By Halves' Chicken Diary!

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By Halves
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By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

Well this seems to be starting a little earlier than planned and I hope it won't be bad luck starting the diary before the chicks arrive...

I was intending to be very sensible and wait until after I'd moved and built a proper setup to get any chickens but it seems my daughter and her partner have had some sort of falling out and the upshot is that I'm going to adopt their two Welsummer chicks. I think they are about 5 weeks old and when I first saw them I could tell that one was definitely female as she had very well defined "eyeliner". The other was larger but I don't know if that's because it's male or it's just a little bit older than the first but I read the male comb becomes obvious early in this breed so I expect I'll know soon.

I've ordered an ark for them which looks sturdy >fi< and can be a quarantine house in future and having read about the problems of wooden housing I'll put a couple of coats of waterbased gloss on the inside before I assemble it. I'll be siting it on concrete for the time being, partly not to ruin the "lawn" for buyers and partly because when the winter rain gets going it turns into a weedy bog anyway so I need to sort out some wood chippings or something to put on the floor of the run.

I've read so much about chickens for the last few months that I thought I must know everything but now it's going to happen I'm starting to worry about not knowing nearly enough! Things keep popping into my head that I'm not sure about so I already have a couple of questions to ask:

At what age do the chicks start to use a perch and should I provide them with a nesting box full of bedding to snuggle up in until they get big enough?

I read growers' food is from 8 weeks so would it be a problem if they start having it a bit early or would it be better to get chick food and give it for longer?

TIA!

I'm very excited at the moment and I bet I'll come up with more questions soon {rofwl}
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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KarenE
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by KarenE »

Hi Annie

Welcome to the diary section, and welcome to the wonderful mad world of chicken keeping. You will wonder how you managed without them soon enough!

Great that you've started a diary, we do love a new diary to read up on )t' and it's a brilliant way of keeping a record of your chicken life. I love going back and re-reading mine as it reminds me of all the things got up to with my girls, and is a lovely record to remember those girls who are no longer with us.

Not that you need to worry about that, as you're starting off with some very young youngsters! I can't help as I've never had chicks - I'm an ex batt rehomer myself (with the exception of 2 posh-ish girls who snuck their way into my setup) so hopefully someone will be along soon to answer your questions. I would have thought though to keep them ion chick crumb for now and move them onto growers later - it may be the mix of minerals in growers might be too much for their age quite yet. That's certainly the case with moving from growers to layers pellets.

As for perching don't know to be honest, but yes I would provide snuggly bedding as you suggest. The chicks will need something to keep them warm - are they feathered do you know? They may even need a bit of help keeping warm - some people keep a light bulb near for a source of warmth. Have a search through the forums, there will be more info on raising chicks (check out kitla's diary too, she raises chicks) You may find that even when they are fully grown, they prefer to sleep in a nestbox rather than perch. Mine do, even the non ex batts.

Looking forward to your next installment!
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
Librarychick
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by Librarychick »

Hi there. Just to say welcome. I am a beginner so not able to give advice - just encouragement. I have two hybrids - in a wooden house >shrug< and covered run. I am looking forward to your diary. >gl<
Regards Librarychick, Bluebell and Ginger >ch< +f+
Librarychick, Bluebell & Ginger
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

We thought we were getting the chicks today but sadly not. My daughter's neighbour had offered to hold them for her until I had everything ready for them but then he realised they were too little to put in with his big girls so he took them to his friend's farm from where he will have to retrieve them. My daughter only found this out when he got home from work at 8.00pm so we spent all day being excited only to be let down with a bump. I'm hoping it won't be too long until he can get them back but if he regularly works that late it might be a while {cry}

My son's upset that the poor little things will be all confused about whether they're coming or going and I agree that it must be pretty stressful for them being passed around from pillar to post like that. I hope they're going to be OK when they finally arrive.

And thank you for the encouragement above! I'm hoping to be able to rehome some ex commercial girls sometime too Karen. It sounds as if they sometimes need quite a bit of extra care so maybe it will be good to get a little bit of general chicken experience first. When they turn up...
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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PixieDust
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by PixieDust »

Hi there.

I am also thinking of starting my chicken diary early. Mine don't arrive til 15th November :?

Can't wait to see photos and hear your news.
4 Girls Arrive 15th November 2014
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

Oh yes do Pixiedust, it will help pass the time until you get them! It sounds as if you've done lots of work on your setup so you can show us some photos of that in the meantime.

I must remember to charge up my camera so I can take lots of photos when the chicks arrive. And then hide it so DD2 doesn't run it down back again {rofwl}
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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sandy
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by sandy »

)piicy( of your henny home. I have never had 'babies' but all girls like to get up high, as for sleeping some prefer a perch others a nestbox as you will soon find out they all have their own little character traits
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Blossom,Merle-Oberon Cyd-Charisse,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Myfawny ,Monica-Rose
The Peds…Suranne,Jennifer,Nancy,
Vorky Blueped,Ginger,Ninger &Linky

Sunny Clucker was ere July 12-21 2012
Sunny Clucker was ere July 6 2016 to Sept 9th 2017
Sunny Clucker is here , rehomed Aug 18th 2018/
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

I was sort of expecting it when I heard the chicks had gone elsewhere but the neighbour has now owned up that he's not sure if he can get them back for me }hairout{ So as I've got all the equipment already paid for I've decided to have a look around and see what if anything might be available/suitable locally...
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

I've been talking to a local smallholder that has a small poultry business. He hasn't got many chickens available at the moment as it's late in the season so his list was:

Rhode Island Red chicks about 7 weeks old;
Old English Game Bantams;
Some other bantams that he couldn't recall the name of which are coming into lay but he had Pekins on the faceache page a couple of months ago so possibly those
plus Brown layers.

I think I might go and see him about a couple of bantams which might be more suitable while there's not much space for them before we move and maybe they could hatch some Welsummers for me next year when there's a proper run built.
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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KarenE
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by KarenE »

Hi

Sorry to hear you're chicks have been kidnapped - what a cheek! Yes, go get some, no point in waiting. if you want eggs though you're better getting point-of-lay birds, possibly with chicks you may not get any till next year as they may not lay through the winter when they do reach point of lay. I'm no expert in chicks though!

Don't worry about ex batties, they are very hardy girls and you really don't need any special chicken experience to have them. I started out with batties and they're brilliant. You learn as you go, just like you do with non commercial chickens, and there's always tons of advice on here.

So basically - go and get some ex batts, they'll love you forever for it :-D
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

So this morning I put the ark together with the coop bit all painted inside. It was very straightforward apart from the bit where I was wondering how on earth I could put the last two screws in without crawling inside the run but then I managed to tip the whole thing over onto one side and then roll it back upright again.

In between all that I kept trying to ring the guy about the bantams but kept getting straight through to answerphone. After about four tries I steeled myself to leave him a message (I hate those things) and he picked up! An hour later I met him outside his smallholding and he had the bantams he couldn't remember the breed of in a pet cage in the back of his van. There were four girls and one very fine looking boy but I managed to keep my head and came away with three girls. Now I need to find out what type they are...

Angel and Rainbow named by DD2 and DS respectively:
Image

As yet unnamed:
Image

Close up of Angel taken by DS:
Image

Any guesses from my lovely chickeny friends?

The guy said 15 weeks old so not too far off lay I think. Rainbow was doing a lot of chattering and trying out the nest box (cat litter tray full of bedding) several times this evening.

As you can see in the pics I haven't got the woodchips for the run yet so all they've got in the bottom is some green clippings (which happen to be bay) and a branch from my twisted hazel to perch on. I've rather run out of spare money after all the other chicken stuff so I've been looking round the garden wondering what else I can improvise with.

Amusingly the girls have ignored the perch I made for them and appear to have decided to roost on the branch in the run instead. I assume it's OK for them to do that? Having assembled and attempted to lift the coop I can't see how anything could possibly get in there. It's one of these:
http://www.jimvysearks.co.uk/chicken-ar ... andard-ark" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Does that look OK?
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

After much googling the nearest photos I've found are of Barbu De Watermael >shrug<

I can hear it's been raining again and am now wondering if the girls are still outside getting wet and hoping they're OK.

Not sure where the torch is since all this ruddy decluttering...
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx
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Mo
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by Mo »

Pretty colouring.
I guess from the size of the comb that you'll have a few weeks to wait for eggs. But it will be worth it.
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
Sunny Clucker enjoyed Folk music and song in mid-Cheshire
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KarenE
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by KarenE »

Lovely girls! Hope you didn't plan to get anything done from now on as you will lose all your hours to chicken watching!

How about Midnight for As Yet Unnamed?

For the floor of the run, you could stick soil and/or sand down, or straw if you've got enough (although that goes mushy after a while). Stick a load of leaves in, they'll love to scratch around in that.

Contact some local tree surgeons, see if you can get some woodchips off them for free. Some are happy to give them away.
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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By Halves
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Re: By Halves' Chicken Diary!

Post by By Halves »

Don't worry Karen, I'll still get lots done. There will be plenty of time when it's raining too hard to be out watching them and the garden needs sorting out anyway when it's not raining {rofwl}

As yet unnamed is more a silvery grey colour than a midnight, but those two ideas next to each other give me half an idea of a line to think along.

I did wonder about straw in the run as I've actually got some but I thought it might not hold up well in the wet. Maybe I'll try it mixed with soil and clippings and leaves for a bit as I suppose the worst that can happen is having to put it in the compost sooner rather than later. I was thinking maybe in the future I should try and get hold of a secondhand garden shredder.

I realised that the reason they wanted to roost outside is that their perching branch was a lot higher than the inside perch that I'd made for them so I unscrewed it from the base and put cup hooks in it and have suspended it in the coop slightly higher than their branch. I don't know if they're using it though as I'm at my OH's tonight and they'll have got up by the time I pop up there to feed them and the cat when I return my granddaughter to her Mum tomorrow. If they aren't sleeping on the perch on Monday night I'll take the branch out for a couple of nights to give them the hint!
~ Annie

Two little kids, one big one and two grandchildren
Spongebob the cat on steroids and Gus who doesn't like him; silly Kittles and sensible Rags
lovely bantam girl Phoebe
and retired working girls: Florence, Miss McCluck and Mrs Brown

RIP little Rainbow and beautiful Angel xxx

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