Operation Chicken Run!

Start your own thread and let us follow you through the year
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

So I decided to have chickens again. I took on a second plot for that purpose. This is what it looked like in June last year:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/g0Z34X

And this is what some of my chicks looked like at the time!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/D9jg89

For a coop, I went with an 8X6' shed which I painted green so that it blended in with its surroundings more. It sits nicely between two large mature fruit trees, offering some great shade for them in the Summer months. Two windows are fixed but two are just covered with rabbit wire, so that they keep a good air flow:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/g4G6o6

Meanwhile, the chicks hatched. The first is of Lady Einstein (Crested Cream Legbar}. The other is of her sister 'Vicky' (Silver Pencilled Plymouth Rock) - both at one day old.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/Uf556M

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/036632

It never ceases to amaze me just how fast they grow. The first picture is of Lady Einstein one week later and the second picture is of Vicky at three weeks old.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/MDA410

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/3158gS

So anyway, back to the plot (get it?!).... I opted for a Heras fence perimeter with gate for their enclosure. The lower layer was fox-proofed. Bird netting was secured over the top at a later stage and some shade netting was added to part of the perimeter. We do have resident foxes but they haven't even tried to get in. I also treated myself to an automatic pop hole opener fitted. This is because they do get up very early in the Summer mornings and I like my bed! Also, they are not in my back garden, so it was a cost that made sense.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/aiR3R3

Finally, the ladies were allowed in:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/275R51

More pictures to come but I do hope you found these interesting. I need to take some of them now that they are grown - especially Harvey!
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
User avatar
Mo
Legendary Laner
Posts: 14719
Joined: 30 Apr 2007, 09:39
Location: Cheshire (nr Chester)

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Mo »

Well, you obviously know what you want and have set things up properly from the start.
Don't they change as they grow.
I've only had them from Point-of-Lay (though some turned out to be younger than that).
Remember my Grandma getting day-olds though, when I was 7 and we lived with her.
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
Sunny Clucker enjoyed Folk music and song in mid-Cheshire
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

I love baby chicks but I don't much care for the amount of poop and noise the create! They are just like human babies: eat, sleep, poop, cry. When they are awake, they do not cease chirping. Their instincts are fascinating, though they seemed to think I was Mum. One in particular was not satisfied until she could hop onto my hand, run up my arm to my shoulder, where she would either roost or, would nestle underneath my hair (after re-arranging it of course!) Yes, the change as they grow is remarkable.
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
Cheshire Chick
Longlasting Laner
Posts: 849
Joined: 12 Jan 2017, 11:51

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Cheshire Chick »

Fabulous set-up! The photo's are really good and the chicks are amazing. Be interesting to see what they look like now.
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

Thanks! Though it doesn't look like that at the moment. They've eaten all the grass and with the wet weather, the ground has turned into one big mud patch! They are happy and healthy though.

My only concern is the muddy ground and of course, the dirty puddles that form after a heavy downpour which they just LOVE to drink. I've been putting down Stalosan F and Nettex Ground Sanitiser. The combination works well for drying up the area and cutting down the ground nasties. The Nettex smells fabulous too. Though I've finally come to the conclusion that I will have to go with some wood chippings, at least for the worst areas. I'd love them to have some grass but they eat it before it gets chance to grow.

So I'm wondering, especially with the bird flu situation, what others are using for cleaning and general hygiene? My flock are not locked in, they are allowed to free range in their enclosure, but I don't keep water or feed outside and it is netted over. Like i say, the two combination mix above seems to be a welcome precaution.
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
User avatar
Mo
Legendary Laner
Posts: 14719
Joined: 30 Apr 2007, 09:39
Location: Cheshire (nr Chester)

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Mo »

We've all found that the grass doesn't last long. I tried a flocknet with an ark inside, but moving it every week was a job as it was in the orchard. And though they didn't destroy all the grass they dug dust baths. Plus a 4' fence is not tall enough (there's often one that will hop over) or fox-proof.
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
Sunny Clucker enjoyed Folk music and song in mid-Cheshire
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

Yep, it is so frustrating! I used to keep the movable ones too, as breeding pens. Agreed, such a pain to move them around! I've some woodchip arriving on Friday so guess that's my weekend sorted then. I've emailed our allotment secretary though. We do have some grassy areas dotted about the place and I have an Omlet run. A possible option for now would be some supervised playtime every now and then. I'm also considering partitioning the inside of the enclosure into two halves so that I can rotate them. But that's more time and expense! I might sit on that idea for now and just continue with the treats of spring greens. :)
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
User avatar
Mo
Legendary Laner
Posts: 14719
Joined: 30 Apr 2007, 09:39
Location: Cheshire (nr Chester)

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Mo »

Yes, extra expense. The Omlet electrifiable net advertised on here is £90 for 12 metres. (I assume that doen't include the energiser). But you can also get non- electric for less 25m £57.
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
Sunny Clucker enjoyed Folk music and song in mid-Cheshire
Trev62
Longlasting Laner
Posts: 757
Joined: 04 Jul 2016, 19:03
Gender: Male
Location: Bulgaria

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Trev62 »

Nice photos and a good set up, even a novice like me can spot that you know what you are doing. Good luck and hope everything keeps going well for you and your flock. )t'
"Not all those who wander are lost"
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

Boys Wil Be Boys

So I will post some pictures of my flock soon but in the meantime, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and tell you about some of my previous boys.

Here they are:
(Top Row: Left to Right) 'Bear' (Blue Partridge Brahma) and 'George' (Blue Orpington). (Middle Row: Left to Right) 'Lord Byron' at the rear, 'Denis' and 'Margaret' in front (Indian Runner ducks) and in the second picture, 'Little Man' (Citrus Millefleur Sabelpoot) who is standing on the left in the background (one of his hens centre)
(Bottom Row: Left to Right) Chamois Poland posing and the lot of them strutting their stuff!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/gr44s2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Bear was gifted to me and my daughters by a breeder. He was a Blue Partridge Brahma, making him the biggest chicken breed you can get. Once he matured, he stood about half a metre high and was about 2 ft in depth. We named him Bear because he couldn't quite crow properly. When he did, he sounded like a Steiff teddy bear. Because of his size, he scared some visitors but in fact, he was a big softie. Every morning, once I'd done my rounds of letting everyone out, sorting out food and water, I would go and sit on my patio with a coffee. Bear would always come round and sit on my lap for a chat and a cuddle along with issuing his morning report on events in the coop the previous night. The best bit was when I let him and his girls out in the mornings. As always, he would be the first one out. You can see from the picture that his legs were blue. He would stand on the spot outside the pop hole, stamping excitedly on the spot. He looked like he was wearing a pair of little blue trousers. I could almost make up a dialogue that was taking place inside the coop amongst the ladies. "You go first", "No you go first", "Damn it, out of the way, I'm making a run for it!"....it would usually be the second one out that would get caught for some morning hanky-panky. +f+

George was still a big bird, but nowhere near as big as Bear. George was very well behaved with me but was mightily jealous of Bear and his harem. Although George had his own harem, he envied Bear's. Due to this, George was always up for a scrap. However, Bear was a big girl's blouse. What would often happen would be that George would spot Bear and start running at him. Bear would panic and run off. A game of chase would ensue whereby they would do laps of our house until George had worn himself out. I would come out and sternly say, 'what do you two think you are doing?', to which they would both stop in their tracks and start scratching the soil or something while trying to look innocent.

At some point during the morning, a similar situation would occur with Lord Byron. Unlike Denis and Margaret, Lord Byron didn't have a mate. He did once but she went for a walk and I think that she must have met up with Mr Fox on her travels because she never returned. This led to LB taking a shining to one of my hens. I have to say, there is nothing more comical than sitting on your patio, hearing frenzied quacking to be followed by the sight of a hen being pursued by an amorous duck! What is more comical, is seeing a duck trying to mount a hen! If she was quick enough, she'd make it to me and jump up on the table or my lap for safety.

I didn't mention the geese! I kept a couple of Roman geese assuming that they would act as guard geese but they really were not interested in doing so. They were quite large too. With all of them, they would not hurt a fly.

The Polands were complete nutters. They rarely shut up and behaved more like parrots than hens. But they were a sight to be had! They are easily tamed and this is largely because you can walk over and pick them up, as they can't see you coming! :)

But out of all of them, the one to watch was Little Man. Standing at a ferocious 9 inches tall!! He is off to the left in the picture. I kid you not, I have seen that little one see grown men off my property! {rofwl} He was completely fearless, taking on bicycles, ankles and even had a go at a tractor. A neighbour came to do the feeders/drinkers for me while I was away for a few days. I warned her and did shut him in his enclosure. But she would still have to enter, armed with a broom. He would go for her because a) he didn't recognise her as a family member and b) he thought he was protecting his harem. My neighbour would use the broom with one hand to shoo him away while collecting the eggs or taking the water in with another. What that bird lacked in size he made up for in character. No prizes for working out where his name came from.

One thing is for sure. There was never a dull moment to be had. :)
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
stripeddonkey
Lively Laner
Posts: 218
Joined: 20 Feb 2017, 14:47
Gender: Female

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by stripeddonkey »

Minxy, what a lovely place you have and you describe your feathered friends wonderfully.
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

Aw, thanks stripeddonkey and Trev62!

So finally, I snapped a couple of my boy Harvey this morning. He's a Silver Pencilled Plymouth Rock, every bit the gentleman and we love him. :)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/93527b
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

My Salmon Faverolles

All of my birds are looking quite scruffy at the moment due to all the rain we've had, so please excuse their appearance!

I didn't get them all, but here are a few anyway. Of all the breeds I have (or have had in the past) I think that this one is the most affectionate. They originate from France and remind me of polite little old ladies in petticoats! A very docile breed, they are especially good with children. We hand-reared these three and they are by far the friendliest in this group. When I go into their enclosure, they will follow me everywhere. If I squat down or sit on a chair in there (or my girls do) all three will jump up for a cuddle. They are yet to start laying due to being the babies in the group, hatching out three weeks after the rest.

We actually haven't named them and should probably give some thought to doing so. My girls like to name the birds but they often don't settle on a name! I wanted to name them all after flowers but the girls disagree. :(

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/uj12r8
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
Cheshire Chick
Longlasting Laner
Posts: 849
Joined: 12 Jan 2017, 11:51

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Cheshire Chick »

You really do have a lovely place - I feel quite envious. Have enjoyed reading about your birds and the photo's are great.
User avatar
Minxy
Lively Laner
Posts: 104
Joined: 22 May 2016, 22:45
Gender: Female
Location: Bromley, Kent

Re: Operation Chicken Run!

Post by Minxy »

Coloured Eggs and Leghorns

So I snapped this one of 'Lady Gaga' (I didn't name her!) this morning. Or as one of my daughters likes to sing when she sees her, "Ra, ra, om-pa-pa; my eggs are ooh-la-la"!

She is a white leghorn. A pure breed, these are prolific layers, known for producing approximately 300 white eggs, though some can produce 330. They are quite hardy and good at foraging but are flighty. If you want a cuddly bird, this one isn't it! I have two which I bought in at P.O.L. late Summer last year, so that we had some eggs while waiting for my birds to mature. One laid during the car journey home! They are living up to their reputation as, aside from two days in early December, they have continued to lay right through. They both give me 7 eggs each a week and one of them is laying extra large ones, which is quite astonishing given that they are quite slender birds. I've also posted a picture of the colours I'm getting coming through on the eggs (generally). I have one more colour yet to appear which is more towards the cream shade. :)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148378394 ... res/m26tA0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
Post Reply