Hello from a new hen keeper!

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JaneS

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Hello from a new hen keeper!
« on: August 07, 2012, 21:17 »
Been sneaking around here reading lots of posts and thought it was time to say hello!  Got my girls on Saturday night and they are settling in wonderfully.  I was lucky enough to get a hen house from my father in law who had 3 rescue hens for about a year before they went to the great chicken heaven in the sky and he decided not to get any more so I got the house.  Hubby built me an extended enclosure, hopefully fox proof and the girls moved in.  I got 4 light Sussex, called them Agnes, Betty, Coraline and Demelza (note the alphabetism....!) though they all look pretty much the same so not really able to tell them apart yet.  They are starting to loosen up a bit and chill out now, enjoying the different height roosting perches hubby built into the enclosure, scratching about, eating worms and other creepy crawlies.  Bought a 20 tub of mealworms for treats and a hanging up treat bar which disappeared incredibly quickly!  Eating their pellets and drinking fine so I'm happy.  Getting their pecking order sorted out too without too much fuss and drama.

No eggs yet, but my farmer supplier man reckoned it would be another 2 weeks, I check excitedly every morning but no sign yet.  Doesnt feel like it matters though as they are giving me so much pleasure that the arrival of eggs would simply be a bonus!

The arrival of hens is another step in our aim to become not wholly self sufficient but at least part of the way there.  We have raised beds in the garden for salads and bits and bobs, few fruit trees and bushes.  And two allotments on the go as well which is giving up oodles of produce at the moment, hard work keeping up with two of them, especially as they are on different sites, the hope is to eventually have two next to each other but until then we manage! 

Anyway, off to do some reading on diatom and stalosan as both tubs have arrived today and I need to know what to do with it all!

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ANHBUC

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2012, 21:41 »
Welcome to the site JaneS.  Like your introduction and look forward to seeing photos of your hens and set up.  We do love photos on here.   :D ;)
Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens!
Bagpuss RIP 1992 - June 2012, 1 huge grass carp (RIP "Jaws" July 2001 - December 2011), 4 golden orfe, 1 goldfish and 1 fantail fish (also huge)! plus 4 Italian quail, 1 Japanese quail, 1 Rosetta quail.

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andy46

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 22:13 »
Hi Jane this site is very good for advice and everyone is really friendly. As a new keeper myself (3 weeks) my girls have just started to lay last week  the first eggs are like winning a gold medal well worth the hard work. They taste so much better than shop ones. 
Pull up a perch!!

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JaneS

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2012, 22:28 »
Here is a piccie for you!
100_2697 copy.jpg
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 22:31 by JaneS »

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joyfull

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2012, 04:34 »
Hi and welcome, lovely looking hens you have there  :)
Staffies are softer than you think.

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Jo57

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 08:22 »
Lovely hens JaneS. You'll find this site invaluable to help with advice, for those nagging little problems and major panics. It's also great to be able to share anecdotes and funny moments with people who know where you are coming from. Enjoy!

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ANHBUC

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2012, 12:02 »
They do look lovely and happy in their new home.

Looking at the colour and size of their comb I wouldn't be expecting eggs in the next couple of weeks.  You may have to be patient but they are well worth waiting for.  How old did the farmer say they were?

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PaulineM

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 14:38 »
Hello and welcome to the world of henaholics  :D

Lovely hens but I agree with ANHBUC their combs still look quite pale, they will turn almost blood red when they are ready to lay, its sooo exciting when you find the first egg  :D

Be careful with the treats too, mealworms should only be an occassional treat (its very hard to resist the temptation to spoil them)

Have you seen them sunbathing yet? The first time one of my did it I thought she had collapsed and was taking a fit  :lol:
1 Hubby, 2 children, 2 Welsummers, 1 Leghorn Banty, 1 Wyandotte Banty, 1 Barnevelder, 2 Isa Brown, 1 Rhode Island, 1 Goldline,1 Maran, 2 Mottled Leghorns, 1 Leghorn cockerel & 2 Jack Russells

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sneezer

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2012, 15:48 »
Welcome! What lovely looking girls you have  :) 

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JaneS

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2012, 20:46 »
Thanks for your lovely responses, the farmer said they were about 20 weeks and to expect eggs in about 2 weeks, but I'm happy to wait if he's got it a bit wrong, he seemed to have hens of different ages in the pen so I may have a mixture of ages anyway, certainly one of them is a lot paler than the others.   He was feeding them on layers pellets but I've been giving them a mix of growers pellets and layers pellets because I was unsure of age..... advice on this most welcome!!!!

Remark about the mealworms duly noted!   :D

Not seen them sunbathing yet, but saying that... I havent seen the sun since we got them!  Miserable summer.  Hopefully get a break in the weather tomorrow here.

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ANHBUC

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2012, 21:13 »
You can keep them on growers until they start to lay.  Here is a picture of my light sussex bantams at 15 weeks for you to compare.  Cockerel at the front and ladies at either side.

My Black Rocks were 26 weeks old before they started to lay.
Light Sussex Bantams 15 weeks old 005 (600 x 450).jpg

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nerdle

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2012, 09:29 »
Do please announce your first egg - it's a great moment!
I love light sussex hens - when this one snuffs it (probably won't be for years) that's what I'll get.
One grandma and 4 baby Pekins.

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JaneS

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2012, 09:38 »
 :wub: Hens told me off this morning.... overslept (well it is a day off for me today!) and didnt let them out until 8.45, talk about having a grumble!!!  Poor things!  Did their enclosure with Stalosan today and Diatom in the coop so hopefully that will help keep the nasties at bay.  They were so good whilst I was doing it that I treated them to a wild strawberry each, happy hens again now!

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nerdle

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 14:13 »
I got an auto pop hole and a treadle feeder - she gets her own breakfast - easy life!

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JaneS

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Re: Hello from a new hen keeper!
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2012, 20:46 »
Nice idea nurdle but I'm usually up early so it shouldnt be too much of a problem.  Just felt velcroed to the bed this morning as the cat was sleeping on me! 

Had a nice evening with the hens - got to have cuddles with three of them whilst sorting out their coloured leg rings (so we can tell them apart!)  The fourth didnt want to play ball so is ringless at the moment, but not too bothered as now we know which are which.

And discovered they like clover..... reading conflicting advice about whether they should eat it though so advice would be nice from a chickenologist!



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