The Chickens have arrived!
The girls are here! I got them from Jacqui at Clover Park Poultry (www.cherokeealpacas.co.uk) over at Saltash and she was wonderfully helpful especially with me being a chicken virgin! She has a good selection of birds and it was quite difficult to choose which ones to take home. Eventually I went for 4 bantams and two normal sized hens all at point of lay. The fun started when I had to catch my chosen chickens and put them into a box to bring them home. I have to admit to being utterly useless! I was fine cornering them but as soon as they jumped and flapped I also jumped and flapped! Anyway, after much jumping and flapping from all sides, all the chickens were in boxes and we were good to go.
I drove home quite carefully with my precious cargo, I’d love to be able to say that it was because I was such a caring chicken owner – but the truth is that I was terrified that they would pop out of their boxes and become free-range inside the car! Anyway, I got home with all chickens still safely in their boxes and placed them inside the run of their new home and gingerly opened the lids, expecting an explosion of feathers…… and the chickens just sat clucking in their respective boxes – no explosion at all! Eventually I lifted each one, very carefully (its hard to know how hard you can hold a chicken if you’ve never done it before) and put them onto the neat clean grass of their run. I scattered some layers pellets and mixed corn around so that they had something to eat and set about watching my new editions to the family. Eventually I left them to it and went off to walk the dogs on the quad.
Earlier that day I had got a casserole out of the freezer as I knew it would be a long day and I wouldn’t have time to prepare anything, however chicken casserole seemed somewhat inappropriate now so I popped off to Padstow for fish and chips! On the way home I decided that I ought to put the chickens to bed before having tea, so I shoved the fish & chips into the bottom oven of the aga to keep warm and headed off to the chickens.
Ha Ha! Question: How long does it take to put 6 chickens to bed? Answer: A long time if you don’t know what you are doing! The chickens ran rings round me but eventually I managed to get all 6 into their new abode and shut the door! Night Night girls!
This morning I had thought that as soon as I opened their sliding door they would be out like race horses from starting stalls …… in reality it was nothing like this! It would seem that my girls were more than happy in their cosy house and also terrified of the ladder they needed to use in order to get down! First down was the large black chicken “Ruby” she got to the first rung of the ladder and jumped! Then came the large orangey coloured chicken “Maud” again, top rung and a jump! The 4 bantams however peaked out of the door with a bit of clucking and ducked back into the house! I ‘encouraged’ them by poking my head into the nesting box hatch and seemingly the sight of me first thing in the morning was enough to do it (no make up on you see!) and all 4 popped out in quick succession!
No eggs this morning – but that is to be expected! I am going to leave them in their run for the next couple of days to become settled then on monday they can free range! How I am going to put them away at night when they are free ranging is anyones guess!
The two larger ones have been bullying the smaller ones since yesterday so I gave Jacqui a call to ask if I could swap them for 2 more bantams as we would like a harmonious chicken house! If i’m honest I prefer the bantams anyway – they seem less scary and I’ve named all of them!
After speaking to Jacqui she was happy to swap the two larger hens so I set about catching the 2 large chickens and boxed them up and I headed over. (that is the shortened version of how it actually went but I think that you can guess that there was jumping and flapping on all sides again!). I have brought back a lovely goldie coloured bantam called…..you guessed it “Goldie” and we have 3 more on order when they get old enough to leave – two of them are just a week old at the moment (so cute!). While I was there I asked Jacqui if I could stroke an Alpaca – and now I am in love.
Goldie has fitted in very well but Stevie has been in the nesting box for most of the day. I was worried that she might be poorly and had a little look – not sure what I was looking for though – no sign of a thermometer in her mouth or a ice pack on her head so we decided to leave her be and see how she looked tomorrow. I couldn’t resist another little check after I had walked the dogs (by foot today!) and was so pleased to see Stevie out in the run with the others. I thought I’d add a bit more hay to their bedroom area so that they could snuggle in comfort and I was amazed to see a little, perfectly formed egg! It would seem that Stevie was not ill after all, just laying her first egg!