Lay a little egg for me! I’ve got chickens!! Their names are Tallulah and Blousey and they are lovely.
My husband bought me the hen house from e-bay for £150 for my birthday and we’ve been trying since then to find a couple of hens to buy. You’d think it would be easy; but it’s not at all. There is Pylle Happy Landings Animal Shelter near us, and they take ex-battery hens, but they don’t have any at the moment. The only other places I found online or in the local paper were at least 25 miles away. At last, a friend found me the contact details of Hookin & Son poultry farmers in Gillingham, which was still over half an hour away, but the nearest place we could find. So last Saturday, we drove down and bought two Warrens at point of lay for £6 each.
I’m not sure if I’d recommend this place or not as I’m not a farmer, or know anything about chickens, but they didn’t seem to be living in the best of conditions. There were about 15 hens to a coop about 2 metres square, and apart from their laying boxes, they only had wire netting to walk on. They were, at least kept off the ground to foxes can’t get in, but they were terrorised by three dogs who thought it was a great game to jump up at the chickens to make them panic.
Perhaps it’s no wonder that Tallulah and Blousey were very scared of me when I brought them home. The day after though, they seemed much calmer and relaxed and let me sort out their food without trying to flap away. My book, Chickens for beginners says that they are best kept in their house for a week to begin with, so they don’t try and fly home. This gives me chance to sort out a fence so they can wonder a small area in the lower garden. My mother-in-law (who has kept chickens before) came last week and was meant to be be helping me clip their wings so they can’t fly away. It turned out though, she’d never done it before, and when we picked up Tallulah to do it, we couldn’t bring ourselves to! I know it’s silly – it’s meant to be just like clipping toe-nails and not painful at all, but still. It does mean though, that they will have to wait a bit longer to roam. I’ll have to buy a different roll of chicken wire that’s taller than what we already had.
They seem very happy. On Monday last week I found my first egg! I couldn’t believe it – I nearly cried! It was tiny and cute and is now in the fridge because I haven’t wanted to eat it! They haven’t laid any since though, but when they do, I shall celebrate by making a chocolate cake with them. (With the eggs; not the chickens).