The Good Life – Clucking Hell

22 02 2011

As promised, albeit a bit delayed is part two of “The Good Life” series…

Clucking Hell

So spurred on by the pseudo successes of the bee keeping, and also Steph’s (almost) constant “Can we get chickens” pleas I decided to give in. To be honest, I’ve always fancied having a few chooks about the place. I do like an egg or two, and why not get into the country thing even more hey ?

The first problem was where to house them. If you are unaware, there is a big resurgence in people keeping chickens at home. Consequently the coops and runs are incredibly expensive. There is a really smart bit of kit called the “Eggloo” (geddit ?), but this is £450. Note I did not miss a decimal point there !

Therefore you imagine my joy when I spotted a hen-house and run on Freecycle. This was available for the princely sum of exactly nowt ! However, we were faced with a problem in getting it home. My car is quite small, and Steph’s is marginally bigger. We ended up jamming the hen-house into the back of the car, and driving home with what looks like a shed hanging out of the back !

OK, so we have a hen house…what’s next ?

Silly me, chickens of course ! We did take our time finding the right breed. Gentle with kids, and not likely to go broody. Broody means they stop laying eggs, which means they become acquainted with the business end of a knife. Also we didn’t want a cockerel, as it’s life expectancy wouldn’t have been more than a month.

We settled on a breed called “Light Sussex“. They look like a Rhode Island Red, but with less attitude.

We found a breeder in Cheshire that supplied said chickens, and attempted to select two of the finest. Have you ever attempted to herd cats ? It’s a kind of similar experience. Eventually after much comedic running around with arms spread wide, we wrangled us a couple o’ chickens and plopped them into a cardboard box. Said cardboard box went into the car. Note to self, two scared chickens and an enclosed space aren’t a good combination. The smell was…interesting !

The two chooks, now named “Flower & Petal” settled quickly into their new home. They did have an extremely good nature, and tolerated allowed being picked up and petted. Eggs were forthcoming, and to all intents and purposes seemed quite happy. They aren’t noisy at all which is a big relief !

Neve loves them, and loves going into the box to fish out the eggs. It’s quite nice to have them come over to you, and they are almost like pets.  Admittedly pets that you can eat if you get pissed off with them !

A couple of observations though…

  • They WILL trash your garden. Their idea of fun is to eat all the grass in sight, and then scratch hell out of the ground.
  • They do eat a lot, which makes them efficient at being little feathered shit machines egg layers
  • Cleaning them out is not for the faint hearted !

One of them produced an egg that was larger than a duck egg. The poor thing must have passed out laying it !

Perhaps I will rebuild the hen-house and run this year ?

Neve keeps saying to me…”Daddy we aren’t going to eat Flower & Petal are we” ?




One response

10 04 2011
Tiny Temper

Good to see you keeping up the blogging – you are funny! Your post almost makes me want me to go out and buy chickens. Almost 😉

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