Way back in 2009 we decided that we would keep chickens. The children had wanted us to do so for years as my sister-in-law has always kept them and they loved collecting the eggs when we were staying down there. I held out for years as I didn't want all the hassle of cleaning them out. However, I came across a company called Omlet who produce an excellent chicken house know as the Eglu which is very easy to keep clean. As our garden is large enough for a run I gave in and our first two chickens turned up on Penny's 18th birthday.
|The run with our first two chickens|
|The ginger chicken is Selma, the black one Patty|
|This is it compared with a shop bought one!|
The children had a trampoline which we had put onto woodchip to make it safer for them. They no longer used the trampoline so I decided that we would fence off that area, put the run into that and then we could let the chickens out in there for more room to roam. They loved it!
However, when Hugh, Penny and I were on holiday in June 2011 we had a phone call from Ben to say that unfortunately Patty had died. She had not been laying well before we went on holiday and Ben had gone to feed them and found her dead in the run. We were quite sad as we had become attached to her. Selma didn't seem bothered though! She continued to potter around in the run and lay eggs for us, although not as prolifically as she had been. However, just before we were to go on holiday in May 2012 she became very weak and unable to stand. We were going to take her to the vets, but before we could do that she died overnight. We went on holiday and came back to a very empty run. I said that we wouldn't get any more chickens. Although they were fun to keep and I loved the eggs, I didn't like having to clean them out every week!
Well, of course, that didn't last! Penny and Hugh went on and on about how we should get some more! So, in June 2012 we welcomed Coffee and Walnut to the family!
|Here they are when we first got them - notice that they don't have very large or red combs|
They started laying after about 6 weeks and are brilliant layers. We get 6 eggs a week from each of them - even through the winter they laid about 4 a week each which is really good as production should drop off! The only problem we have had is that at the end of this summer Coffee decided to get broody. This was a problem as when they are broody they don't lay. We had to move her into a 'broody coop' which was a small cage away from Walnut where she couldn't get comfy to nest. We had to take her off the layers pellets and after a week she came out of broodiness and we were able to put her back with Walnut. It was so lovely when we let her into the run again - she ran around flapping her wings and singing! Walnut was happier too! It took another three weeks for her to start laying again, but now she is back to full strength.
|And here they are in a photo taken at the weekend. Coffee is at the back of the photo.|