Posts Tagged chickens

Spring chicken thank you

Our guests who have been staying with us for 5 nights commented on how we had a chicken theme going with the crockery, the table mats, the pictures on the wall and some chicken ornaments.  We said “naturally” as we have 24 hens and one cockerel, we liked to keep to a theme.

Our guests really enjoyed their stay and on the last morning presented us with another chicken ornament which they said they just had to buy us when they saw it.  Hence “Spring chicken” has joined the flock. It’s a bit like a Wallace and Gromit figure. What a lovely thank you present!!

If you want to see our chicken collection or even our live chickens then stay with us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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4 new hens

Having had a couple of recent fatalities in the hen run (due to natural causes I hasten to add, no fox treats here), we decided to add to our brood and yesterday purchased 4 new hens from Darren at Manor Fram in Ilminster.

All 4 hens are point-of-lay so not chicks, and we were able to put them in with the flock straight away.

Two hens are known as “Silver Rocks”.  They are mostly black with silver streaks.  Here is Neil holding one.

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Our other two hens are a “Sussex Rocket” which is white with little black and a “Rhode Rock” which is black with a golden bib.  I’m afraid I don’t have pictures of those two as my camera ran out of puff and today whilst it is charged up, it is raining so not a day for pictures.  I’m wondering how our new girls are liking the rain, having been kept in a barn up until now and not having encountered the rain.  We shall have to see how they get on and when they start laying.

Want to see our birds, then come and stay at our B&B.

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Visit to Ferne Animal Sanctuary

On Sunday we dodged the rain to take Neil’s sister Carole to Ferne Animal Sanctuary, where both our pussycats came from. There were some lovely cats there and some adorable kittens that make  you want to take them home with you, but maybe 2 cats is enough!!

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at Ferne

Waddling along the path were some happy ducks.

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The Ducks have a big pond to swim in and several of them were just sitting about by the pond.

The pigs looked content, one of them was wallowing in the mud.

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There is a lovely wooded area where chickens run free and another pond for the geese.

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We stopped for an ice cream to finish the afternoon off and some chickens were pecking at our feet.

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There were also some handsome chicks picking over the grubs on the dung heap!!

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If you want to visit Ferne it is only a couple of miles from our B&B. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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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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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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Goodbye to the Cockerels

Back in August we purchased nine 6 week old chicks from Manor Farm in Ilminster.  The guy there said he could sex them and that he could sell us just pullets, but if any turned out to be cockerels he would swap them for us.  So we looked after them, fed and watered them, and watched as 2 of them turned out to be beautiful cockerels.

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The above chappie is a French Copper Maran.

The other cockerel was a hybrid between a Buff Sussex and a Speckled Sussex.  He was a really handsome chap.

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So yesterday afternoon we took them back and swapped them for 2 Rhode Island Red pullets, which seem to have joined the flock OK.  Here they all are having a feed this afternoon.

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As you can see we have a real mix of hens, from Warrens, Welsummer/Black Rock cross, Buff Sussex, Speckled Sussex, French Copper Marans to name but a few.  We also have a large hen we call “Boots” as she has feathered legs.  We hope she is a hen and not another cockerel.  This was one we hatched from an egg, so we are not quite sure yet, but she is fabulous.

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We think “Boots” is a Brahma which is why she is so big, but the guy at Manor Farm said if they had blue colouring in their feathers they were more likely to be cockerels.  And she has, so we will have to wait and see if she starts doing “Cock a doodle do” or jumping on the other hens.  We also have raised from chicks a cute little Apenzeller cockerel (below) who we call “Ted” as he looks like a Teddy Boy, and 2 really handsome Buff Sussex cockerels – any takers?  We do need to say goodbye to another couple of cockerels.

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It’s all fun in the hen run here determining who is who.  The problem with raising chicks from eggs is that 60% turn out to be cockerels and then you have to find homes for them.  Our cockerels raised from eggs are all pure breeds, so it would be a pity not to find good homes for them.

As regards the egg-laying birds, they are not happy with the shorter day light hours and the cold weather.  We are getting 4 or 5 eggs a day, but out of a total of 26 chickens that’s not really a good average. The people on my egg round are complaining that I’m not selling enough eggs at the moment. I’m hoping that when the days get longer and warmer next year and the chicks come of age we will get a lot more eggs than that.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B for December and all of January.

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

please “like” our facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/LodgehouseBandB

our smart phone friendly website is http://www.lodgehousebandb.tel

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