Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Chickens

Blossoming May

The first day of Rob’s week off and a busy one. I was awake early first cleaning out the brooding box where the chicks are growing fast. Then watering all the plants still at home and getting those that had to go to the allotment ready for travel. As soon as it was light I was outside feeding the chickens, ducks, cats, rabbits and fish and cleaning them up. Although it was raining the rain was warm and gentle and no problem.

Last week we changed our television and had promised our old one to a friend of ours so after breakfast Rob and Glenn delivered it and Glenn stayed to help set it up while Rob came back and picked me up to go to the plots. We loaded the poo buckets and the plants into the car and spent a few hours down there. We have now planted about 36 runner bean plants and this year have rigged up some fleece protection from the cutting wind that blows across the site. Two courgette plants are in the hot bed and the last butternut squash plant is in place. Rob planted 8 cauliflowers over on plot 18 and the rest are in the lean to waiting for the completion of the tunnel. The potatoes which we set into bags are all doing well with lots of growth and these had to be topped up with compost. I had a little go at the weeds in the flower bed and saw that all the flowers were growing great.

DanielThis is a photograph of Daniel who Rob met on his walk, he is a postman, and who wanted to see the chicks. As the picture shows Daniel had his wish as the chicks made a special visit to see him.

Wet but Warmer

Well the seedlings certainly had a good watering in the early hours of today. The rain was very heavy and temperatures as the morning has progressed are getting better.

chicks012.JPG

The incubation continues well and we now have four silkie chicks in with the two pekins. Still nine eggs left though. I am not sure how long to leave them before I give up on them. It is only day 22 today so I will wait for now.

Final count from 16 eggs on day 23 was six live chicks, 2 pekin, 4 silkie, 2 dead in shell and 8 eggs not developed at all

Wibble Wobble

This afternoon we put in some onion sets given to us by Trevor. I planted the Blue Pansies in front of the shed door and one of the Butternut Squash in the nursery bed. At last we have got the cucumber Carmen settled into the lean to which Rob has repaired and made secure.

Great excitement at home as two of the eggs in the incubator have been wobbling and tweeting and one of them has a definite hole. We have spent more time watching the incubator than we have watching TV and most of the time its just like the telly…nothing on but we still watch. Glenn was even up in the middle of the night checking on progress.

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.)

https://www.middlemuirpoultry.co.uk  

 

 

Silkie Bantam Chicks

The seeds arrived today from Thompson & Morgan and I lost no time in getting one of the cucumber Carmen seeds into a three inch pot, covered it in polythene and sat it on top of the computer for a little heat. (germinated 1st Feb at 5 days). We had to go to B&Q for a new kitchen tap and couldn’t resist a couple of bags of seed potatoes even though we had already got our chosen quota. We went for Foremost and Pentland Javelin, both earlies to try and get the harvest out before the Blight strikes again. We picked up a creosote substitute so I can now have fun doing up my broody pen and buy some hatching eggs ready for the spring. Here are two of the Silkie bantam chicks from last year.

silkie chicks

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.