Today I spent a good few hours rearranging all my pens to keep the age groups in one place. I have chickens all over the place so it was time to make it more organised.
Well after I caught them up, they ran off, so I caught them again. They didn’t like their new pen because it was obviously a scary place. So inconsiderate! Considering I spent ages digging in some lime to disinfect the area. It also rearranged my hair as I got it caught in the netting. Dragged through a hedge backwards is a recurring theme for me these days. They then made a bolt for the door every time I brought another 2 over. I don’t know about them, but I found it quite stressful. It certainly increased my step count for the day according to my fitness phone app so not all bad!!
When I finally finished I took a picture so I could see what I had and which colour mixes I had. This is not the only batch of chickens I have either so I might have to give myself a stern talking to.
These are now ready to go to their new homes. We have Brahma in Pyle, and Buff Columbian. We have some Orpingtons in Lavender and some Swedish Flower Hens Crossed with either Leghorn or Ancona.
That moment when you realise exactly how many chickens you have. Chicken maths – aka chicken addiction – is a real thing, especially here.
For the uninitiated, the term Chicken Maths relates to a Phenomenon (excuse) for why numbers of chickens get out of control. It starts off by getting a flock of 3, then because you cannot add a single chicken to an existing flock, you end up with 2 more. If you lose one and need to replace it, you end up with another 2 minimum. And so it goes.
First of all, a bantam is a size of chicken, not a breed. They are divided into true bantams, which includes Pekins, Sebrights, Serema, Dutch and Booted bantams amongst others. True bantams have no large fowl equivalent. Many large fowl have a bantam equivalent, these are roughly a quarter of the size of the large fowl version. There is a bantam version of Wyandotte, Brahma, Leghorn, Sussex, Rhode Islands, Faverolles, Welsummer, Araucana to name a few.
An interesting fact regarding the Pekin and the Cochin which causes some confusion when viewing Facebook groups which have many nationalities as members. A Cochin has no bantam equivalent, however chicken keepers in the USA call Pekins a Cochin. As ever, the Americans are often at odds with the way we name stuff.
8 Reasons why we don’t keep bantams
They are a quarter of the size of a regular chicken and they might not mix well in a large fowl flock
They can have a “Napoleon Complex” which can actually show aggressive tendencies much bigger than their size in a mixed size flock. Sometimes bantam sized chickens can suffer with bullying when in with the bigger girls.
They are usually very broody. Broody hens can be aggressive with other hens and also their keepers. Broody hens won’t lay eggs.
They have repeated attacks of broodiness throughout the year and its often difficult to get them over it. Broodies can die from malnutrition or dehydration in particularly warm periods. The broodiest by reputation are Silkies, Goldtops, Pekins and Wyandottes.
Their eggs are too small for your average chuckyegg. They need very small dippy soldiers to fit. Bring on those proper sized eggs!!
They are no more easy to handle than large fowl even for children.
The numbers of eggs are poor because they have repeated bouts of broodiness.
They are more at risk of danger when a cat is involved or larger birds of prey.
We only stock Large Fowl
Large fowl and very large fowl can be just as friendly and cuddly as bantams. The largest chickens are fluff balls which are easy and calm to handle. They are not prone to panic running about as some bantams are. There is nothing standard about a chicken however as they all reserve the right to be individual characters, just like us.
This post is here to show you at a glance what we have going on and what is the latest chicken availability for sale.
Hatching Commencing from now to September
The incubators are on and we are busy rearing chicks for the year. Any chicks that are sold are either sold as sexed or unsexed. Some breeds are easier to tell than others. If we sell as sexed we offer a female guarantee. If they turn out to be boys they will be swapped or refunded.
Breeds available this year
This year we are planning to have the following breeds available. Chicken availability will consequently change during the year due to popularity. We hatch most of these ourselves from hatching eggs which we breed from our own chickens. The Muirfield breeds are genuine stock which come from Scotland. Deliveries of these are available as chicks or even at point of lay. Point of lay are usually only here by special order unless we have raised them from chicks ourselves. If you want point of lay Muirfield layers stock as a special order, we will need a deposit beforehand to secure them however these have been in very short supply this year. Please click here to ask us for details.
Araucana – limited availability in blue, black, splash
Cochin – very limited availability
Brahma – limited availability
Sussex – very limited currently but more will be hatched soon
Swedish Flower Hens – limited
Welsummer – SOLD OUT
Faverolles – SOLD OUT of hens but have plenty of cockerels
Marans – Copper Blue – SOLD OUT
Cream Legbar – 2 left
Black Rock Muirfield – SOLD OUT – awaiting further deliveries
Brown Rock Muirfield – SOLD OUT – awaiting further deliveries
Utility Sussex Muirfield – SOLD OUT – awaiting further deliveries
La Bresse Galoise trio – very limited 1 left (one male and 2 female)
La Bresse Galoise cross White Leghorn. SOLD OUT
White Leghorn – SOLD OUT
Marsbars – Marans/Legbar cross. Olive/Green egger SOLD OUT
Hedgerow Homemades – currently Swedish or Sussex crosses
Orpington – unsexed at the moment in Lavender
Hatching eggs available in Swedish Flower Hens and Sussex crosses and Swedish crosses.
We are expecting a delivery of Black Rock hens and Brown Rock hens direct from the Muirfield hatchery week commencing 22nd June 2018. We will be getting several at point of lay (POL) and loads of cute fluffy day old female chicks.
Get in touch via our contact page if you would like to reserve any
Wishing you all a happy new year with peace, prosperity and goodwill to all men, women and chickens!! We hope that this coming year is a fabulous one not forgetting those less fortunate than ourselves.
We are open and have a selection of hens at point of lay.
Swedish Flower and La Fleche crosses in blue and brown
Ex-Battery hens say the British Hen Welfare Trust is about to hit a major milestone. Ever since they started in 2005, they have rehomed around 50,000 hens a year of ex-battery and ex-colony hens, affectionately known as ex-batts or ex-battys. It has been their mission to educate people to no longer tolerate the conditions that these creatures have to endure in order to provide your chucky egg. On Sunday 1st October as part of a release of 5000 ex-battery hens, the total numbers rescued will hit 600,000. Hen number 600,000 is shortly going to arrive somewhere in the south of England and the Trust is very excited about it. They should be, their sterling work has ensured that public pressure has encouraged the governments and food suppliers to think seriously about hen welfare and what sort of category of eggs go into their products.
Why do hens need to be rescued in the first place?
The battery cages, as they were known, only allowed for a space of about an A4 sheet of paper per hen. She was kept in warehouse style conditions consisting of tiers of cages where thousands of hens were kept. High concentrations are solely to provide cheap eggs. Thanks to public and celebrity pressure, the old style cages throughout Europe and UK are now outlawed in most countries, in favour of a cage system known as a colony cage. I don’t personally think they are any better than the old system, as there are about 50 birds per cage. The cage has a nesting area, a perching area and a dustbathing area but they are still cramped, albeit not to the same degree. The lights are kept on for 15 hours to keep the birds in laying condition. At 72 weeks of age, they are considered “spent” and their economic value suffers. Many are rehomed but this is a drop in the ocean given the billions of birds in the systems. Much more are sold off at between 30p and 50p per bird to go into the processed meat chain for things such as pies, and animal foods.
How to get hold of Ex-Battery hens
If you want to rescue an ex-batt lady then there are many rehoming charities, the main one is here British Hen Welfare Trust. They are countrywide and have regular rehoming events. You will need to register on their website and they will let you know when the next rehomings are in your area. You will be vetted so be prepared.
Ex-commercial hens are usually poorly feathered, but this is not because they have necessarily been mistreated. In preparation for their exodus from their cages, the supplier can often squeeze the last few eggs out of the hen by cutting their final food bills as a bonus. By withdrawing or lessening the feed that these birds eat, it often causes a spontaneous moult. Their bodies still have enough resources to produce those final eggs but the profit margin is much greater for the supplier. Most chickens at the age of around 18 months will moult for the first time then anyway. It is a natural phenomenon but can be prematurely trigged by reduced feed intake.
Ex-batt hens come out of confinement with poor feathering, weakness or damage limbs. This can be because of the rough handling of their rescuers in their attempts to extract frightened birds from their cages. The combs are very pale and flaccid due to being in a high heat environment. Lots of birds can generate significate amounts of heat. The hens are not used to moving around a great deal so are often limited in their limb strength. They have never seen the daylight and to be thrust into a strange world can be very disorientating for them. Given time, and patience, they will blossom into fully feathered and very happy little creatures.