Happy new year!

So it’s been awhile since I’ve updated I think since way before Christmas, now it’s the new year so happy new year!

Just a update for you if you haven’t seen on Facebook that our birds also got Xmas pressies too, a eglu cube for the Chicks we hatched out this ye….. Last year. And now at least three of them first a speckled egg belived to be autumns as its identical to her mothers egg, then a sort of darkish brown egg which I believe is Maia, we thought as a arucana X she would lay a nice green egg but still her beutiful plumage Makes up for it. Then a cream egg was laid most deffinetly by Lyra. My cousins have visited, first thing in the morning we let out the birds gave them some corn but sadly we opened up each house with a result of no egg, later in the afternoon we got two eggs, opening up the eglu cubes door to find Lyra setteling on the nest “give her half an our and we’ll come and see if she’s laid one by then” and hey presto she did! They’ve taken a dozen home initially to eat but they might try having ago at incubating them in the airing cupboard 🙂 

BIRD FLU UPDATE: please still keep your birds undercover or away from wild birds until the 28th of February  And take safety precautions such as devoting clothes for when you are doing your chicken chorus such as wearing a pair of shoes only in your chicken run and monitor your chickens closely for signs of bird flu. Find out more at http://www.gov.uk and read the recent article on the situation .

Bird flu prevention

One of the things I have never mentioned on here is bird flu, a disease that can wipe out flocks of poultry spreading from bird to bird. In France it has been confirm end that there has been a incident and England must go on lock down. Basically keep our birds indoor (where we can) or under cover in a run where wilds birds are unable to access the inside of the chicken run. You can use foot dips and use only certain clothes when with your chickens. Please look at the defra website for more details this is a serious matter! 

Pixie says hi

Pixie the little roo at the top of his voice says hi to all our viewers, he would also say thankyou but his voice would break by then so I’ll say thankyou for him. We are grateful that your following the hens and quail on their journey especially pingu aka Luna from egg to moody teenager, we’ve even managed to spread to different countries such as USA where a handful of people have read our blogs, I’m sure our chooks would be happy to join the viewers in Canada maybe not in the harsh winter! And Australia the other side of the world we hope you enjoy reading the blogs to, South Africa maybe the birds could come and have a holiday at yours I’m sure they’ll prefere it to rainy britian and finnaly Barbados! In the Caribbean islands where the beutiful brahma originated from and extra special hello from pepper.
Thankyou again for reading the blogs and following us on the journey, please feel free to share pictures of your birds,dogs,tortoises,Guinea pigs and even fish or any other amazing and cute pets you own.
From pepper, Beyoncé, shadow, Autumn, princess, pixie, Ivy, rose, Maia, Lyra, pingu, Khloé, kourtney, Kim, bonsai, sushi, kimono, Tokyo, yoko, noodles, Toby, Bailey, freeda, elvis, teddy, quaver, spotty, stripey, peach.

RIP Maisey

I’ve been having late rehearsals for a production iam being in called “wonderland”, people are celerbrating This festive month with fireworks and bonfires to burn guy Fawkes. Coming home at six it being dark I am un able to shut away the chickens as early as I would like. I came home on Halloween to find the young birds on the eglu as they usually are but for some reason maisey was out side I tried to move her, she wouldn’t budge. Pushing her, nope. Throwing food in the house, no way would she go in it was clear she was spooked by the fireworks. She was calmer than Luna who was running frantically running about the coop so I picked maisey up and shut her in the eglu to find her dead the next morning.


we will ever forget the 2 and a half years you spent with us😢 ,She was brought along with Beyoncé and pepper when they were probably a year old, she’s gone through a mite infestation, moving house, lice laying egg sacks all over her, 3 new flocks of birds joining that she’s shown who’s boss and looking after ones being bullied.

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.🐓

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!

Teenagers becoming adults and adults becoming elderly

On the 4th of June we welcomed Luna onto the world, she was a chick from the eggs we hatched from new macdonalds farm. Now she’s a big cockerel and is nearing maturity along with her pullet friends Maia and lyra and his “brother” pixie who’s all ready getting to business with Khloé😂. Exactly 16 weeks ago today she was born! I know Iam repeating myself but I can’t believe how quick they’ve grown! In around 3-6 weeks they’ll be laying eggs (hopefully if the days light dosent fade to quickly!), pixie and Luna/pingu are definitely filled up with testosterone squarking at the crack of dawn as they’re voice breaks😂.

But in sadder news two of the quail seem unwell, they’re staying in the house not darting back and forth attacking the sweet corn like seagulls at Skegness, so we researched it and quail tend to  live 2 years, 3 at the max apparently. It’s sad but for new life to be created old life must leave but still, who knows they maybe with us for years to come!

Newest member of the poultry family!

So as you may know we’ve been incubating eggs under both rose and Ivy and in the brinsea well on day 22 of incubation this little fluffy leged bundle of fluff hatched and although we probably will be saying good bye to her when she’s older I am calling her Shadow.


We waited hoping for a friend to hatch but none did. It’s now day 23 so we cracked them open one had died roughly around day 18 another died before it even developed a bean sized body and the last was infertile. The broody eggs neither hatched so we tried to get rose and Ivy to adopt her sadly Ivy attacked her, well to hard pecks sending her flying so we left rose and Ivy and just stood holding the chick to beyonce and Luna/pingu so she can see what she is😊. When she gets to 1 week I’ll start taking her on trips to see the other chicks but for now she’s happy running around my room following my every step☺️. I’d love to get her a friend like we did Luna but Iam afraid my mum won’t let me as it’s costing too much to feed them, she’s already talking about selling the kardashians and pixies little sister!😔I accept we incubated this batch to grow and sell them at the market but when there’s one of them they bond with you like your their parent and I know it will be hard rehoming her when the time comes😢, and I’ve made it worse for myself by naming her!, shadow😊.

(This was written a week ago!)

Iam back!

Iam back👋🏻 I said “I’ll write on this week end, maybe next Monday. No next Thursday or maybe the weekend after that!” Basically I’ve been meaning to write about all the wonderfull things but I keep on forgetting or just too tired in the heat of summer. Any way here’s a update!

I don’t know if I’ve already told you but Ivy’s been broody and as I had some eggs in the incubator I thought I’d Pop one or two under her. The eggs were the marrans I brought at the market and had been in the incubator a week. In the morning I checked to see if she was still broody, of course! She was sitting in the corner fluffed up with a handful of her little white eggs tucked safely under her tummy with a odd large egg… Peppers who occasionally prefers to lay in the ark. Luckily for me she waddled of the nest shaking her fluffy bottom side to side wich meant I could reach in and take her eggs without being attacked😆. I left two in case she dicided to return and then I ran upstairs to collect two of the fertile growing eggs, we know this because the night before we candles them and marked growing eggs with a blue spot. Out of the eggs 4 were growing, one had a weird air sack/ bright splodge to one side and one is just completely empty. I rolled the eggs under her using a stick and then left her to it; simple.

Or so it seems…. The next couple days were okay she was sitting tight and coming out for a drink and food until one day one of the eggs was left on its one while she sat on the other! It was cold so it was quickly returned under her, hopefully it will survive. But we will have to wait and see.

And finally I’d just like to give you a update on little pixie who is most definitely a boy!

 He’s now got larger tail feathers which have grown within about, three days!  and when I Go to pick him up he stands on his tipy toes streaching his neck I read up on it and apparently they are quite feisty but I guess you have to be if your the smallest of the bunch. Him and Luna/pingu have all ready started practicing their crows (with help from beyonce when she lets the neighbours know she’s laying ) but they start around 8 so most of the neighbours are up before then.

I hope you enjoyed this blog😊

RIP Little chick

Sadly today this little chick died, after searching I found out he had coccidiosis which occurs in younger birds when growing. When these chicks were 4 weeks old we discovered blood in the droppings. We were told to give them yogurt it stopped and we were all alright. But today I saw him falling asleep in the corner not really moving. I put a water bowl in front of him but he didn’t drink so I held it to his beak he didn’t eat either which is unusual for the little chicks who are always eating. When I returned to the pen with my mum he was dead. I scrubbed all the coops down with water, then I returned inside to google it and all the symptoms where there:Not really drinking or eating

Sitting in one area not running around as usual

And blood in the dropping (which started and stopped weeks ago) . It happens quick! Yesterday running around chirping with his friends hiding under the coops and jumping up on the roofs to becoming tired, pale and loosing his appetite. The only unusual thing I noticed yesterday was when he flew up onto the hutch he lost his balance whilst flapping to hold on he was sick(a watery liquid came out his mouth) but I read up on it and when they drink and get exited or jump about they can regurgitate it, although it can be other things such as internal parasites for such a healthy happy bird I doubted it would be anything other and with the added fact I’d just filled the drinkers up. 
We are going to get medication and separate the younger birds and clean more than we do before.
RIP little chick😢