My last post was a sad one. Mr Fox had killed my rooster and three of my hens. I spent the next few weeks trying to keep the two hens I had left occupied and happy but ultimately they were used to being in a bigger social group and as they were no longer allowed to free range in the field but kept in a large enclosed space, they began to fight.
It broke my heart to see them so unhappy. I made the decision to rehome them. My Aunty Car (Caroline) is an expert chicken keeper with a mixed flock of chickens and ducks on a big pasture where her chickens roam securely in a huge open air run. I asked her if she would adopt my two hens and she did.
So, my dear friends were happily rehomed. All I had left was an empty coop. Over the next few weeks I watched the grass grow up around the abandoned coop and I missed the quiet cluck of a hen and the crow of a rooster.
My birthday came around and Aunty Car, knowing how I missed having feathered friends around, suggested she buy me a trio of Pekin Bantams. (A trio being a rooster and two hens). She explained to me that Bantams are smaller, happy to be in a run and don’t require as much space as the hybrid breeds I had previously. I was delighted. I had just had a tax rebate and so I was on the internet straight away researching the Pekin Bantam and all they would need.
The coop I had for my previous flock wasn’t suitable for three little bantams (too big) and so I searched online for a reasonably priced coop. (A coop being a hen house and covered run all in one). I found the perfect one on a site called Eggshell Online with two nest boxes and two low perches with a cute little windowed door. I ordered it on the Monday and it arrived on the Wednesday. I spent a weekend building it, painting it, putting curtains in it (Yes – curtains. You may laugh but curtains over the nesting boxes are great for helping hens to feel more secure and safe when laying their eggs).
I also went to my favorate chicken supplies website Flytes So Fancy for all the supplies I would need:
- 1 tub Diatomacious Earth – An all round essential for any chicken keeper. Add it to your chicken’s feed, dirt baths and bedding to prevent internal and external paracites.
- Poultry anti-bac spray – Cleaning the hen house on a weekly basis is a must for preventing bacterial nasties…especially in the spring and summer.
- Apple cider vinegar with garlic tonic – 1 teaspoon added to approx 1ltr of the hen’s drinking water will keep their insides nice and healthy and prevent internal paracites.
- Battles Poultry Spice – A powder containing all natural minerals and spices such as turmeric to help keep immune system and general health in tip top condition. Add it to their daily feed.
- Layers pellets, crushed oyster shell and mixed grit as all laying hens should have. I’m never worried about feeding my rooster anything special. He eats the layers pellets and treats along with his hens and gets all he needs from free ranging when I let them out for a few hours every day. Oh, and some mixed corn that I give as a treat in the evenings. I give corn sparingly as it acts as an internal heater and raises a chicken’s body temperature which is great in the winter and I give more in the colder months for this very reason, but in the spring and summer I give them very little as the raised temperature can make them cranky and fighting can break out amongst your happy flock.
So…. All prepped and ready, My trio arrived in the early evening, (a perfect time for introducing hens to a new home as you can put them straight to bed and leave them to get used to their new home overnight. Some people like to leave their new chickens shut in their house for a few days but I don’t like doing that).
Kosta (our Greek friend and fellow Wall Farm resident) asked if I was going to name them. I hadn’t really thought of it but he straight away suggested Apollo for the rooster, Helena and Diana for the two hens. Perfect!
The trio are just under a year old and so both hens were already laying (Pekins typically lay 1 egg every other day). Diana had been bullied by some of the hens in her previous home and so was looking a little pale and bald when she arrived. Apollo the rooster was showing signs of having some internal worms so I immediately set up a worming regime. Worming powder is available form most vets and I make it top priority to worm my flock on a regular basis.
So, say ‘Hello’ to the new Farm residents. We’ll be following their progress and adventures closely…..