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Counting my Chickens

A dear friend bought me six little day-old chicks yesterday. They are from a place who hatch out chicks for battery farms etc. They are hybrids - so are ‘auto-sexed’ - only the hens are raised - the poor baby cockerels get thrown into a skip - still alive!!

l have them in a hutch indoors - with two of the old fashioned mop heads suspended from the roof - this gives them somewhere they can cuddle up and keep warm. They have eaten well - over night - and look very perky - so hopefully they will all survive. lt will be some weeks before they are old enough to manage outside in the garden. We have a very large house and covered run for them waiting. l have kept them ‘free-range’ before but lost so many to the fox - even with an electric mesh fence all round the garden. This time they will live in a run with wire roof and floor. But l will let them have run of the garden on days when l am down the garden with them.

They seem very happy - its all ‘chirpy chirpy cheep cheep’ - They don’t know how lucky they are - but for six little hens the future is bright!!

F.

I am an avid hen fan - I have five (was six - but dear old Rachel fell ill and died earlier this year). I fiind my hens very therapeutic and calming - I struggle to walk down the garden but do when I can muster the strength - I am rewarded with lots of excitement and attention every time. I am sure they will have a lovely life in your garden - far better than the horrendous life they would have had. Good luck with them - tell us what their names are going to be in due course…

Oh just meant to add note of caution about wire floor. we had this when we first kept hens to protect against fox incursions. however because hens scratch the ground this was actually a terrible thing - poor Rachel scratched and severed a toe on the wire - nearly bled to death poor girl and had to go to vet for antibiotics. Our wire was under the ground but by scratching the soil they exposed it.

You can underdig the wire vertically outside the run where the hens will not scratch it. Or you could beg steal or borrow some paving slabs and bricks like we did to give them a solid floor that no fox or rats can dig through. We put aubiouse (horse bedding) on our solid floor and change it every two months.

The floor is strong plastic netting- quite a big mesh - strong enough to keep vermin out but large enough for rabbits/hens to enjoy the grass. l can move them onto a clean fresh patch every few days. The run is 16ft long by 4x4 - so plenty of space.

This will be put inside the paddock the ducks are in - with electric mesh around it - Fort Knox!

As soon as they get there adult feathers l shall be naming them - hopefully they will not be identical. The first one to be named is Polly - as she is such a ‘mother hen’. Then Pat as she is also so caring. Then Zelda and Cinderellie - Sorry Steve - can’t call one ‘woblyboy’ -

That leaves two to be named - better wait - mustn’t count my chicks!!!

F.

LOL at all the MS names Francis!!! let’s hope none of the chicks develop any neuro problems

I loved my chooks when I kept them. I also had ducks and they were amazing. They would waddle around the dressage arena when i was teaching and would follow the horses and would do perfect 20 metre circles, diagonla lines across the arena and even pop over the low jumps!!! Dressage Ducks we called them

I dug the wall wire of my run into the earth down to a depth of about 60cm and at an angle of about 45 degrees away from the run to keep the foxes out but they got foxed one night in spite of it. The fox tore the wire away from a corner post and got in that way.

Belinda

oh!

fame at last-i suppose i will be the noisy talkative one! lol i am honoured-thanks!

ellie x

aw thanks frances, i feel honoured to have a chick named after me lol!

i used to keep chickens rescued from a battery farm and they rewarded me with damned good eggs. i even hatched some in an incubator several times. one chick was too weak to break its shell so i helped it out and stayed up all night with it tucked under my armpit! it survived and used to follow me round like a dog. i loved it to bits even though it was a cockeral.

enjoy frances im quite jelous! and make sure zelda behaves herself.

x

My friend had a georgeous hen called omlette.

Pip