Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Chickeny decisions, problem solved and competition won!!

Pose for a picture........not bl**dy likely!!

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking over the past couple of days, we were due to get some more chickens, we originally thought of bringing our chicken numbers back up to the fifty bird mark.  Selling the eggs both at car boot sales throughout the Summer, to colleagues and to family and friends as well as keeping ourselves supplied.

Looking carefully at the figures, cost per point of lay bird, cost of food, cost of boxes means it's not THAT profitable a little business.  Factor in that having around 50 birds means the houses need cleaning on a daily basis and then there's the medication for Red Mites, virtually guaranteed with lots of birds and hot weather, the price of bedding, the time involved.....lots to think about.

"You want me to pose for a picture.......

....oh go on then!! "

The thing that swung it for me was with 50 birds you don't get to know them!

Last night one of the Hylines, the one in the picture at the top (taken only last week) keeled over and died, simple heart failure I think, she was a big girl for a layer, lovely and healthy, full feathered and cheeky, but she had never been given a name, I came in and told Lovely Hubby that she was dead and I realised although I had fed her, looked after her and cuddled her on occasion, I had never named her.  She had arrived when we already had over 35 other hens and simply fitted into the flock.  Now we are down to a few birds I am seeing them start to be more individual.  More sure of themselves and their place in the flock and I like that.

So last night we made the monumental decision that instead of buying 18 girls this year we will buy just 6.  They will be named and they will join our flock of 7 Hylines, 1 Light Sussex (Lofty) and our 4 little Lavender Pekin Bantams.

So the eggs they lay will be mainly for us with the excess being sold to purely fund their lifestyle and pay their keep.  With just 6 new layers that will bring our egg numbers up to around 3- 4 dozen a week for the first year or so, that will be plenty.

LH is ringing a local chicken supplier this morning to see if they have the point of lay birds we have decided on in stock.  I always know when I have made the right decision, it rests lightly, this does.

*** *** *** *** ***

After yesterday Blog post I took 'The Squirrel Family's' advice and Googled 'Milk & more' and I've got us a milkman. 

He delivers in this area three days a week (our milkman is called Ricky), Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  It's all SO easy you literally set up your regular order on-line, add anything extra you need right up until 9pm the night before delivery and it's all left on your doorstep on delivery days.  You pay either by Direct Debit or regular credit card payments once a month.  How easy was that!!

Thanks Squirrel Family (sorry I don't know your real name).

*** *** *** *** ***

I've WON a competition, see The Smallest Smallholding on my sidebar to see how I won.  I'm SO excited, at last some lovely good news and something to look forward to for this Friday.  The prize is tickets for two (now who should I take.......) to listen to a talk given by my gardening hero and a guided tour of the Yeo Valley Organic Gardens, oh and did I mention that there's a two course lunch as well.  NOW you can see why I'm excited.  Thanks Lucy, thanks, thanks, thanks.

Sue xx


  1. How weird, I had just read your post about chickens, and clicked on The Smallest Smallholder to find that you won the draw, well done, I need to read back to find out what it is.

    I realised last night that I know you from several other blogs and sites on the internet, I have started reading about your adventures from your first post.

  2. Good to make a decision & stick to it. When my four hens died I made the decision not to replace them. I've given the hen house away & I'm making my garden back into a garden ! Never say never - I may have chickens again one day but not just yet. Enjoy your new girls & I look forward to meeting them !

  3. You know, I'm sure you will get more pleasure with having fewer girls and getting to know them a bit more. You may even recognise who has laid which egg!

  4. Well done on winning the competition, what a boost for you both! And you'll be coming to our lovely part of the world (Yeo Valley is not far from us, if you fancy a cuppa let me know!).

    I don't keep chickens (not allowed here) but think it would be lovely to know them all by name.

    Regards, Sooze xx

  5. It always feels like a weight has been lifted when you make the 'right' decision doesn't it?
    Congratulations on your win and enjoy the experience. You certainly deserve it! xx Susan

  6. Congratulations! Alys Fowler is an inspirational gardener and my fav. Looking forward to hearing all about it.

  7. Durr, I've just left a comment on your previous post recommending 'Mik and More'! I need to keep up-to-date with my reading of your blog, don't I?! Anyway, hope you are as happy with your mikman as we are with ours - it's a brilliant service and popping the empty glass bottles out to be collected is so much nicer than trying to cram those nasty plastic ones in the recycling bin!

  8. Pleased you got sorted......I see a few others recommended them too

    Interesting post today as I have been thinking about how many chickens to get when we move. I can sell eggs at a local farmers market twice a month and was thinking about 20 birds would do our personal use and leave some to sell to hopefully fund any associated costs. (I will be keeping about 25 quail too)

    Thing is I too want to keep that pet family feeling rather than production line feeling too, pleased I seem to have got my sums right


  9. If I start packing now, I might just make it by Friday!!
    Jane x
    Ps I'll bring maple syrup!

  10. Sorry to hear about your chicken.

    Sometimes you just know you've made the right decision.

    AND... WOO HOO! on your win, what a lovely prize! (Take me!LOL!)
    I just know you will enjoy that, who wouldn't!


    Sandie xx

  11. Yeah, you won! That's just lovely.

    Good call on the chickens. Looking forward to meeting the new ones.

    Sft x

  12. Sorry about the hen - what a shame. I love your expression about making decisions - 'it rests lightly' - that makes so much sense. Well done on the win - hope you have a great time x

  13. Going from 6 to 16 hens I also noticed that we didn't 'know' the new ones. We have never named any but, inevitably, they get named by appearance or characteristics, and the 'characters' quickly become known :)
    Not sure how if this works with your numbers?


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