if chickens have special friends. She did explain why this was being done, and it did make sense at the time.

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    1. I hope she found out that they do have special friends... because they DO most certainly. See this post for proof ...

      http://ournewlifeinthecountry.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/farm-is-quiet-place-this-morning.html

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  7. Sounds like you have got to grips with the new chicken house, and are makin the modifications that personally suit you and your flock.

    I see you have discovered the downside to living in Wales . . . it rains - a bit - now and again, ahem, daily sometimes!!!

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    1. It does, oh it does !! But hopefully it will be good for the vegetables if not for the chickens :-)

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  8. How lucky are your chickens? I would love to have some, not sure what the dogs would make of them though!

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  9. Glad you are getting the chickens settled. I made myself a scrap-y thingy tool so drag all the soiled sawdust off the droppings board and into a waste bucket. I worked well and was easily and quickly done when done daily.
    Just need to find a bit of time for Hubby to fit out this new house ... time is always the problem here.
    They tell me the welsh rain is good for the complexion.
    x

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  10. Snowy is gorgeous! Love the silkies. Had chickens as a child and trying to relearn.

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  11. Hi Sue. I love chickens and hope to have some of my own one day. I have a few books on poultry and I'm sure Caldwell is a French Black Copper Maran, or a hybrid. He's gorgeous.

    Look here:

    http://www.brbpoultry.co.uk/LARGE%20FOWL.html

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    1. Caldwell is a Mille Fleur Pekin Bantam, but you're right Flash could well be a French Black Copper Maran Bantam or a similar hybrid , he has all the right colouring. Obviously his egg got put in with the Silkie eggs under Ebony his mum who is a Black Pekin Bantam, what a mix for one family eh!! :-)

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  12. Breeze preferred to lay her eggs in a bag of garden waste !
    Lovely to read about Chicken World x

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  13. Glad to see they are settling in after their baptism by rain!

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  14. It is so heart warming to see chickens being taken good care of. Yours are lucky indeed. I find having them around quite comforting, the little noises they make, how happy they are each morning, and how much they love pecking in the soil. Well done to you and your feathered friends. x

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  15. That hen house is amazing! I have a dream of one day having chickens but the dream is very far away! x

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  16. Looks a good chicken pen. Every time I move my fencing they have that patch in a muddy mess in no time!

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Sue xx