Saturday, April 26, 2008

Going to be a Mummy....

Some time back when I was a newby blogger I did a post about our garden and about how I was wanting chickens but Moogsdad was very determined that we would not, in fact, keep chickens under any circumstances........whatsoever........ever.......at all.........subject closed.

Get the picture?

I was, therefore, somewhat surprised earlier this evening when the man himself sidled into the living room and proclaimed 'I've been thinking about what we can do with the end of the garden'.

'Yup' I said 'Slab it all over and be done with it'.

'We-ell, not exactly' said he.

'Definately not decking' said I.

'Mmmm, well, how about maybe some chickens?' said my contrary mary husband.

So there you have it. I may be having some babies sometime soon. Once we've gone into the whys and wherefores of backyard poultry husbandry.

Moogsdad said we shouldn't get too attached to them. I couldn't see why not as we'd only be keeping them for eggs. Moogsdad then worried me by saying 'It's easy enough to ring their necks'. (B**ger that!!).

I do have to admit something though.

I'm actually a bit scared of chickens.................................


Any advice would be most gratefully received.

Especially on such weighty matters as where can we get chickens from and which ones are good layers without needing a cockerel to keep them at it?????

xxxxx

31 comments:

Julie said...

OMG Chooks! No way could I despatch a chicken either! I don't know anything about hens but Countryfile has just had a little series about a family embarking on their first garden hens so the BBC website may have some useful links. You can tell I was paying attention can't you......lol

Ali said...

I thought about it, but finally decided not to when I realized how much chicken s*** two children were likely to tread into the house on a daily basis.

Check out the Omlet site - they have oodles of good info. Even if they are posh yuppie type chickens.

Marmadaisy said...

Ah chickies! I love ours, they're so much fun.
1. fox proof the pen
2. they eat lots of scraps and their manure is fab for the garden
3. a cock (!) will discourage foxes, but is only necessary if you want them to breed, they still lay without one
4. dogs (or man's) urine around your garden will stop foxes coming in
5. if they are completely free range, they will TRASH the garden
Other than that, they are EASILY the easiest of our pets to manage

Kaz said...

Hhmmm, eggs yes, killing and plucking nooooooo!!! How would the children cope with eating their pet?!! Lucy is horrified when we tease her about rabbit pie!!

I'm sure Moog would like something to chase (or maybe just look at)!

marit said...

Ohhh, chicken! I'd say yes- do it- we had some a few years back, just for the eggs, they used to go all over the place, and in the winter they stood in the barn door looking at it each other, looking at the snow, yelling and talking to each other and finally deciding to check out thewhite stuff- it was so much fun. And the eggs are delicius!

quinn said...

I enjoy my four hens so much! Raised them up from one-day-old chicks last may. They are Rhode Island Reds, and the "Flock of Four" gives me three lovely brown eggs daily: three are laying; one is "supervising" :)
Here (in New England) I have to protect them from foxes, but also coyotes, raccoons, and hawks - had a hawk fly right into the hen house one day - then it flew out right over my head!
One warning - you may lose a chicken even with the best of care - I started with six, and lost two when they were already grown, and I still don't know why they sickened and died...very sad.
Now I'm on the brink of deciding whether to bring up another batch this year, but am told they'd have to be kept separate
for months from the older birds, so I don't think I can manage it...but I'd love to have the chicks again. What photo opps! I bored my friends silly with photos and, yes, slide shows with plots!
sorry - going on & on - quinn

Calidore said...

Ohh Chooks - lovely little creatures. You don't need a rooster unless you want baby chickens - they will lay quite happily without a male around telling them what to do....vbg. They don't have to roam the yard - keeping them penned is fine - just make sure there is enough room for them. They must be fed daily (funny about that) and have fresh water but that's about it. Throw all your kitchen scraps and prunings from the garden in there - every now and then scrape out their run and put the resulting soil/compost on the garden - the bonus is fantastic growth to your plants. We had a rooster and he didn't keep the fox away - far better to put tin down into the ground around the pen (to prevent said fox from digging under the wire) and put chicken wire on the roof to prevent Mr Fox from climbing over the wire. Apart from that - enjoy. Ohh and chickens are generally more afraid of you than you are of them. As for killing the hens - we did some but honestly it's far easier to buy a chook from the supermarket all ready for the oven - plus you will find that unless you kill them when they are young the meat can be a bit tough.
Hope this helps. love your blog - it's a daily read.

Anonymous said...

I recently bought the British version of Country Life (I live in the Northwest US), and as Julie said, there's quite a bit of information about backyard chickens. There's also a wonderful fold-out poster of different breeds, that I have taped to my closet door. I don't, however, have chickens, since I live in an apt., but when I was a child my grandfather kept banties in the back of his garage, with a little pen in the small back garden. And they scared me to death--all those beaks! They rather appeal to me now, but if you want to laugh about how awful hens can be, try to find a copy of "The Egg and I," by Betty MacDonald. It's an American book from the 40's, and describes a very urban young wife trying to help her husband on a chicken farm. It's very funny. Anyway, good luck,
Kate

Leanne said...

I am green with envy I would love some chooks but we have 2 Jack Russels who would love them also(dead). Molly would not rest until they were no longer. I have no advise on chickens just that I would love to have some.

Wendy said...

I love having chickens. We don't have any at the moment but our chicken's demise wasn't fox but coyote. :( Yes, got to get a sturdy pen, for sure. I know that there was something we fed them where they laid a lot of eggs. I can't remember what it was called but if you have a feed store they should know about it. It had a picture with a chicken on a pile of eggs on the front. Not the corn but they like that too.
Hope that helps some.
Wendy

quiltdude said...

I would love to keep chickens, it's always been a thing of mine. But we have no room here, just a small back yard, and probably the council wouldn't allow it. We can't even keep them on the allotment.
Keep us up to date on developments I'm very inrterested.
xClare

MarmaladeKiss said...

Hi. I am also on the lookout for some new hens but leaving my last remaining to have a graceful retirement first. Try here: http://www.meadowsweetpoultry.co.uk/ Also read this excerpt from the essay "Lily's Chickens" by Barbara Kingsolver (it's what inspired me): http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2005-08-01/Viewpoint.aspx

And also, hybrids lay loads but only for 2 years, then you have another 2 years of not much... traditional breeds don't lay so many but they lay till the end of their lives! Good luck

trashalou said...

the first thing you need is a chicken-tamer's suit. And a whip. Oh, and a chair. Helps keep them back when you take in their premium luxury chicken food (check your local supermarket shelf).

Suggest also an asbestos face guard b/c chickens breath fire you know. Just ask V.C.

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

Now that is very exciting news! I loved having my bantams but had to give them away last year because we had mis-designed (is that a real word) their run so it was too low to get in to clean it - this wasn't a problem when it was bare earth but because a four legged thing (rat) had been digging through the wire netting floor I had to put concrete slabs down to keep him out. If you combine concrete slabs, chicken poop, and warm and wet UK summers you get a very nasty smelly quagmire (and flies) and no access for cleaning!

Not so nice!

We also lost one hen to a fox and I didn't want to risk the others going the same way too.

I wish I still had them - but I would have had to do a massive run-re-structure and just didn't have enough money to do it.

I can't wait to enjoy yours though - get on with it!!!!

Locket xxx

Jane said...

I have seen adverts for chicks available on our journey down to Dorset, Saw some chooks and Cockerel at Heligan and they had their own fenced off paddock which they share with some ducks. In my student days I spent the holidays egg collecting on a small holding. But that was in the days when it was acceptable to have chickens in barns! You could just stand up straight and they had deep sawdust on the floors which we raked out regularly and they also had nest boxes grain & water trays and you had to wear wellies as the hens would peck everything including your feet! I wouldn't do it now but it did earn a few bob Jane x

Gina said...

Ooooh... I'm jealous. I so want chickens but I can't cope with everything I've got to do at the moment without adding something else to look after. But one day!
xx

dottycookie said...

I am SO jealous. We look at the chickens over the road very frequently, and those owned by friends of the girls. Cheerful little creatures - though I have to say the thought of foxes doesn't appeal ...

artisbliss said...

The title of this post about made me faint. I had my last (surprise) baby when I was on the brink of 40 so I know it can happen. Glad it's going to be chickens for you though, as at least they don't keep you up at night! You will post photos, will you not? Also thanks for linking to the mayo recipe. I tried it and it actually worked the first time. Yummo.

Bethany Hissong said...

Wow... I didn't realize how many people want chickens! I learned a lot from reading all the comments! Good luck in deciding ;)

Anonymous said...

You can get 'finished' hens from batteries, and they recover and lay again....usually about 50p each! Takes a month or so for them to grow back their feathers and start to make eggs again...but worth it to demonstrate to the kidlings how horrible the batteries are for the hens....Omlet site very helpful, and a lot of areas have poultry owners clubs....Good luck, I'm sure you'll have fun! (you may never want to eat chicken again!) Fran

Jennie said...

Oohhh I am looking forward to you getting chickens. I have always wanted some but I think I might be a bit scared too, and also we have no space in our tiny concrete yard for chickens, so I shall just have to read about yours instead. That's just as good!

Rachelmp said...

My husband has to move the compost heaps and rebuild the chook sheds before he is able (allowed) to buy some. He does have a short list and books .. he just needs the time. Good luck with yours! Love husband contrary-ness

Cathy said...

I have already got mine planned for when (and if) we move house. I have several friends with them and I poured over the free poster with Country Living trying to decide which ones were prettiest. Good luck with yours - I will watch and learn!!
Cathy X

Leigh said...

I have wanted chickens since Martha displayed her new coop and babies! Check her site, I bet she has loads of info! Good luck, with them. Not the neck wringing but the egg laying part!

I am glad you are doing so well with new your job! I have been thinking about you!

hikebikekayak said...

Make sure you get hens! We thought we had hens and ended up with three roosters and found that out only after being woken up at the crack of dawn every day some months later. My brother and I chased them around and manhandled them...as they got older they came after our toes! So beware!

Gigibird said...

You could get rescued battery birds...it's worth thinking about.

I am very jealous as it is a dream of mine....one day.

Well done - does your husband think it's 'his' idea?

Charlie P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie P said...

Hooray! Chickens! Does this mean you'll have to change your blog name to chickens'mum?
I'm looking forward to meeting Mrs.Locket (and eating cake) but as I said to her it's a bit like meeting the queen. She's blog royalty in my opinion!

p.s. apologies for deleting the previous post- it's late and the words were all muddled :)

LOUISE @ HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS said...

When I say I would love to have chickens, my other half just says, you can't 'ave chickens in our garden. So I guess that's the subject closed! x

Katy said...

OMG - I am so sooooooooooooo jealous. I love chickens, we had them as kids. My brother hatched them at school (when he was 7) and we took them in. Our best one was a fat black hen who lived until she was 11 (and then the Fox got her - poor baby). They were all tame and would come when you called them,a nd jump up for a cuddle. You'll have a fab time!!!

Thimbleanna said...

Oooh, this sounds so exciting! Soon we'll be seeing pretty egg and chicken pictures!