Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: chickens

Eglu – 13 years on.

The Eglu was the start of a big adventure for me as I ended up with fifty chickens, all bantams, and fifteen ducks, calls and runners. This adventure came to a crashing halt when my son was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I don’t regret a single minute spent caring for Adam and In fact feel very privileged to have spent that time with him and honoured to have been able to help him through, what was for him, a horrendous time. My new chicken venture is to help me through my grief after losing him in February 2016. Life will never be the same for us without him. However, he left me with three wonderful grandchildren, and they are a lasting legacy for which I am truly grateful. They love the chickens and the Eglu is really safe for them to use.

Today I received a refurbishment kit for the Eglu from Omlet. My Eglu was number seventeen off the production line when Omlet, the company, was born. It was delivered by their own chicken bedecked van and assembled in the garden in August 2004. It came with three large fowl, Araucana, which are blue egg layers. The students who designed and produced the chicken house have come a long way since then. I have bought plastic replacements for the originally wooden perching bars, a new green shade and an all weather transparent full cover for the bad weather to come. Other than that, thirteen years later, it is as good as new.

Well, I am a little disappointed as the replacement perches didn’t fit. They looked lovely too. Strong and easy to clean but just not the right size. However the Eglu is back together and looking safe and warm with the two new covers. The five new chickens look happy. They are all small breeds so have plenty of room and I feel confident that they will be warm and dry this winter.

Orpington Bantams

I have decided to sell my chickens so that I can be available to spend more time with Adam. My son Sean and his partner Deb are taking the eglu and four of the smaller chickens to live in their garden. I have advertised the three Orpington Bantams for sale and will be advertising the others soon.

White Faverolles Bantam

Today I have received twelve hatching eggs of the White Faverolles Bantam from Benjamin Shepherd, a breeder from Lancaster. The link to his website is on the sidebar under friends. They will go into the incubator tomorrow along with six replacement eggs of the Buff Plymouth Rock as only one of the first batch of eggs was fertile and the breeder very kindly replaced them. I have bought a ‘Brooder Hen’ from P&T Poultry Supplies. It is an electrically heated plate that hangs above chicks in a broody box to supply them with constant body heat for the first few weeks of life.

White Faverolles BantamPictures courtesy of Benjamin Shepherd

Faverolles originate from the village of Faverolles in Northern France and were created from a mix of several different breeds. They have a broad, square body with small wings, a single upright comb, short neck, a striking beard and muffing. The head is broad and round and the eyes are reddish bay. The pinkish legs are sparsely feathered with the feathering concentrated on the outer toe. They have five toes. They are quiet, friendly, gentle birds that can actually become very affectionate towards their keepers and are an ideal breed for children. They are alert, active birds and the hens make very good broodies and mothers. The hens will actually lay prolifically over winter. They are not good fliers. Information from omlet.com

 

Memory Lane

Yesterday we had a bit of an adventure. We delivered two silkie boys to a lad in Bishops Castle. We had never been there before and the whole journey, including getting lost on the way home, turned into a great day out. We stopped to get our bearings outside a lovely pub where we had a welcome rest, a drink and something to eat before we set off again to get home. We went miles out of our way coming back but saw some lovely places including some hop fields which brought back some good memories from childhood for me. We drove through the Hope Valley which was really beautiful in the Autumn sunshine. We also drove through Church Stretton, a beautiful place and well worth another visit in the future. My son Adam went there once on a field trip from university and I remember that he rang on his mobile to tell me about the wonderful views. He was right too. All in all we had a great day with some laughs and met some really nice people and a little dog called Sophie. Rob leaves for Poland this afternoon so another busy day ahead for us.

 

Lindsay

The 12th is usually a sad day for us all as it is the anniversary of the death of Glenn’s partner Lindsay.

 Along The Road by Robert Browning

I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she
But oh, the things
I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me

Well Done Misty

This morning I sowed seeds of Swede Best Of All in modules as last years crop sown direct was hopeless. I also sowed two 3″ pots with lettuce seeds Iceberg and All The Year Round. I did loads of potting on again and before I knew it the whole morning had disappeared. I seem to have less time now that I am retired than I did before.

Lettuce All The Year RoundLettuce IceburgSwede Best Of AllThis morning I sowed seeds of Swede Best Of All in modules as last years crop sown direct was hopeless. I also sowed two 3″ pots with lettuce seeds Iceberg and All The Year Round. I did loads of potting on again and before I knew it the whole morning had disappeared. I seem to have less time now that I am retired than I did before.

 

The chicks are due to hatch tomorrow and the incubator is due to arrive too. The weather is picking up and I am hoping for a bit of sunshine for the babies. Misty has been a very good broody as her sister Frosty was last year too. They are Silver Sussex and are well known to be good mothers. Her brood will be Bantam Wyandottes. Can’t wait.

Hey Big Spender – RCOM20 Incubator

imagesrcom.jpg

We finally decided to invest in an incubator and went for the RCOM20 from P&T Poultry. Our savings have taken as much of a battering as the allotment this week as we have also bought some plastic tubing and some netting to build a tunnel.

On Tuesday morning I checked on Pecker, who was initially sitting on three duck eggs and six Wyandotte eggs,  and she was down to three intact eggs.  I took the last three from her and popped them under Misty, our other sitting broody. The hatch is due next Tuesday 1st April. The first try we had this year was with some Silkie eggs and the broody ate them and then with what happened with Pecker’s clutch we decided not to risk any more eggs. I have sixteen eggs here now. They are a mix of Silkie and Pekin so we are hoping for more success with the incubator. We popped down to the plots today even though it was blowing a gale down there we managed to dig over a couple of beds ready for planting up.

maroc13027nc5pekin.jpg

 

How could we tire of hope?
– so much is in bud. Denise Levertov

Special Delivery

This morning I have received a special delivery from Royal Mail. Six hatching eggs from Middlemuir Poultry up in Scotland. After a few hours to settle they will be set under Star, one of my white Silkies, in the broody pen. The eggs are a mixture of black, blue and cuckoo Silkie bantams. I have given the pen a good clean up and a coat of creosote substitute and allowed it to dry thoroughly. I have put in a thick layer of beautiful Aubiose bedding so she should be comfortable in there. Now it’s just a matter of making sure she has plenty of food and water, keeping the little run clean and waiting for twenty one days. It is very early in the season but I am optimistic.

(Optimism dashed, my broody ate my hatching eggs.)

http://www.middlemuirpoultry.co.uk  

 

 

Goodbye Ari and Silva

We made a latish visit to the plots in rare January sunshine. The site was deserted as most of the plot holders would have made an early start and have been tucking into their Sunday lunch by the time we drove through the gates. We took most of the seed potatoes down and put them into the small greenhouse inside the lean to. The seed potatoes we hoped would be harvested and on our plates for Christmas are just about pushing through the compost but do look very healthy. I potted up the Blueberry bought from the pound shop. It looks a bit sorry for itself so I’m not expecting great things. It is in ericacious compost and sheltering in the lean to so should be happy enough. At home we sold two of our lavender Araucana hens today to a nice couple from Yorkshire who arrived with their little boy Elliot. One of the good things about keeping chickens is the lovely people you meet along the way.

Poor Violet

Violet was one of our three first chickens and today I noticed she was having problems with one of her legs. She was hopping about on one foot and falling over on to her side. Chickens aren’t too sympathetic when one of their own is sick or infirm. They usually pick on the sick one and so I had to isolate her from the rest of the flock. We hope that rest will put her right. Violet is the one on the right. She is a lavender Araucana and lays beautiful blue eggs. She was born in March 2004 and came to us in August of that year. Update – Violet died on Thursday 27th September 2007. I think she may have suffered from a stroke.