Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Cat among the Pigeons (or in this case chickens and not really among, more like anywhere but)

I'm not very popular today. The girls haven't been allowed out of their run today and I keep getting pleading looks from them. Now before you go complaining that I should let them out there are a couple of reasons why I haven't.

1. My Fraidy Cat
Sophie is very scared of the chickens, if she comes back from being out on the town and they are out in the garden, she won't come in. She'll just sit the other side of the fence meowing pitifully - a noise that I cannot bear to hear from her! So I am trying to encourage her to be a bit braver and have got her halfway down the garden (we played with some grass) until the girls made a noise and then she ran off again. She has woken me up in the middle of the night for the past two nights meowing at me so I am determined that she's not going to be in sleeping all day (therefore up all night), hence why she needs to be able to go out in her garden.

2. Yesterday I was sick. Proper sick. Sick where I couldn't even keep water down. I came home from work early and let the girls out and laid on the sofa waiting for death (I was really sick - honest). I heard the scraping and scrabbling about in the gravel and went out to find that they'd dug up all the gravel right down to the membrane underneath (to stop the weeds) and then they were trying to get the membrane up to get to the earth underneath. Of course, when one started to do it, they all had to have a go so there were several ditches in the border and I could have done without have to tell them off and put them away as punishment.

Last night, Yoko had gone to bed by 8pm as usual and Mabel put herself to bed at around 9 or so, Omelette was last up (again) and just before we were off to bed she made another bid to get in the house, this time attempting to fly in, except her wings are clipped and she can't fly, so she attempted to flap her way in, which of course doesn't work! Stupid chicken.

Anyway, the eggs seem to be coming well, two yesterday and two again today, one really big one and one smaller one, both laid before 10am! I think these girls are morning layers but still only two between the three of them - not sure who's not laying but that doesn't matter, we enjoy having them (well the gorgeous one doesn't enjoy his poo duties) and would keep them if they never laid another egg.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

We care a lot

More Eggs! Two on Thursday and two Friday. Only one so far today but I don't think anyone has checked for a good long while. Perhaps it's because I went away for a couple of nights or perhaps it's because they have settled in a bit more now and are getting used to be out and about in the garden more often. It's not like I can ask them is it? Well, I could but I'm not sure I'd get an answer and people already think I'm strange so if they think I talk to the chickens my sanity rating might be shot all together (okay, don't tell ANYONE, but I do talk to them a bit).

The gorgeous one and the boy child went off this morning and bought some mealworms for the girls and they LOVE them. Apparently, when they first tasted them they went into a bit of a frenzy, think cats and catnip! Luckily, there were still some for me to give them later on today and I can tell you that they are very, very keen on them. The girl child fed them some mealworms too but was a little nervous and they ended up having to jump as she wasn't holding them low enough for them but she got the hang of it in the end. The girls do get a bit over excited and tend to not care so much which are fingers and which are worms!

The girls are all sprouting lovely new plumage although Omelette is still very bald on her neck, but she has these lovely fluffy light brown feathers on her legs, it's lovely and heartwarming to see them look so much healthier than four weeks ago when they arrived with us. You can see that they are ex battery chickens though as their beaks are blunt where they burn them down to stop them from hurting each other when they are in such small cages. It makes me very angry. I also get angry when I walk round Tesco and see people with battery eggs, these clearly say "from caged hens", what do people think? That these cages might be a bit bigger or do people just not care enough? Maybe I care too much? The gorgeous one is the same...

They are in a little routine as well now. Yoko is an early to bed girl, she likes to be tucked up by about 8pm in one of the nesting boxes. Mabel and Omelette then stay out and wander about until about 9 or so and then Mabel will turn in next, leaving Omelette without a nesting box to sleep in. She has a tendency to go in and stare at the other two and then snuggle in with one of the other two. The gorgeous one read on a web site somewhere that it's very common for ex-bats to sleep snuggled up together and not to perch on their perches.

Sophie is still not happy about the girls, she seems to try to come back and then spies them and panics. Hopefully she'll learn to ignore them. Bless her she's such a sensitive soul, I need to try to explain to her that we had to rescue the girls like we had to rescue her, perhaps when I explain that they should have a kinship as rescue animals, she'll be less afeared. Ah, yes you've caught me out there, I have to admit that yes, I do talk to my cat, but if you have a cat you'll understand! And if you haven't, go rescue one!

Monday, 21 June 2010


Another day for the girls to be free ranging, another day to have a garden covered in poo. We're going to build a little fence to block in the decking so that we don't have to hose the decking down every time the girls come out and also so I can have the door open in the summer without having to guard it from them coming in the house. I wonder how long it will take the gorgeous one to get round to that!?!

Omelette was again proving that she is the source of all amusement of the three of them - picture the scene....

A quiet suburban garden, three happy chickens wandering around pecking at the ground, occasionally clucking to each other, a little blackbird flies into the garden with a cherry from the tree and starts to eat it. Omelette spies this bird, notices that it is eating something and runs full pelt, ET waddle and all, she chases the bird round the garden until it flies away.

All the girls like to run though, it's as if one of them remembers they have the space to do it, they go ahead and run down the garden and then they all want to do it.

I had a moment of panic earlier, I could only see two chickens - where on earth was the other one? A quick search revealed Mabel hiding behind the shed, where there seems to be a few empty snail shells - perhaps Mabel is a French Hen!?!

This afternoon we had a bid for freedom - or so it seemed... I heard some strange noises from outside and looked out of the window to see Yoko had made herself a little nest in the gravel near the decking, aah, I thought, how cute. The she started to scratch around a bit, still quite cute, then she started to dig. Away came the gravel, down to dirt (and dirt is hard to find in my garden I can tell you), the unwanted gravel was hoiked onto the decking to join the piles of poo, followed by a whole load of dirt. The other two were stood nearby acting as look-outs (or so it seemed), until Yoko stopped - yay! - only to let Omelette have a go - boo!

Should I be saying goodbye to my nice garden?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Hippy Chicks

The girls are really coming into their personalities now and they are very different.

Mabel - Mabel is the more demure of the three girls. When feeding them some corn yesterday, the gorgeous one had to take her off and feed her separately because she isn't as forthcoming as the other two. I still think she's "special".

Omelette - She's the funny one. She's the one who runs up the garden and will chase the gorgeous one around the garden. She's also the one who doesn't normally get a nesting box at night (not that they are supposed to sleep in their nesting boxes, but try telling chickens that).

Yoko - I'm afraid that she is the bully. She'll push the other two out of the way to get to the food and will peck them to keep them away from the food. Yesterday we had to take her away from the food to let Mabel and Omelette have some!

The gorgeous one picked her up and brought her over to where we were sat and held her on his lap for a bit. She looked at him very strangely but didn't seem too fussed to be on his lap. I did give her some corn and it was very funny because I was sat and she was literally jumping up to take the corn from my hands! Chickens jumping is a very amusing thing to see.

I've got up and let them out of their run this morning and they are all in their run still. The gorgeous one is going to clean them out now, maybe this will help with our lack of eggs - oo he's just got an egg! We bought them some special tonic yesterday that is supposed to stimulate egg production, Cider Apple Vinegar it's made of. Thing is, on the label for the tonic it doesn't tell you how to use it - a bit daft eh? Anyway, I went on tinternet and found several sites and one that explained how to dilute it with their drinking water. Perhaps it's started to do it's job already?

We also looked at buying them some mealworms and have discovered (again on tinternet)that chickens really like them and they are very nutritious for them, next purchase now for them I think. There's a lot of very helpful information on tinternet, including how to grow your own mealworms (I don't think I'll be going quite that far!), keeping chickens seems to be a good hobby for a lot of people. We have also got several books - "Chickens as pets", "you and your chickens", "hens in the garden - poo on the decking".

The girls are also growing back the feathers that they lost when they were battery hens, both Mabel and Yoko have these soft, downy, fluffy white feathers coming through, Yokos are on her neck and Mabel looks like she's changing colour completely as the new feathers on her legs are white!

Aside from all the poo, they really are very rewarding, I could watch them all day and the gorgeous one has never been so happy with a Christmas present as he is with these girls! I hope he doesn't think that means he has a chance for a goat...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Chase is better than the Catch

We have a new game at Casa del Chicken, it's called Chicken Chase. Now before you go grabbing the phone and dialling the RSPCA for cruelty to chickens - it's not what you think....!

On Monday, the chickens were out all day and I thought I'd give them some bread as a treat (yeah, I know, super generous aren't I?). As soon as I walked out to them, they all came over to see what I had for them (so presumptuous). Yoko wanted whatever I had in my hand, despite there being tons of crumbs on the floor, she would just take what I had in my hand and drop it on the floor ready to take the next bit and peck any of the other two who tried to take bread from me! Mabel wanted to peck my toes instead of eat the bread (bless, I think she may be the "special" one) and Omelette just hoovered up whatever Yoko was dropping on the floor!

Anyway, I started to feel a bit crowded by the three of them so I went to walk off towards the back of the garden and they all followed me, so I walked a bit faster - and so did they! When the gorgeous one came in from work, I told him to go into the garden, say hello to the girls and then run up the garden, which he did and the chickens chased him, so he ran around the garden for a bit with 3 chickens running after him. I'm not sure who enjoyed themselves more, the chickens chasing him, or him being chased by his "girls"! It's actually very comical to see Omelette running up the garden with her wings out. Remember the scene from ET where ET runs and he kind of does that side to side waddle type running thing? Well, that's what Omelette looked like, I'll try and capture it in a photograph at some point to show you.

In other news, the girls seem to be slowing up on their egg production at the minute. The gorgeous one says he's looked it up and it can be caused by a change in their diet - well on Saturday they ate corn, bread, my homegrown lettuce, grass and anything that had fallen from peoples plates! Back to only crumb for the girls now I'm afraid, I've only had two eggs - the gorgeous one keeps giving them away!

And finally....
Is there a market for chicken poo? We seem to have an awful lot of it....

Monday, 14 June 2010

I always feel like somebody's watching me....

Oh, yeah they are - 3 chickens, staring at me through the patio doors. Lined up like some sort of chicken mafia.


This Saturday was not only important because of the football you know, the girls had a very important day as well. Their first day of being allowed out, free to roam around the garden. Firstly, the gorgeous one and I had to clip their wings (well one wing anyway). He put a chair by the coop and explained to me where I needed to cut - ah, I was the one doing the cutting was I? Mabel first. She's a very placid chicken really and let the gorgeous one pick her up and allowed me to clip her wing with hardly a cluck. Yoko next and a few clucks but not too much difficulty either. Omelette however, wanted everyone to know how upset she was and clucked and fought not to be picked up, but we got to her eventually as well.

The three of them stayed by the coop initially but after a while got more adventurous and started to explore the whole garden.

The gorgeous one had decided to give their coop a good clean out as they are 3 poo machines really and their house was full of poo. So he disassembled their perch area and took all the straw out of their nesting boxes in order to clean and air it. Whilst it was airing Mabel decided that she wanted to go and use the nesting box to give us a lovely egg, but she was most upset to find that there was no straw or even a route to get to the box. The boy child and I suggested that the gorgeous one put the coop back together and give Mabel some straw, which he did and as soon as it was done, Mabel was in it and after much squawking and shouting, she gave us a lovely fresh egg, which was the first one I found since we had the girls!

We had a barbecue with friends and family over and had quite a houseful really with children and screaming and shouting, even before the football started. The girls coped beautifully. We had corn on the cob on the barbecue and after we had finished, we gave our leftovers to the girls who liked it a lot, even taking it from our hands. They were on the decking when it was full of people and Omelette even ventured into the house, quickly shooed out by yours truly as there will not be chicken poo in my house, thank you very much!

So, whilst not a very successful day for England, a very successful day for 3 now free range chickens.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Girls, girls, girls!

Today, I am blogging from Germany, so the news I'm getting is second hand, think about a news company that has a reporter on site, well that's me and the girls today.

On Tuesday night, the girls looked like they had put themselves to bed (which is incredibly cute) so I went to shut them in for the night and Omelette decided that she didn't want to go to bed so when I went to shut the door, she dashed out into the run, clucking at me, so I left her to it, 5 minutes later she'd gone up to bed! Typical! Mabel and Yoko were sharing a nesting box that night - aah!

I got up extra early yesterday to catch a flight so I went down and let them out into their run, I checked for eggs and unfortunately there were none, lots and lots of poo but no eggs. I must explain that the girls don't seem to realise that they are not actually supposed to sleep in their nesting boxes, only lay eggs in them. They don't want to sleep standing up - and who can blame them?

The gorgeous one has run out of wood shavings which are used to put in the bottom of their perch area and he has been putting in the run as well. He had a grand idea that he would put straw in the perch area and that would make for another nesting type area for them. When he arrived home last night the girls had decided that it was a rubbish idea and had taken all of the straw in the perch area and pushed it into the run! You can't tell these girls what to do!

They seem to have slowed down to one egg a day now, not that we could have managed to eat 3 eggs a day anyway!

I haven't even had one of our eggs yet - roll on Saturday and poached eggs on toast!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010



Three battery hens, rehomed in suburban town giving them new lease of life.


New family decide to call them, Mabel, Yoko and Omelette.


Some bright spark suggests I write a blog about them.


Many suggestions for blog name, causes much amusement for lots of people that have too much time on their hands.


Name decided and blog created and this is it.