Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. I have written to you so many times in my head but, for one reason or another, the words never made it any further. We have been having a jolly … Continue reading
So I haven’t posted on our chickens for some while, the last being a rainy day back in May when we had to say goodbye to lovely Lily. In July last year we adopted our first two ex-caged hens(Essex girls saved from slaughter), Poppy and Clover, who have settled in so well. We have had our fair share of chicken issues but these two have been a healthy pair (here is hoping I won’t jinx it). One of them no longer lays which is not unusual as reproductive issues are common for such intensively farmed birds but she is enjoying her retirement none the less in our back garden.
With the loss of Lily and a family with an increasing appetite for eggs we decided to adopt another two in May this year, named Petal and Fleur (though they are so similar I suspect they may have interchangeable names). As there were already two sturdy birds in residence we had to keep the weedy pair separate until they adjusted to a life outdoors and gained in confidence and strength.
After a week and a half we started to mix them for short periods in a larger area that we had constructed to increase their free ranging abilities. The introductions were stressful with lots of squawking and pecking and chasing (and panicking for me). The decision was made to wait a little longer and they were not fully integrated until the end of week three. Petal and Fleur still have a long way to go, they are much skinnier than Poppy and Clover and have many feathers to regrow but they now all live happily together. I will keep you updated on their progress…
Lily, once the belle of the ball with two ugly sisters, currently looks more like Cinders before her transformation. Our newest ladies have gone through their annual moult and have turned into handsome young ladies while Lily, still moulting, looks small, pale and tatty. While she puts all her energy into making new feathers she has stopped laying eggs.
This is a time when your hens may need some extra help to stay healthy by provided them with a higher protein diet. You can give them a specialist feed or add in a handful of mealworms or sunflower seeds in the afternoon, you can also give them a boost with some liquid seaweed vitamin supplements. In a matter of weeks Lily will be transformed once again.