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sotongeoff

I started nearly 2 years ago with 5 brown warrens lost one soon after-replaced by 2 then lost another last summer and replaced that with a sussex star and a bovans nera-so up to six now-all hybrids

There have therefore been a few traumas along the way but never,ever regretted it-they are not just hens, but pets as well and we get at the moment between 4 and 6 eggs per day-depending

FloBear

My girls are 4 ex-bats who we adopted last August - named after my 4 sisters! I said I'd have chooks when I retired, and I did. They quickly learnt to be proper chickens and grew very feathery. Almost never stopped laying since they came - average 3 eggs a day. Aggie likes to lay al fresco if she can and has secret nests in the ivy.

We took eight ex-bats in december and they all quickly became part of the family. We lost one to illness, probably shock at seeing grass and sky, but the others have really excelled at being happy hens! They lay between 5 - 7 eggs a day, and, as with FloBear, one lays on shrubbery next to the house. They love boiled rice in addition to their pellets and grain, and really slow my dad's digging speed getting in the holes for worms! They are sadly still rather bald in places so we have extra-insulated our henhouse to keep them cosy. We couldn't imagine the garden without them!

junohart

I started 4 years ago with 2 hybrids, a gingernut ranger and Miss Pepperpot, Ivy and Lux. We recently moved to a bigger garden (the house is secondary!) and added 2 dark Brahmas, Misery and Dolores.  Sadly, Lux had to be put to sleep last week, but we get at least 2 eggs a day. The Brahmas are massive birds but lay teeny eggs! I would never be without hens now, they are so worthy of a place in anyones garden. I will definately stick with Brahmas, I love their size, they are very tame and I love their feathery feet!

Hello, I only have 2 hens at the moment - a Silkie and a Pekin bantam.  They are 5 years old, hardly give me any eggs, and none at all in the winter, but they are lovely characters, and being small they don't destroy my garden when I let them out. 

I wonder has anyone else ever had eggs with very thin shells?  Yesterday one of them laid an egg with a paper thin shell, although today she laid a perfectly normal egg. Could it be a calcium deficiency?  They have grit available, and get out into the garden most days. 

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Thanks for that, David.  They have layers pellets, but also mixed corn, and I probably give them too much corn (wheat, really).  OK, corn to be rationed from now on.  I'll check their grit tomorrow.  I mix coarser stuff with oyster shell, but I suspect they've picked out all the oyster shell and could do with some more. 

PS you probably know 'tattiebogle' is a Scottish word for scarecrow.  A bogle for tatties (potatoes).  As an exiled Scot living in England and considering the scruffy old clothes I wear when I am on the allotment I thought it was a suitable name!

At present I have 3 ex batts, an orpington cross, a speckldy and a white sussex. Might have a leghorn and another ex batt arriving on Sunday!!  Getting about 3 or 4 eggs a day at the moment.  After my last lot went I thought I wouldnt have chickens anymore as I thought I'd concentrate on the garden but that lasted 2 days!!  Found the garden was too quite and missed them rushing to greet me when I went into the garden!!

pologirl

We have 3 hens, a black rock, a northumberland blue and a sussex white. We got them at POL May 2011 and they lay between 2 and 3 eggs per day. They are such characters, great fun and really bring our garden to life. They love 'scratting' around in the garden when we let them out of their run. We don't free range them all of the time as we know there are foxes in the woodland nearby.

I wondered if I could ask a garden/chicken question? Our lawn really needs some attention. I'd like to feed it and also apply some lawn weedkiller but I'm guessing the products will be toxic to chickens? Does anyone know if there are any lawn products which are safe to chickens?

For what its worth, I have 5 ex bats. Had them for about 3 years now.  Their diet is predominately mixed corn, with some layers pellets thrown in.  They get all their grit from their run, appx. 30 sq. yds. They have boiled potatoe skins and love pasta and porridge. No probs at all, just too many eggs sometimes, ha ha. No soft shells though.

They are the greatest characters and come out with me into the garden. We surround ourselves with wire netting and they have a great time following the fork.There are always exceptions to every rule.

sotongeoff
pologirl wrote (see)

We have 3 hens, a black rock, a northumberland blue and a sussex white. We got them at POL May 2011 and they lay between 2 and 3 eggs per day. They are such characters, great fun and really bring our garden to life. They love 'scratting' around in the garden when we let them out of their run. We don't free range them all of the time as we know there are foxes in the woodland nearby.

I wondered if I could ask a garden/chicken question? Our lawn really needs some attention. I'd like to feed it and also apply some lawn weedkiller but I'm guessing the products will be toxic to chickens? Does anyone know if there are any lawn products which are safe to chickens?

I don't think there is anything really-last year around weed/feed time I confined them to the run for weeks.

According to the instructions it is more lethal to rabbits and grazing animals-but better safe than sorry.

Unless others know different?

FloBear

I'm surprised, polegirl, that you have any grass left to weedkill! Mine has all gone. I'm thinking I will have to plant a variety of woody shrubs to stop the area looking like the Somme or the Sahara depending on the season.

Does anyone have any handy hints for what to plant in the 'free-range' part of the garden (which is the part nearest the house) so the chooks can have their fun but the humans have something nice to look at?

Thank-you

FloBear

No eggs today - what's going on?

sotongeoff
FloBear wrote (see)

I'm surprised, polegirl, that you have any grass left to weedkill! Mine has all gone. I'm thinking I will have to plant a variety of woody shrubs to stop the area looking like the Somme or the Sahara depending on the season.

Does anyone have any handy hints for what to plant in the 'free-range' part of the garden (which is the part nearest the house) so the chooks can have their fun but the humans have something nice to look at?

Thank-you

FloBear

No eggs today - what's going on?

I think it must be the weather -we can blame that-we have not had six eggs in one day for months-just the way it is.I can emphasise about the Somme-I put bark chippings down in the run which just gets scratched away,the straw I put down on Thursday is just a soggy mess and they now have trench foot-(made up the last bit)

sotongeoff

Mrs Geoff has had this idea of putting a tarpaulin or groundsheet over the top or even a gazebo-they have a covered pen inside the run and the bottom of the coop is like dust bath so there are dry areas.

The cover bit would be tricky too keep in place so going to hold off for now-the trouble is that there is no chance of it drying out sometime soon.

I can see someone going over like Margot from the Good Life

junohart

this book is great fpr ideas of chicken and people friendly gardens: "Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard" by Kate Baldwin.  On the quagmire subject, I have a run, but also a Cube with attached run with a clear plastic cover, so they have a nice dry area in the rain - my Brahmas need it with their feathered feet!