Timothy watches Juanita in the nestbox

I was finishing off the new coop today – I had just mounted the nestbox in its new position on the back wall of the new coop: Timothy was sitting in the coop with me to keep me company, when Juanita came in to lay her egg.

Timothy was fascinated – he could barely contain his excitement but was VERY good and didn’t jump. He was shivering because it was so cold, but he sat still so that he could keep watching her. I got him his jumper for the second and third videos.

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Planning a second enclosure

After the fox came in broad daylight and killed all of the hens in February, the new hens are locked up in the enclosure all the time – unless we are out in the garden with them.  This is clearly less satisfactory than having them completely free in the garden, but for their own safety, is our only option. Continue reading

July 2011 new recruits

In July 2011 we went to Thorne’s Poultry Centre in Letchworth and got four new hens.  We took these photos on their first day with us.

Baby hens - July 2011

Juanita, Annette's Columbine hen

Juanita, Annette's Columbine hen

Black and white Magpie... Whitepie

Black and white Magpie... Whitepie

Whitepie with Tiffany (the black hen with gold necklace)

Whitepie with Tiffany (the black hen with gold necklace)

Whitepie (with Tiffany in front)

Whitepie (with Tiffany in front)

Blackpie and Tiffany

Blackpie and Tiffany

Tiffany and Blackpie

Tiffany and Blackpie

All four hens

All four hens

Blackpie (and Juanita)

Blackpie (and Juanita)

Timothy before seeing the hens

Timothy before seeing the hens

Timothy after seeing the hens

Timothy after seeing the hens

The hens are now called Juanita, Tiffany, Blackpie and Whitepie.  You can see these photos in our Picasa album.

New Hens On The Block

In June 2007 we lost Henrietta and Yoko in quick succession.  Penny and Chelle seemed a bit lost on their own, and we didn’t want them to lose interest in life, and felt that it wouldn’t harm anyone to have a few more hens in the household, so we returned to the same farm from which came the original four, and bought another four.  They weighed around a kilo each.  Continue reading

Spring 2006 – the worst weather for decades

March 2006 was the coldest driest worst weather for decades, apparently. On the first day of spring the garden was as bare as it was in January last year. That said, last summer was rather dismal anyway, for all the warm weeks in March that we had enjoyed.This year’s summer will be good. The crows have built their nest very high up the silver birch in next door’s garden, and there is frog spawn in the middle of the pond. Continue reading

What a whopper!

Throughout 2005, we have had to deal with Penny and sometimes Henrietta being egg-bound. This is when they have difficulty in expelling their eggs. They look and feel very ill and uncomfortable, and it is very distressing all round.

We don’t know very much about the condition, but understand that it is due mainly to a lack of calcium in their diet. This may be part of the reason, but all of our four hens enjoy the same access to the same food, so there has got to be some other factor as well. Continue reading

Inner strength of a hen

During the Spring of 2005, we spent a lot of time in the garden, finished off the aesthetics of the hen enclosure, built a retaining wall around the pond, and hung up a few hanging baskets. The purpose of the wall around the pond was to prevent the hens scratching the earth away from the sides of the pond. As for the hanging baskets – they were so that the hens could not get at the plants.

We had found a few mice in the garden as well, during this time. There was a nest of them long before the hens arrived, so it has nothing to do with food and grain being left out in the garden which might attract rodents. We used safe and humane traps to rid our garden of these mice, but of course, there are always more.

One day, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a small movement inside the enclosure, close to the hen house. Penny, who was also inside the enclosure, noticed the same small movement. My eyesight is not as good as it used to be, so I looked more closely at what it was, in case it would harm Penny. I need not have worried. Continue reading

Will the eggs hatch into chicks?

No, none of our eggs could ever possibly hatch!
If you know your birds from your bees, you’ll know that to create offspring, you need a boy and a girl to meet up. Our four hens are all girls: they all lay eggs. It’s what they do.

We have no rooster: we don’t want babies and we certainly don’t want the noise that a boy hen would create.

While we have only girls, the eggs cannot have been fertilised, so they can never hatch