Chicken Blog - Week 2
I thought I would catch you up with how the chicken courtyard project has been going.
After some very, VERY wet weather, we finally managed to get a roof over the temporary run and what a difference it had made. The hens were so happy to have dry bedding and as you’ll see in the video they wasted no time in getting ‘unpacked’!
They had great fun scratching in the bale of straw, treasure hunting for the sunflower seeds I had sprinkled on it. Our girls were the quietest they have been for some time!
Next week, we will finish cleaning the patio and move the fence to give classes more space to spend time the chickens.
Until then, stay safe and take care,
Chicken Blog - Week 1
I thought I’d write you a little update about our three lovely chickens...
Roxy, Coco and Kitkat started their own lock-down a few weeks ago and are still pretty cross that they can’t run around their whole courtyard. They have been complaining very loudly!
They do have a lovely, but smaller, netted area (with a bush to dig around, dust baths, and climbing logs) that keeps out wild birds. The wild birds can sometimes spread bird flu to chickens so we have made our three ladies super-safe!
Once the yearly migration of wild birds has ended in the spring, our chickens will be free to use the whole area again. I’m looking forward to watching that moment!
Mrs Bushnell has been a fantastic chicken champion over the Christmas holidays, and made sure the girls had lots of warm pellet porridge and sunflower seed treats.
We have had to been very careful when entering the new netted area, as they have been plotting their escape routes and have succeeded once or twice!
In next weeks update, I will tell you all about our exciting plans to transform the courtyard and make it even easier for groups to spend time with our happy hens.
Until then, take care everyone.
Chicken Blog- Week 3
I hope you are all safe and well. Time for another chicken catch up!
This week, I have been experimenting a little with the range of food the girls have. It all started when Roxy succeeded in pulling off yet another of her crazy escape plans and ended up devouring my newly grown spinach. She has a sneaky way of hanging around my feet as I close the gate of their run and she was under my welly and out into the garden as quick as a flash. She ran past the potatoes and spring onions (obviously not a favourite) and jumped straight into the middle of the spinach patch where she began gulping it down with great enthusiasm.
After I had caught up with her and returned her to the run, I began to think that maybe they are bored of the same food each day. I had stocked up on their pellets before the lock-down but they were not having the treats they had been used to from their lovely visitors when in school!
So, this week I have tested a range of treats and here I have ranked them in order-most favourite first.
- Corn on the cobb- a big hit!
- (Look away now Mrs Williams) Scrambled eggs
- Brown breadcrumbs (which won’t come as a surprise to those of you who have fed them in school)
- Sunflower seeds (but not the pumpkin seeds)
- Blueberries – only Birdy seemed interested in these.
Fun chicken fact: Chickens are omnivores. They’ll eat seeds and insects but also larger prey like small mice and lizards!
Watch the little video at the bottom to see Roxy showing off on top of her run.
Chicken Blog- Week 2
Hello again everyone and welcome to week two of my chicken updates.
As you may have seen on the Southfield website, the chickens were busy starring in their first dance video over Easter! It required a certain amount of bribery with sunflower seeds and I knew I would only be able to do one ‘take’ before they got fed up and wanted to get back to their dust bath. Overall, they were pretty professional!
Roxy and Birdy have been very busy digging their latest escape route each day this week. They dig a hole to try to squeeze under the fence and I refill it each evening with mud and so it goes on. I do wonder what goes on in chicken’s brains!
They also seemed to enjoy the recent rain showers we had. Whilst my older hens stayed sensibly in their covered run, our ladies were out exploring. They tried to drink the raindrops dripping from the coop (whilst ignoring their own fresh supply) and looked rather silly with a wet feather ‘hairdo’. They are both so inquisitive and confident and I think that is because they have grown up with the children of Southfield always popping to see them.
As I mentioned earlier, one of their most favourite things to do is have a dust bath. They have been using the dry ground to scratch out a sunny, dusty spot and then they lay down and flap about. This helps to keep their feather sleek and get rid of any parasites. Check out the little video at the bottom. It was taken from a distance because as soon as I go into the garden they hop up and run to see if I have food for them so I have to be sneaky and film from afar!
Roxy and Birdy are missing you all and I know they will be very excited to see you again soon.
Fun fact for the week: If all the chickens on earth were evenly distributed among all the people on earth, each person would have at least 3 chickens!
Chicken Blog- Week 1
Hello everyone! Mrs Richardson here. This is the first of a regular chicken update that will let you know what our lovely girls, Roxy and Birdy have been up to.
Their adventure began when I collected them from school last Monday. Over the weekend, I had set up their new run and all that was needed was for me to ‘pop’ them in a box to bring them home. Well, as it turned out there was way too much ‘popping’! Every time I put one hen in the box and went to pick up the other, the first ‘popped’ back out! This went on for some time and I really wished I’d had one of my chicken helpers or Mrs Bushnell to lend a hand.
Eventually, I had them both in the box and they settled down for the short journey home. As you know, our girls are very confident and inquisitive, and it didn’t take them long to explore their new area.
They have their coop to sleep and lay eggs in, a covered run with their food and water, an outside run to explore and dig in (they LOVE to dig!) and even a polytunnel with a dust bath in. As you will all probably remember, chickens like to stay clean and tidy by flapping around in sand and dry soil.
If you have seen the film ‘ Chicken Run’ you will have some idea of what life has been like since the girls arrived with me. I have to keep a watchful eye at all time because they love to escape and wander around the garden! I know when they are hatching an escape plan because it all goes quiet. The other day, they dug an escape tunnel under their fence and were busy scratching around my trees looking for juicy bugs!
Fun Fact: In addition to the upper and bottom eyelids, chickens have a third eyelid that is hidden in the corner of each of its eyes nearest the beak. This third eyelid is also found in reptiles, amphibians, and other birds. It sometimes acts as a pair of safety goggle, but more like a windshield wiper most of the time. Amazing!