Autumn 

As iam writing this all the leaves are gently falling to the ground leaving bare branches but some trees are full with bright reds from berries ready to be eaten by the migrating birds yes; it’s Autumn.

We’ve started the October months with mud, rainfall and mud. So much that I’ve been digging trenches in the run and laying down hay. Each morning as I go out to wake the birds up there’s fog, dew and spiders webs covering the ground and black birds nibbling the fallen apples. Iam having to wear wellies and a big puffy coat to keep myself warm.

There’s been good news and bad news, firstly the good news…


The hen pictured above is Maia and lyras 3 week younger half sister. She’s been known as ” the ginger one” now she’s called Autumn, her gorgeous orange feathers remind me of the Autumn leaves. If you want to know she’s a light Sussex X warren hybrid.

Now for bad news…

The serama chick that was hatched along with Autumn also known as “pixies little sister” is a micro serama, she could still be pixies full sister because apparently it’s in the genes all of a sudden out of all your seramas you could have a micro! It’s cute but she’ll never lay eggs and unlikely to breed and you probably wouldn’t want to breed micros and here’s why because they can live for upto 1 year, if you’re lucky😢.

Now to leave on a high here’s some more good news…

I’ve been rearing shadow for I think 6 weeks he’s deffinetly a cockerel and I’ve been slowly inter grating him into the flock because we’ve got two older males. For a few days he’s been in a run away from the coops but I’ve been putting him in the eglu at night with maisey, pepper, beyonce and sometimes Autumn but today he’s in a small run in the larger run. This morning I did let him out with out the younger birds I’ve hatched running about, Ivy started on him but he fought back than ran away, next Autumn pecked him a few times and Rose warned him off. As I’ve said he’s in a run now and mainly Luna/pingu the cockerel and Lyra have been pecking him and flapping their wings. Pixie the more domminant cockerel dosent mind . Beyonce is chasing Lyra and Luna/pingu when they try to attack shadow, beyonce also lest pixies little sister sleep under her wing if she’s in the eglu. She’s always trying to be a mum brooding eggs and looking out for the younger birds.

I hope you enjoyed this post find our page on Facebook at theurbanhens and find us on Instagram by searching our hashtag #theurbanhens that way you get updated earlier than on here.🐓

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How to keep chickens

Want to keep chickens but know nothing at all, well this post will teach you everything you need to know.

Why keep chickens

Chickens are great they are friendly so make great pets with funky personalitys and some are Sooo friendly they’ll jump up onto your lap at any given chance. Only needing 1 square meter at the least of run space you can keep at least a flock of two in any garden, allotment or smallholding. And two hens will lay around 12 eggs in the summer weeks and some hybrids (cross breeds) will even lay through out the winter months too. If you have a compost bin their manure make great fertiliser for the garden as well as the vegetables grown can be fed back to the hens along with egg shells.

Routines for the hens

It’s simple alike any other pet they need cleaning of the house each week the nest boxes can be changed every two days for clean eggs. Water and food can be checked every day but most feeders and drinkers are large enough to be refilled every couple of days. Birds can be wormed 2 a year using medicated feed and can be de- liced using powders and can be powdered with DE to prevent mites ( a blood sucking “nit like” Parisite that lives in crevices of chicken coops and come out at night to feed on the birds turning from a grey colour swelling into a blood red colour). If you have bark in your run this will have to be changed usually every 3 months (or what is perscribed) other materials that can be used in a run are leaves,gravel,concrete,sand or soil but when leaving the ground bare with soil it can get extremely muddy and can cause deseaises and infections so best to cover your run. Although when using concrete,gravel or paving slabs leave an area of dry soil for dust bathing wich can reduce lice and mites. Chickens love being kept on grass but if you have a run on your lawn then move it regularly or it will soon turn to mud.

What do I need

Hens- to start of with buy 2-6 Point Of Lay hens (aka POL or 20 week old pullets) as this is an easy number to manage.

Food- layers pellets or mash for laying hens and as treats sun flower seeds, oats and corn flakes,vegetables such as luettice hung up, strawberries and raspberries and corn on the cob, spaghetti and egg shells or grit this is really important to produce eggs but most layers pellets allready  have this in them.

A coop- you can find a house on eBay or build one yourself wether it’s wooden or plastic it must have adequate ventilation, rooting bars or branches for the birds to perch on, a nest box wich is an dark area for the birds to lay eggs and hatch chicks this area must have soft materials such as sawdust or hay, NOT straw.

And there you are ready to go just funk up your coop with fancy feeders, and logs and toys to keep your hens entertained and that’s it get ready for eggs any time soon.

FAQ

Do I need a cockerel for my hens to lay eggs? No, hens will happily lay without males and even sometimes try to hatch unfertilised eggs but males do make great members to a flock, warning the hens when danger is around , fertilised eggs are also OK to eat and even keep for longer.

Are chickens noises and smelly? It depends, if you Coleen and manage your hens well then they won’t smell. Hens can be noisy when laying or if they are sounding an alarm but for 90% of the day they’re quiet and make relaxing chirps.

Do chickens lay different colour eggs? Yes, here are a few breeds for mixed eggs the legbars lay blue eggs, marrans lay dark chocolate eggs, leghorns lay blue eggs and orpingtons lay pink eggs. Also if yo cross breed them you get other colour eggs, such as a legbar X marran create a olive egg layer.

How much do chickens cost? It depends, genrally hens cost more than males. Rare breeds cost more than hybrids and cross breeds and it also is depending on age. A average brown egg laying hybrid costs £17 at point of lay, pure breeds can cost £20-25 at this age. 

I hope this helps, happy hen keeping!