Sunday, 22 May 2011

Suspected Roosters

The chicks are getting to that age when they start to develop those tell tale 'Roo' signs. We have some serious suspects right now that we've had our eye on since being little peeps. Could we be right??

Ginger - Erect Tail, Puffed Chest, Thick Legs, Pink Comb
Peggy - Large Chest, Erect Tail, Red Wattles Starting

Matilda - Puffy Chest, Large Size
Matilda - Masculine Features?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saving The Strawberries!

I like to let our chickens out to free range every day as it strikes me the 7ft by 3ft coop/run we currently have is good enough for them to stretch their legs and forrage for most of the day, but nothing beats having a wide open space to potter and flap around in.

Slowly the chooks have been getting used to this free time. The don't tend to go very far, still being a little nervous but they do like to potter about just outside the coop around the paved area and now its the weekend I thought I'd just leave the door open for them and leave them to it ... maybe checking on them every so often etc ...

Well it appears they like the look of my husbands veggy patch and strawberry plants in the borders and therefore free range time now has to be 'fully supervised' incase they should dig up the prised plants. This I find slightly annoying since I feel it has always been obvious to both me and my husband that the chooks would have an inclination to dig and peck around our many plants. But no, the husband is agast at their blatent enthusiam for destroying all his hard work and labour and we therefore need to secure against it.

Sigh, this now means we need to build/buy a run that covers the paved area outside of the coop so that when were at home but not nccesarily watching the chickens we can let them into this extended run and when we are outside or in the conservatory they can then be let out further into the full garden. Just when you think you have everything figured out!

Enough space for 4-8 chickens?
The coop and paved area. Total of 8ft x 8.5ft.
My hubbys veggy patch and strawberry borders.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Chicken Monster

When we picked up our straight run of chicks from the poultry farm we decided to get two standard chickens (Ginger and Molly), for the hubbys sake rather than my own (he wanted 'manly' chickens that lay 'proper' eggs). I figured that they may turn out to be males anyway and therefore might not make the cut, but also if they were girls we could extend the coop a little or accomodate them in some way should more room be needed. I mean ... how big can they get, right?

Me? A Monster?
So we now have Ginger and Molly our two rapidly sprouting 'man chickens' who are slowly dwarfing my little bantams. Molly is pecking and biting chunks out of my fingers whenever she gets the opportunity (she has a serious finger fetish bless her) and Ginger ... well Ginger is a fairly awesome chicken. Very clever, fairly tame and even likes a cuddle now and then. So one out of two isn't bad? ....

Who couldn't love this face!?
Well that was my thinking untill I decided it would be fun to google Gingers breed just to try and gauge how 'big' she is supposedly going to get .... ..... Errm, yes well it turns out Ginger is what one would call a Giant Chicken Monster. Part chicken, part dinosaur, part action hero ...

No-one mentioned at the poultry farm that they were giving away escapees from Jurasic Park ...

*Ahem* ... I guess I better get extending that coop!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Chicken Snuggles

Each day when the sun starts to go down my chooks seem to retreat into their little coop and snuggle up. I guess it is because the temperature is starting to drop with the retreat of the sun and as they are still developing some of their feathers they get a little chilly. It is either that or they just love snuggling :-)

Because of this I have started to put a couple of hot water bottles wrapped in tea towels into the coop at night around 9 pm. At first these strange and bouncy objects were regarded with suspicion. I could tell none of the chooks had sat anywhere near the bottles during the night due to the lack of sawdust and poop adorning the bottles each morning. These days however they chirp happily when I put in the bottles in, transferring them gently one by one to settle on the fluffy warmth.

My one question would be ... is it just me that provides my young chickens hot water bottles? I won't be doing this once they are fully feathered and perching each night however I can't help thinking what my neighbours think when they see me walking to the back of the garden in my PJs and dressing gown with chicken treats and two hot water bottles? Surely if I needed any confirmation of my new 'Mad Chicken Lady' status it would be this??

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mad Chicken Lady? Already!?

Its been around a month now since we bought the chickens. They've grown from week old peeps to six week old chooks and they continue to grow on me every day. It is so rewarding to come home from work and let them out for a wander while I potter about the garden. I'm thinking this strange fondness I have aquired for them has possibly started to manifest itself into some unwelcome side effects.

The first of these is my sudden reluctance to eat chicken. Don't get me wrong, I love the taste of chicken and it makes up most of our home made meals, but suddenly I see 'chicken' on a menu and I get visions of my fluffy chooks waddling around, staring at me with those big black eyes ... me stroking the backs of their fuzzy necks the one minute and then feasting on their little bodies the next. I have still eaten chicken on the odd occasion these last few weeks, not wanting these new irrational thoughts to have any real impact on how I live my life (or my husbands god love him) ... however I don't really enjoy or welcome chicken on my plate with the same ardor as before and I am leaving more and more on my plate. This worries me ... Its not a good sign.

The second annoying side effect is my sudden and avid facination with all things 'chicken'. If I see a mug with a little chicken on it I have this overwhelming urge to point the object out in a very childish fashion to my husband. Of course he humours my sudden enthusiam for our new chooks and has almost embraced this new afliction of mine and even joined in on the odd occasion, but I find the whole thing terribly annoying!

I was in a well known supermarket the other day and they have a new chicken coop type cake and I was so inwardly excited and tempted to buy it simply because it had a chicken on the top that I had to question my own sanity! I manged to refrain from picking one up, rather pointing it out casually to my other half with a excuse in mind that it would be nice if we had guests over however I know in my own mind that I have caught some terrible (possibly incurable?) chicken compusive disorder.

Is it only a matter of time before my desk at work is covered with chicken teddies, ornaments, calendars and mugs and I am suddenly known overnight as the 'mad chicken lady'? Is there any hope?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Growing Up ...

So the chooks are now ranging between 4 - 6 weeks old and finally living outside full time in the new coop. Were still not sure which are roos and therefore which we will be able to keep but we have grown very attached to them all. The silkies are growing in confidence although they are still the most timid of the flock. Molly the Buff Orp (the big yellow one) has started throwing her weight around with me and the husband slightly so were keeping an eye on her. She especially likes giving you a sneaky peck on the fingers when hand feeding, ignoring the food completely while the others tuck in.

At the moment they are just getting used to their new home and while we are letting them free range for short periods we are shutting them up safely after a while to ensure that they are not targetted by predators. Here are a few pictures of them in their new home! Enjoy!

Ginger - (Shamo)

Front: Molly (Buff Orp) - Back: Maisie (Silkie X)

Left: Masie  - Middle: Dolly (Silkie X)


Front: Suzy (Silkie)

Left: Ginger - Middle: Matilda (Silkie X) - Right: Suzy - Back: Daisy (Silkie X)


 Left: Suzy - Right: Matilda

 Left: Dolly - Right: Molly

 Left: Matilda - Right: Maisie


 Peggy (Polish)