Sunday, 15 May 2011

C:Day - The Chickens Have Landed!

We have chickens!!

Yesterday was C-Day. I drove to the lovely little village of Sand Hutton about 7 miles North East of York, past the asparagus farm and the pig field to a massive barn full of 600 ex-battery hens looking for new homes. I registered in the farm shop and bought a 20kg bag of feed ready for my new girls. I met Wendy from BHWT, who I'd been emailing about the hens over the past couple of months, she was very passionate about re-homing chickens. I donated £15 for my three, and was told about the Facebook page that has loads of hen fanatics sharing their stories, and providing advice for the novices like me! We walked around to the barn, and I was expecting lots of bald, sad looking chickens, but was surprised to see a mass of feathers, and hear loud happy-sounding clucks! I handed over my cardboard box and had it returned to me full of chickens!

When I got them home I (with the help and support of my other half) managed to get them into their new home. I was really nervous when picking them up, as I don't think I was firm enough or had a good enough grip around the wing! There was lots of flapping! But they soon settled into their house, and I even saw one of them on the perch; which they have never seen before and aren't normally strong enough to grip on to one. It took about 6 hours for them to be brave enough to come outside into their run. We put some food and water into the coop, because in the farm they don't have to venture very far to reach anything! We also had the food and water containers outside, so they could get used to seeing them there and could help themselves when they were ready to explore. When it was dark we locked them into the coop so they were safe from foxes.

 And this morning there were 3 eggs!! There was one on the floor next to the door, one in the nest box, and one that my other half found that was underneath the food container that had been kicked over at some point during the night. We cooked one this afternoon to try it; I have never tasted an egg just hours fresh and I was amazed at how "eggy" it was. It's almost like supermarket eggs lose flavour for each day they sit on the shelves.

A lot of time today has been spent looking out of the window and watching the girls settling in. Its best not to handle them too much until they've got used to their surroundings. They have been braving the outside, and have all been spotted using the drinker, and feeder. I've seen them all pecking the ground for bugs and grass and getting used to the ramp up into the house. They seem to be learning to be "real chickens" fairly quickly! We've managed to take a few pictures of them, but didn't want to disturb them too much yet! Its difficult to know which is which so we have ordered some coloured leg bands from eBay, which we will use to distinguish the girls from each other.

As it got dark this evening, one of the girls was still out so we had to get her in bed for the night. It turns out that she didn't want to go, and it took a while to persuade her to go in. A few minutes later we looked out of the window and the door of the coop (having not been bolted quite right) was open and we had an escapee! It was the same girl, and she was put back to bed shortly afterwards, and all doors were checked carefully after that!

I'm looking forward to another egg hunt in the morning!

1 comment:

  1. They are amazing. Can't wait to see what they do next.