Saturday, 20 July 2013

Day 2 of Mrs Martha Hen's Egg Hatching Adventure

I'm not sure about where you are in the world but here in Lancashire, the temperature seems to have cooled down, thankfully!

We're on day 2 of Mrs Martha Hen's Egg Hatching Adventure and I must say she's taken to her mothering duties very seriously:

In fact, she doesn't move off those eggs, not to eat or drink.  I've had to put water and food right in front of her so she can reach them whilst led down.  I've also had to section her off, from the rabbits who not only like to sit on top of her box she's sat in and peer down at her, they like to also eat her food!

Today though, I've taken her off the eggs, picked her up and literally had to throw her so she would flap her wings and land on her feet so that she would go and have a walk around and have a well deserved and by the looks of it enjoyed dust bath!  I also wanted to check she hadn't smashed any of her eggs,  she was off them for all of 5 minutes then I put her back in and she got back on them.

In fact, the only issue with the egg hatching adventure so far, is trying to explain to an extremely over excited 6 year old, that we WILL NOT be keeping all of the chicks!! xx


Thursday, 18 July 2013

6 hatching eggs, two rabbits and one very broody Brahma!

Firstly, I must apologies for my absence, but the weather has been just gorgeous that sitting in Blogging has not been on the fore-front of my mind.

Anyhow, this is my rabbit run at home in the back garden:

And normally the only tenants are my rescue rabbits mother and daughter duo Mimi (the daughter):

and Tallulah:

They were in the adoption section of a local pet shop and i couldnt resist them knowing I had space in the back garden for them.  The run was orginally sectioned off to grow veg in and so the dogs couldnt trample my palnts but the soil is useless and full of stones so that area was just going to waste.

So the two rabbits have been living happily together for about 6 weeks now in their new big run, their hutch is always open so they go in and out as they please.

They have a new tenant now though Martha Brahma Hen (to use her full name):

Martha has been reeking havoc down on the allotment lately.  She has been attacking the other hens, she's not been letting the other in the hen house to lay, she's been sitting on laid eggs then attacking me when I try to get them - because she is broody.

Now I've never had to deal with a broody hen before, I tell you what it's hard work!! She's really grouchy and well if im honest like a hormonal female (sorry ladies, but you know it true!) She's become so bad that i've had to take her out of the allotment pen and bring her home so the others can have a bit of peace and are safe.  So shes in with the rabbits.

Now with a broody, there two things you can do (apparently, and its at this point I would like to thank all my chickeny friends who have advised me over the last few days) you can either break the broodiness or give her some eggs.  To break the broodiness from what i can gather you have to bring their body temperature down which means dunking their bum in cold water (I can tell you know Martha is not going to go for this as an idea) and put ice packs wrapped in towels under them in the nesting box, thus bringing their temperature down because if you think about it when they are broody and they are hatching babies they are basically walking incubators.

Now it just so happens that as Martha became broody I've also had the opportunity to extend my run by another 36sq foot, and really would it be the worst thing in the world to have more hens?!!

So this morning I've been and bought some hatching eggs:

I went to a lovely nearby place called Pear Tree Poultry, where a man called Ken couldn't have been more helpful.  Bare in mind I've never hatched eggs before I've only bought them from a day old so I don't really have a clue.  Ken advised me it take 21 days for her to hatch them after which she will probably 'look after' them for about 6 weeks, by which time she'll have had enough.  She can go back to the allotment then and then the chicks have to go under the electric chick heater until about 16 weeks.  He also advised me to get half a dozen because Martha hen might stand on them and break them.  But when I aired my concerns that what if all 6 hatch he said he would happily be able to take some back.  The place itself, well I tell you if you ever need to get hens, ducks, geese etc...  I would consider going that extra mile out of your way to go to Pear Tree Poultry.  Their animal welfare is second to none.  Their hens are kept in great condition and are kept in the biggest spaces.  They are a definite must and I would without a doubt be going back there in the future.

So I've got home put the eggs in a big box for martha hen and I'll let you know how they get on.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The sun is shining

It turns out the chicken proofing of the plants worked well - for about 5 weeks, until the plants grew too big for the hoop and net system! Now the growth is being restricted.  So this weekend I've had to rethink the system and honestly i don't know why i just didn't do this in the first place.  I've ended up putting canes around the beds and attaching netting to that creating a wall like barrier so the chickens cant get in.  The only down side of this is if i want to weed the beds i have to climb into them but i deal with that when it happens.

Last weekend on the allotment we had a community day.  It was really lovely actually we all (I say all, but it was some of us) got together and the allotment community shed and had a plant and seed swap.  A few people made some food and it's so nice to have community down there with like minded people where you can get and share advice.

This weekend the weather has taken a turn and it's just glorious!! The downside to this being the plants are so dry and thirsty, but its a small price to pay.  I got my first ever courgette this weekend too! And Boo picked a couple of strawberries from her bed.

We also planted an apple tree:

And most importantly we've lifted a fair few flag and put then around the chicken pen to stop mr fox from getting in!!

I'm hoping to take my camera over in the next few days so i'll get some good pictures xx