I absolutely love chickens. This love extends to other forms of poultry (especially ducks), but chickens are definitely numero uno in my book.
I’ve wanted to keep some poultry since I was very little (we nearly returned with a number of Indian Runners from the Royal Welsh one year, before my mother changed her mind last minute) and my interest in agriculture definitely began with these wonderful feathered friends.
Unfortunately, to be a poultry farmer requires you to have some seriously big sheds, a lot of high tech equipment and approximately a million chickens, none of which I possess.
While I may lack the fancy equipment and the large sheds to farm chickens on a commercial scale, I wasn’t going to be put off keeping poultry altogether. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that when Iona purchased me a brood of my very own for my birthday this year, she had purchased the greatest birthday present in the history of time!
We picked the birds up a few weeks after moving North and came away with a wonderful speckled Rooster and a gaggle of wee ones from a couple of different breeds. The brood live in our back garden in a fantastic hen house that Iona’s parents bought for me for my birthday. The hen house was made by Solway Recycling, an agricultural waste company based between Castle Douglas and Dumfries. The company take waste farm plastics and transform it into all sorts of fantastic recycled products including garden furniture, stock boards and even pig arks!
The hen house is excellent, has plenty of ventilation and is really easy to clean, so if you’re looking for a good value hen house (or any other animal housing) I would definitely recommend checking out the Solway Recycling website
The wee ones were little more than chicks when we had them, so unfortunately we’re yet to have our first egg, but I’m hopeful that they’ll begin laying in the next month or so.
I’ve been feeding them a corn mix from our local agricultural supplier and that has helped them grow nicely. They were so young when we first had them, they were tiny and we had no idea what were hens and what were roosters! Thankfully the feeding has worked and they’ve nearly quadrupled in size and I think only one of the five wee ones has turned out to be a rooster!
Our feed bin was getting quite low this week so I popped to Tarff Valley yesterday to grab another bag of corn mix. I think this will be the last bag I’ll buy and as we begin to get low, I’ll start to introduce some layers pellets in to the feeder and gradually switch their feed altogether. Hopefully this will coincide with the hens beginning to lay and we’ll have a steady stream of eggs appearing in the nest boxes!
While I’m looking forward to tucking in to our very own home produced eggs, I’m already thinking about purchasing a small incubator in order to keep a few eggs aside for hatching!
You’ll be hearing plenty more about our little brood in the future, so watch this space!