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    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 14th, 2016 10:58pm (May 14th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Well, we had a bit of a mammoth day today, we visited the lovely people at Manor Farm Poultry and were shown round all their wonderful hens and Emu's and ducks and god knows what else!

    We originally wanted to look at their Brahmas, but they sold the last one the day before our visit. But there were so many other wonderful and fancy breeds we were spoilt for choice, and instead of coming home with one hen, we ended up with three!

    So, without further ado, meet:

    Olga the Russian Orloff:


    Frieda the Thüringian:


    Claudia the Vorwerk:


    There's been a bit of aggro whilst the pecking-order is sorted, but hopefully that should be over now. The little ones (Olga and Frieda) have kept away from the others - Olga seems to be a bit chesty but I think that's due to the stress of moving and will hopefully clear up in a week.

    They're beautiful hens, and Claudia is a large bird and really striking and didn't mind me stroking her at all - apparently Thüringians are really quick to tame and will seek your company - Helen already had Frieda eating from her hand and she stepped onto my arm so I could put her to bed - so sweet!

    Hopefully you'll get a decent look at them over the coming weeks...
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeMay 14th, 2016 11:06pm (May 14th 2016)
     
    Wow, Claudia is a BEAUTY!!!!!! They are all pretty, but Claudia is something else!..love, love, love her.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 15th, 2016 1:55pm (May 15th 2016)
     
    Beautiful girls Neil. It was Claudia I spotted first she is a rather special girl xx
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 15th, 2016 2:28pm (May 15th 2016)
     
    Aren't they gorgeous? What do the other girls make of them?
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMay 15th, 2016 2:55pm (May 15th 2016)
     
    What pretty girls! Claudia is stunning - I hope they're all settling in OK.
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 15th, 2016 5:59pm (May 15th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Claudia is fine with them now, the other two are a bit more wary. Although Olga wanted to lay an egg but both bloody Pekins are broody now so aren't letting anyone in a nest box! I warned them if they carried on they'd be put in the naughty puppy crate to try and break them from their broodiness, and they did so they're in there now!

    I'll see if anyone could lay an egg later today!
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 18th, 2016 11:02am (May 18th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    We had a near-milestone yesterday - 5 eggs in one day!

    I'm waiting for that magical full egg-box in a day... it will happen one of these days!

    The girls are settling in really nicely - Claudia is perfectly happy with all the hens now, and the two little new girls are getting there - the main barriers are Mabel, Mrs P and Velma, although Mabel is by far the worst and is prone to chasing them as she's just happy there's someone smaller than her to bully. Still, it's quite infrequent and they're happy to eat and drink with the girls so it looks like the worst is over.

    Hedwig (Frieda? Possible name change!) is a bit younger than the other hens so won't lay for at least a month or two. I think Olga has gone to lay an egg today, and for the last few days Claudia has been laying ENORMOUS light cream eggs - they're as big as Ariel's! And nearly as white as Renee's... Will get pics later.

    So it's all positive so far, even the Thuringian's rattly chest is a lot better. :)
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeMay 18th, 2016 6:35pm (May 18th 2016)
     
    I'm glad the girls are doing so well now, Neil. They are beautiful hens.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 18th, 2016 6:46pm (May 18th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I love these new girls!!! I love Olga and Freida / Hedwig! You finally got the Thurungian! You really didn't want that when I suggested it haha, mind you didn't originally want banties...knew they'd win you around, they're so cool ;)

    Are you going to have to extend the run and buy a bigger house for them now? I don't think there's enough floorspace...and what about nest boxes, if you need one nest box for 3-4 hens? I guess you have quite a few banties, but even they are supposed to have around 7.5 square feet of floor space each, and 10 square feet for standard size - those are the generally accepted minimums, so you'd really want more. Can you buy run extensions? In the house they should have 3-4 square feet each (size dependent) how big is the wagon?
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 19th, 2016 10:19am (May 19th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: RedI love these new girls!!! I love Olga and Freida / Hedwig! You finally got the Thurungian! You really didn't want that when I suggested it haha, mind you didn't originally want banties...knew they'd win you around, they're so cool ;)


    I really wanted a Russian Orloff as they look really striking and are rare, but we both fell in love with the Vorwerk and we were strongly recommended the Thuringian as they make really good 'pet' chickens (we were told one sold recently had started sleeping with the new owner in their bedroom on top of the wardrobe!)

    I've come to like bantams because they have really big personalities to make up for their size, although this can backfire a little as Mabel is really feisty with the little hens, she's coming around though.

    Hedwig is one of those hens that prefers humans to chickens already - on her second night I held my arm out and she gingerly stepped on to it so I could pick her up and put her to bed! She's soft - she'll happily stand whilst you stroke her. Having said that, I was holding Olga yesterday and she burrowed her head in my hoodie and started going to sleep - I think she thought it was a wing! (she's the youngest - won't lay for a month or two). She's the happiest with the other hens - Hedwig prefers to be 'up high' on a branch (or the fern!)

    Posted By: RedAre you going to have to extend the run and buy a bigger house for them now? I don't think there's enough floorspace...and what about nest boxes, if you need one nest box for 3-4 hens? I guess you have quite a few banties, but even they are supposed to have around 7.5 square feet of floor space each, and 10 square feet for standard size - those are the generally accepted minimums, so you'd really want more. Can you buy run extensions? In the house they should have 3-4 square feet each (size dependent) how big is the wagon?


    I had plans to extend the run - it will be easy enough, but at the moment they don't look overcrowded at all - the coop has so many different areas they can use and lots of different levels, it's offering massively more floorspace for them than it used to - I've seen all the girls using the branch/perches (even Velma - though she sticks to the lower branches!)

    Hedwig and Olga really like the higher ones - and Hedwig perches in the tree in the coop! They try and sleep on top of the house, so I know they go up there too.

    There's two separate dust-bathing areas, each with fine sand and diatomaceous earth in, so there's always room available should someone need a bath.

    The bantams (and 'smaller' hens such as Renee, well, anyone apart from Velma!) also have the space under the coop, it's a good way for them to avoid anyone or shelter out of the way/sun. And the space inside the house of course.

    We have 4 bantams, 2 smaller/slender breeds, 2 normal sized, and 1 fat knacker.

    The house is good for 17 bantams, or 7 large fowl. I think that's extremely conservative - they like to sleep next to each other and I've yet to see the first roosting perch used on a night (this is the one I put Hedwig and Olga on). I've seen 6 hens sleeping on one roosting perch!

    Nesting boxes... DEFRA says 1 per 7 birds, Five Freedoms advice says not more than 1 nest box per 4 birds. Ours are quite deep, I've seen 2 hens laying in the same nest box (they seem to like sharing - even when the other box was empty!) - and they obviously don't all lay at the same time.

    They have two waterers, one with 4 nipples - and 1 nipple is good for at least 5 birds. There's a large feeder which has a trough opening allowing several birds to eat at once, and it's mounted to the side of the coop so it doesn't take any floorspace.

    I'll keep an eye on their behaviour, and for any fighting or bullying or other signs of overcrowding. We are going to add some more extra level space as we liked how the birds at Manor Farm were sunbathing on a wooden plank between two straw bales.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 19th, 2016 10:53am (May 19th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    That sounds good. I think even if they're acting perfectly fine, it's always nicest and best to give a pet as much room as you can...minimums aren't what you should aim for, it's nice to go beyond that.

    Posted By: neil
    Nesting boxes... DEFRA says 1 per 7 birds, Five Freedoms advice says not more than 1 nest box per 4 birds. Ours are quite deep, I've seen 2 hens laying in the same nest box (they seem to like sharing - even when the other box was empty!) - and they obviously don't all lay at the same time.


    Most places that I trust (a lot more than DEFRA haha) generally advise more nesting boxes than one in seven - it seems you were a one box for 4 hens (at least) kinda person before adding more girls ;)

    Posted By: neilApparently you should have 1 nest box per 4 laying hens (at least) or else you need to introduce some kind of queueing and ticket system which might not go down too well with the hens.!div>


    I'm sure you can get away with one nest box per 10 hens, but again it's nice to give them too much of a good thing than too little :smile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 19th, 2016 11:24am (May 19th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: RedMost places that I trust (a lot more than DEFRA haha) generally advise more nesting boxes than one in seven


    I quoted DEFRA as they're "official", even if a bit 'intensive farming' - the Five Freedoms is a bit nicer, and even that isn't very clear - not more than 1 box per 4 hens - but how big are the hens, how often do they lay? Our fancy breeds aren't your typical hybrid daily layers so demand for boxes will be even less. Even with two broodys the hens could lay their eggs no probs.

    But one nest box for 7 hens would surely be pushing it, nobody would want to see that (unless you're running a commercial venture I guess).
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMay 19th, 2016 7:51pm (May 19th 2016)
     
    If I come back as a hen I hope I get to live in Neil's coop!!! :turkeydance:
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeMay 19th, 2016 8:02pm (May 19th 2016)
     
    That is so sweet Kate.
    :face-smile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 20th, 2016 11:24am (May 20th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hedwig now likes humans more than chickens...

    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd, 2016 9:47am (May 22nd 2016)
     
    Thats such a brilliant picture Neil xxx
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd, 2016 1:41pm (May 22nd 2016)
     
    So come Talk Like A Pirate Day, who gets Hedwig, you or Helen, Neil?
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd, 2016 11:09am (May 23rd 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Probably share, she likes to jump from person to person. :)

    Here's Claudia looking like a bowling pin:


    (bonus points for chicken death stare)
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd, 2016 6:13pm (May 23rd 2016)
     
    Blimey, I hope you never get on the wrong side of her! She looks more like a tea cosy to me. Or one of those china hens you put eggs in...
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 24th, 2016 10:49pm (May 24th 2016)
     
    What a delightful picture of Claudia she looks so proud and precious xx
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 24th, 2016 10:49pm (May 24th 2016) edited
     
    Those are handy little hanging cups Neil. May I ask where you got them please
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMay 25th, 2016 4:43pm (May 25th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Oooh... I got them from Pear Tree Poultry, but I've seen them at other places too (just can't remember where - argh).

    If I spot them out and about I'll let you know.

    I use them for two different sizes of grit for the hens.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 25th, 2016 8:15pm (May 25th 2016)
     
    thanks Neil I will have a look when I next go to the feed store. I was just thinking how handy for grit and treats