smallholderwannabe

This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hens, mainly

Update on the last post: I've still got 6 of the 10 spring onions in my bunch doing well after almost 4 weeks so I count this as a success.

It has been a funny old week.  One evening we forgot to bring the hens' water in and everything was frozen absolutely solid in the morning.  It is no fun trying to thaw out a 2 gallon icecube with 5 other smaller icecubes (plus the rabbits' water bottle) while trying not to be late for school.  We didn't make that mistake a second time! Last night was warmer so we didn't have this rigmarole this morning and it seemed soooo much easier to get ready for school.  But the weather forecast for next week is cold again : (   I'm just hoping that the forecast is a couple of degrees out this far in advance.

 It is so good to have it light enough in the evenings to be able to see the hens when I get in from school.  I enjoy watching them as I'm sure you've gathered by now. However, when we were away at half term, the main group of layers took against the hen that is bottom of the pecking order.  They had all ganged up on her and pulled most of her feathers out and stopped her getting to the food and water.  My husband made their run and constructed it so that you can section off a strip across it.  That way, the hen that is taken out of the flock is safe but is still there to see and be seen and hopefully remains part of the flock.  She has a little box on end for shelter and her own food and water and her feathers are now starting to grow back.  After dark, we put her back in the house with the others for warmth and take her back out first thing in the morning. The first week she was on her own, when I tossed in some mixed corn, she was frightened to go and eat it if it fell near to the dividing wire partition.  I didn't like seeing her that frightened of the others.  Now she will go and eat it if the others are not close by.  She doesn't seem ill in any way and it has been almost four weeks now so I don't understand why this happened.  If I can't reintegrate her, once fully feathered, then I will have a Problem deciding what to do with her.  I'd wondered about taking out the two that are top of the pecking order for a bit so that the order is all upset and seeing if that helped.  We'll see.

Most of the hens are picking up on the number of eggs they are laying per week except for the second oldest pair, who are Warrens, and they have laid just one egg between them this year.  I still check their nest box every day, just in case, but I'm not holding out much hope.  I think they have probably already laid all the eggs they have to lay in their lifetime - just my pets now and the sale of eggs from the others helps towards feeding them.

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1 Comments:

  • At 6:53 AM, Blogger Frugal Queen said…

    Hi Jo - I love reading about your hens, I hope you are getting better weather than us, we've been battered with wind and rain! I'm on Radio Cornwall tomorrow, with Tracy Wilson on her morning programme and we'll be discussing make do and mend as an anecdote to our throw away society! It you have anything to share or thoughts on waste then it would be lovely if you could email on to Tracy.Wilson@bbc.co.uk - Thanks Jane/Froogs xxxx

     

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