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Chickens Have Arrived

Chckens Settling In

Chckens Settling In

My daughter and I travelled from Skerries to Navan today to collect the chickens from Aidan, our supplier. We got ten really nice Warren Studlers (ISA Brown) and brought them back in three cardboard boxes. They seemed quite fine when we got them home and put them in the coop.

My first impression is that they are much bigger than I expected and they seemed to make the coop look a lot smaller. But everything is done to specification, so I hope they have enough room. When they have settled in for a few days, I will post a few photographs and maybe a video or two. I will also describe in text and photos how I built the coop. Perhaps that will help others.

Aidan is very nice and explained that the chickens would be a bit timid and subdued for a few days. After that, they should settle in OK and, with luck, will be laying in about three weeks.

Checking Out The Accommodation

Checking Out The Accommodation

When I put them in the coop, they certainly were a bit apprehensive and stood fairly still and quietly. They pecked a bit and ate a small amount of mash, but not much. Of course, it didn’t help when the kids’ friends all arrived to welcome them and did their fair share of screaming and laughing when they saw them. But the novelty will wear off soon enough, I am sure, and the chickens will probably be left in peace.

Given that the chickens are a bit bigger than I expected,  I may have to make a modification or two to the coop, particularly to the exit hatch to the run. I’ll keep a close eye on the design and make modifications as I go along.

Watch The Birdie

Watch The Birdie

I’ve been warned by everybody – including Aidan – to watch out for foxes. Although I have never seen a fox around my house, I expect they are there alright. I am not taking any specific action, apart from completely enclosing the run, but I have not put in any underground protection. As I have an open site, with plenty of holes in my ditches, I can’t really let the birds out and so will probably have to keep them in the run. I will see how it goes. Aidan said that it can be a nice idea to keep the older birds as garden pets when they are past their best laying and give them the run of the place. And they will also continue to produce some eggs. That sounds lovely – I have always liked the idea of chickens running around my garden.

Aidan advised me not to overdo the kitchen scraps as they might not eat as much as I may have been led to believe. He said that if I put too much into the run, the chickens will not eat it and it will have to be cleaned out. So I will introduce bits of scraps slowly. I have read that they love pasta, and I have some pasta twirls already that I might give them tomorrow.

I understand that Warrens are great layers, each giving around 300 brown eggs a year. I should get good laying out of the birds for about 18 months, at which time I should start planning to replace the flock.

So here goes … I am now a chicken farmer!

In The Nest Box

In The Nest Box

Stop press. It is just dark now and, as Aidan said, the birds have largely huddled together for company tonight. Two of them have found the lower roost and are roosing there. The others are huddled on the ramp or on the floor underneath. I expect that they will get used to the roosts soon.

Do you have any comments or advice for me? As I am only starting, I’d appreciate anything you might wish to contribute.

One Comment

  1. Ita says:

    John…It seems to me you are doing great work in the recession growing your own eggs…and chickens! Check out the website and let me hear from you….L..your cousin, Ita

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