Archive for Chickens

Rat attack

Our hen house has recently been under attack from rats.  We think they can sense the food that is kept in there, although our reserves are kept in the lobby in the house, so it is safe from rats there.

At first they gnawed the side of the door to the hen house, so Neil put a piece of thicker wood across the bottom where they had gnawed through. Two days later they had gnawed above that too.

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So Neil had to add some extra wood up the side of the door, over the gnawed bit.

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As the inside frame had been gnawed too, he then added another piece of wood on the inside.

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We are hoping this will keep the rats at bay, together with the rat poison that we have put by the side of the hen house.  We have put it under some plastic boxes so that no other animal will come across it.  Lets hope this does the trick.

The B&B is now closed for 2 months whilst we have some renovations done, but we are accepting bookings from March onwards.www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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What a whopper!

Our hens are regularly laying 14 or 15 eggs a day, but the other day one laid a real whopper.  that must have hurt!

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When I cracked it open it was a double yolker.

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We don’t get too many of those, so Neil had a bonus for his breakfast, he loves nothing better than fried eggs on toast.

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If you want lovely fresh eggs on toast for breakfast, come to our B&B see

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Flighty hen meets her end

The only hen that we hatched last year (rather than cockerels) was a beautiful bird but a bit flighty.  Several times she jumped out of the hen run.  The other morning I found her running round the outside of the perimeter of the hen run and Neil and I managed to capture her and I clipped her wings again.

Then yesterday Neil went down early morning to let the hens out and told me she was missing.  We searched amongst the fruit bushes and trees outside the hen run, but then we spotted a big pile of feathers by the monkey puzzle tree.  Upon examining them we recognised the pattern on the feathers and that was the end of flighty  hen.  She must have got out again and met a fox or other creature in the night and that was the end of her. Such a shame as she was a lovely looking bird and laid a white egg nearly every day.

In the picture she is the one on the left hand side at the back.

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So now we have one hen less, what a shame.

Mind you we still have lovely fresh eggs for breakfast from our other hens.

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Planting trees and amusing the chickens

Over the past week we have been planting out more fruit trees into what is our small orchard, which currently doubles up as the chicken run. Neil would dig a hole and the chickens would come flocking around to grab the worms and then run off with them, being chased by the other chickens trying to get the worm off her. They were so funny to watch.

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Even when the trees were planted the hens were still milling around picking up the worms.

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Our handsome Apenzeller cockerel who we call “Ted” was crowing loudly, as much as to say to his girls “Come and get the worms!!”

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The chickens were all having a wonderful time pecking the worms and running around.  Glad to provide amusement for them, as they lay us such lovely eggs.

 

 

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Chasing cockerels

Two lovely Rhode Island Red chickens that we got from a local poultry farm have grown up into handsome cockerels. We bought them on the understanding that we could take them back if they turned out to be males, so earlier this week we arranged just that, but of course first we had to catch them.

We have bought ourselves a landing net from a fishing shop.  It is large enough to capture a whole chicken, but of course when they run they are fast, and they definitely know when you are after them and they dodge here and there.  So we had a plan.  We would both get up at 6.45 am and go down to the hen house to let the chickens out as it got light.  But we would do it in a controlled manner and as each of the Rhode Island Reds came down the ramp we would catch them in the net and transfer them to a travelling box.  So I controlled the door and Neil held the net.  This method worked remarkably well and we succeeding in catching both cockerels without having to chase them round the enclosure.

This was somewhat different to the last time we did this when we had to take back a really beautiful French Copper Maran crossed with a Speckled Sussex.

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Here’s Neil with this handsome chappie.  Him we had to chase round and round the enclosure. There are trees in the hen run so of course when you are chasing them they dash from behind one tree to the next and you are always going the other way, so it is quite difficult.

Altogether we have had to take back 5 cockerels.  We also hatched 4, two of which have now gone to new homes and we are left with 2, “Boots” who is a Brahma and has feathered legs and when he runs he looks like he has his hands in his pockets, and “Ted” who is an Appenzeller who has a teddy boy top knot hence his name.  These 2 with the 21 hens we have are having a great time and we have a happy flock of well socialised chickens.  We got 16 eggs today so they are really laying well at the moment, no complaints.

Lots of eggs for our B&B guests.  On Tuesday morning I asked our guests “What colour egg would you like for your breakfast?”  One person chose the blue one and one chose the olive one, and I sold them 6 eggs to take away, so our eggs are popular.

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Who laid the funny little brown egg?

This afternoon we went down to clean the chickens out and we looked in the nest box for the eggs and we saw this multi coloured selection of eggs.

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Amongst the normal range of colours of eggs was this one little olive brown egg -very strange.  We are wondering which hen laid that one.  We do have a couple of French Copper Maran hens that are coming to maturity but they are supposed to lay chocolate brown eggs.  I don’t think this girl had her pantone colour checker out when she laid this one!!  It looks more like it came out of the other end!!  Oh well – I shall put it on the rack and I’m sure when I crack it open it will be the same colour inside!!

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An “egg”traordinary number of eggs

In the storms we have had recently,  one section of roof off the old hen house blew off.  We know that we need to dismantle the old hen house and move it out of the hen enclosure, but the weather has been bad and we haven’t got round to that yet.  Anyway today Neil was feeding the hens and he noticed one come out of the old hen house through the broken roof.  So he had a look inside and lo and behold some of the hens had been laying their eggs in there and this is what he found – 21 eggs!!

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Some of the eggs were still warm, so quite fresh today, but others were stone cold so we aren’t sure how old those eggs are and if they are still edible or not.

The hens have taken to perching on the old hen house, the broken roof is on the other side of the roof in this picture.

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So now we are going to have to check the nest box of the old hen house every day until we take it down. Funny lot these hens!!

We have vacancies in the B&B for February and March, so if you fancy a Winter break please get in touch.

Look us up at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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