Breaking up and Breaking out…

| 27th July 2012

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

We’ve realised that we haven’t been living up to our name recently and have been writing about bees, garden shows and the fruit and veg that we are growing here, so this post is all about the hens…!

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‘Free at last!’

This was the cry from both our children, as they have now broken up from school for the summer holidays, and also from all eight of our hens who found a gap in their fence and made a run across the lawn to have a go at scratching up the wood chips on the other side of the garden looking for juicy worms…

Here you can see Barnie, our Barnevelder, who was hatched as a chick last summer under her surrogate mummy, Butternut. She is doing very well and, whilst is a regular escapee, lays beautiful speckled brown eggs most days and has shown no sign of going broody which is a real bonus! Whilst she does like a bit of freedom, she does respond well to me clapping behind her and she trots back to the Eglu Cube and promptly jumps up and back into the ‘henclosure’.

However, as I said, it was not just one hen that was making the most of their new found freedom…

Here you can see Ascot, our Silver Laced Wyandotte, Bunty, our Chocolate Bantam Orpington (one of the other chicks from last year) and Butternut our Buff Orpington. They seem to be scouting round looking for somewhere to hide… will the straw store be comfy for a snooze?

Business as usual

We are so pleased to have a mixture of pure breed and hybrid hens. The pure breed (see some in the pictures above) are so beautiful and those that go broody make great mums for hatching chicks from fertile eggs. The hybrids, on the other hand, are so reliable and we get eggs most days from them. There’s more to the broody cycle than just preparing to hatch chicks and we’ve tried various tricks to break the cycle but the main challenge to a cake lover like me is the significant drop in the number of eggs being laid each day. Fortunately, they’ve all finished their broody cycles (for now) and so the egg count is up again. I collected seven yesterday!

So now we are in the school holidays, there’s more opportunity to catch up on those garden jobs that keep being postponed… Are you planning anything for the next month or so? Leave a comment and tell us how you get on…

Book of the Blog Post: 

Keeping Chickens: The Essential Guide to Enjoying and Getting the Best from Chickens

This was the first chicken book I owned, it was given as a birthday gift the same year that the first girls arrived with their Omlet Eglu Classic and it has the most beautiful pictures to complement the wealth of information about keeping chickens, their day to day requirements, health & care and choosing breeds. This book is a wonderful addition to any coffee table whether you have hens yourself or not.

This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • We’ve started to hear a young cockerel crowing in the morning, but unfortunately don’t know which one it is yet…
  • The old queen bee in the new yellow Beehaus is doing very well and has started laying eggs to build up the population of her new colony
  • We collected some honey last week that had a very distinct taste of next door’s lavender mint; she confirmed that she’s seen our bees around it – so we gave her a small jar!

Jobs for next week:

  • Dig over the compost and turn it from one bin to the other, giving it air to help with the aerobic breakdown and freeing up the old bin to start a new pile
  • Continue to harvest all the red berries and tomatoes before the birds see them
  • Try and find a honey extractor that we can borrow to harvest all that liquid gold!

Have a good week yourself…

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