Rearing Chickens – Not quite a Poultry Farmer

Did you read my Careers Advice blog ? In which I was advised to be a Poultry Farmer, the irony being I’m scared of birds.  However here I will share my short experience of looking after a brood of chickens.

New Home
My (ex) partner (see previous blogs) and I bought a cottage in 2013, a lot of work was needed. We quickly sorted out the garden to incorporate a chicken pen and an allotment.

Before and after

Back garden Chickens/allotment

Chickens – top left
Allotment – to the right

Choosing Chickens
Once we’d prepared the space and chicken coop, we set out on August Bank Holiday weekend 2013 to a local  chicken breeder. This breeder had a great variety of breeds to choose from. We especially wanted different point of lay breeds to give us different coloured eggs.

Coloured Chickens eggs

Coloured Chicken eggs

We chose a Legbar, a White Rock, a Rhode Island and a Bluebell.  We were awarded with an egg being laid en route home! While the Legbar didn’t lay til nearly Christmas, however we were very excited to get our first blue egg!

chickens egg

First egg laid en route home

In 2015 we added a Buff Orpington and 2 Black Rocks. The former because they are just a gorgeous colour, fluffy and soft, the latter are good layers.

I did the daily opening of the chicken co-op, letting them out because I was always first to get up and about with my dog Rufus. This ensured the chickens got maximum daylight.as this is essential for egg laying. I sorted the food and water and collected the eggs. We generally shared the cleaning out, although he did the “Lions share” as he’s a man that needs to be “doing” – so why not let him!

Broody Chicken
In late Summer 2016 the Buff Orpington was broody – excitement mounted. We decided to get some fertilised eggs and have a go at hatching some chicks. Here’s what happened next:
1. ebay egg purchase! Who knew? and
2. lots of Google searches on hatching chicken eggs
that led to
3. the purchase of an incubator.

Preparing to Hatch
We put 8-10 eggs under the chicken and a similar number in the incubator. The eggs were Cuckoo Marans and Sussex. We then waited, it was a tense  August but eggs to chicks takes only 21 days, fantastic.

We’d checked to see if the eggs were fertilised and developing as advised. As novices we couldn’t decide so we left them all in situ.

Hatching
Some of the eggs in the incubator started “pipping” on day 21. 12 hours later we had 3 Sussex chicks, we transferred them to a heat lamp home for the next stage of the process.

Days old Sussex chick

Days old Sussex chick

We didn’t think any eggs under the Buff were fertilised so we were thrilled to find that day that she had 2 Cuckoo Maran chicks.

Days old Cuckoo Maran chick

Days old Cuckoo Maran chick

Growing Brood
The chicks flourished and we put them all together, and later incorporated them into the brood, all of this went well.

Chickens & fitness

Chicks and Chick food + functional fitness!

Growing Chickens

Growing Chicks

The only downfall of the process was our success rate. The eggs in the incubator that didn’t hatch we believe was due to the humidity levels. Also it has turned out that all the Sussex chicks are cockerels! Beauties but noisy 🙁

Sussex Cockerel

Sussex Cockerel

Along with beautiful eggs the brood does/did give us lots of joy, such as the photograph below taken in December when they were trying to get into a little winter sunshine!

Chickens & Sun

Chickens enjoying the sunshine

Sadly I have now moved (this blog explains more) and no longer have the pleasure of this small chicken brood.

Have you any chickens?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

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5 thoughts on “Rearing Chickens – Not quite a Poultry Farmer

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