After the death of two hens in early March and egg numbers, almost none existent, I felt it was time to increase our flock numbers again.
The two that passed away were hybrid hens – the two red hens in the above image. Known to be great layers (with hilarious personalities) these hens are bred for the sole purpose to lay. Often all through winter too. But sadly with tendency to lay themselves to death. I won’t go into the details but I could see it happening and tried my best to nurse them back to good health but it was inevitable. Both died within two weeks of each other.
I waited a few weeks to make sure no others were sick, before deciding to bring in new layers. What breed of hen to get this time? I knew I wouldn’t be buying hybrid hens again. Oh the decisions…. I decided upon Bantams. Small, quiet and kid friendly. Also I could have more of them!
Now for a little plug to a local business, Ornamental Poultry. Situated at Zimms Corner. Oh what a range they have! At our visit they had a lovely range of Pekin and Silky Bantams. We picked out a black Silky, a black Pekin and a splash Pekin. Tiny bits of fluff who should begin laying within the month. If I had room I would have also picked out a few Light Sussex, a few more ducks and maybe guinea fowl too.
Now 4 days later the ‘new girls’ are looking rather ‘at home.’ Happily scratching in the dirt and enjoying the sunshine. Now for those eggs…
No we haven’t lost any chooks.
Its just moulting time.
It started with the duck, she was smart and only lost a few.
Then onto a Golden Lace Wyandotte.
Then Big Red and now the other GLW. The last two are almost bald. I can see bits of skin and they have no tail feathers!
Do you think they know it might be a really cold winter?
Opponents? Me vs. the Chickens.
The Battleground? The vegetable gardens
Winner of Round Two? ME!
It is hard to see it in these photos (dang cloudy days…) but I have covered the beds in 5cm netting wire. As the wire naturally wants to curl back up, it is easy to cut lengths and loop it over the width of a bed. Since doing this a week ago, it appears the girls can no longer access the gardens for a digging frenzy. Oh yeah!
Now what to do once the tomatoes grow higher than the wire cover? Maybe more of these?
One day in the garden and the girls have left little or in some cases rather large landmines everywhere. Including right outside the back door. Yep of course I stood on it!
There are boy boys in this house too. They go barefoot in our yard and if they step on a fresh poo, they just find the nearest long grass or a stick and wipe it off! (much to their Grandmas Shock!) I love that they have chicken friends, catch lizards and worms. Keep snails and slugs for pets. And play in mud and dig holes just for the hell of it.
the girls have been busy, everyone is laying at the moment!
6 a day…. 42 a week
and us are all feasting on fresh eggs
While the girls were out on their afternoon stroll, I let the duck out of her temporary home and into the wire palace.
Being a duck I assumed she would enjoy a paddle in some water.
Do you think she is enjoying herself?
Tonight she is spending her first night in the wire palace. Much to the terror of the chooks. Apparently they do not like ducks. Which is sad as the duck likes them. In the last of the afternoon sunlight they were all going around and around the pen, chooks in the front and the duck in the rear.
I am hoping at sunrise we won’t be woken up by chooks freaking out at the sight of the duck!
N.B I haven’t managed to find her owner yet….. were still looking
Most people would find a stray dog or maybe even a kitten. But me?
What is it about me that attracts lost poultry?
Seriously Wednesday morning a stray duck appeared in our yard. After a quick google I think its a she muscovy. And heck it can fly. A 6ft fence is nothing. So currently she is residing in the old guniea pig house, as the chooks did not like the sight of a duck in, near or around their pen.
She wags her tail at the sight of clean water and a fresh lettuce from the garden. And mutters a sweet ducky quack when she is given grain. (Muscovies don’t quack) Obviously a loved pet.
So what to do? For now she is safe and I will try to find her owner.
Otherwise how hard is it to keep a duck? Any advice is welcome