Sunday 27 February 2011

Mixed weather today, but Chicken Des-Res on track

Just a quick visit to the Allotment today, between the showers.

Topped up compost bins with kitchen waste, veg peelings, tea bags etc.

But look at the Rhubarb, decided not to 'force' it again, so glad as it's doing well in full light.

Crops harvested today: Leeks & Spring Onions.

Chicken News
The sun came out later so carried on with the Chicken run, had to remove 4 wheelbarrows full of soil to get the foundations level with the patio where the Hen house/shed is located.
Despite compacted rain soaked soil, I had to dig away and get the job done, because we had received some excellent news.
The nice lady at the British Hen Welfare Trust e-mailed me this week with a collection date for ex-battery hens, been waiting since before Xmas, so picking the 'girls' up on the 19th of March, can't wait. Did I mention we are re-homing 4 Chickens?
So less than 3 weeks to finish the Chicken Des-Res!

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Rain, rain go away

Chicken News
(our 2011 project to re-home some ex-battery Hens)

Had set my heart on some construction today, but weather was not playing ball. So in between the showers I managed to cut the wood needed to make the Chicken Run/cage & stored the cut lengths in the Chicken Shed to dry out, to make screwing together easier.

But best news of the day, nice lady, Wendy, from the British Hen Welfare Trust phoned me, as I had e-mailed with query on the dates for pick-up, I was told there is a possibility of some mid March so have provisionally reserved four Hens.

So I had better get a move on building the run/cage & fitting out the interior, Sunday weather is looking good so far, there is food & supplies to purchase too.

Watch this space for further Chicken News. Ian

Sunday 20 February 2011

Chicken News
(our 2011 project to re-home some ex-battery Hens)

No Allotment again today, but carried on with the construction of the Hen House.
As you can see the Roof is now on & the 'pop hole' made, all I have to do now is make the pop hole door, which will slide vertically and I have to fit out the interior too.

But the next big construction will be the chicken run, which will be a cage attached to the side of the shed, so our chickens can come outside and still be safely enclosed, just using the 'pop hole' to gain access to nest boxes, shelter in bad weather and when roosting at dusk.
So I'm looking for timber tomorrow to make the run which will be about 2 metres square.

Thanks for reading/returning, look out for the next 'Chicken News' update. Ian.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Chicken & Chitting News

Chicken News
(our 2011 project to re-home some ex-battery Hens)
Lovely, dry, day today, makes a change, so got on with putting up the shed we were recently given, thanks to a friend who was moving house and couldn't take the shed.
So had to re-lay the patio as it had sunk a little in the far corner & shed wouldn't have been level.

So 3 hours later, including a break for lunch, the patio was level & the shed erected. Haven't put the roof on yet as I need to make a pop hole* in the side wall, which will have to be removed to do that.

As you can see it is a lovely shade of Blue, so I had to paint the fence to match, got to make an effort for our Girls!
* a pop hole is the small door the Chickens use to get in & out of the hen house/shed.

Other News
The 'Chitting Station' is doing well, and all Potato varieties are now out.
Top right: Some extra seed potatoes for my wife's school garden.

2nd shelf: Left, Anya salad variety, started 23 Jan
2nd shelf: Right, Rocket early variety, started 31 Jan

3rd shelf: Charlotte early variety, started 23 Jan

4th shelf: Hunter 2nd early, started 31 Jan

5th & 6th shelf: Markies main crop, started 9 Feb

Here you can see a close up of one of the Charlotte seed potatoes with a strong dark green shoot just as it should be.

If yours are white and spindly, they need more light, best to rub the shoot off & start again in a lighter spot.

Ours are kept in an un-heated room near the window, which I find to be the best for 'chitting'.

Thanks for reading/returning, check back soon for further updates & news on the Chickens.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Storm Damage Report

We had some very strong winds over the weekend, Monday was the worst with gale force winds so I expected to find more damage on the Plot today, but surprisingly little.

A few things blown over & the shed roof needs a bit of new felt, but that's just wear & tear, needed doing anyway.

But the most noticeable damage was just one pane blown out from greenhouse roof, luckily 50% of my greenhouse is glazed with Perspex after vandals used it for target practice. So all I had to do was to retrieve the missing pane from next doors plot & fix back in place. The only other problem is that the greenhouse has moved about 6" towards the fence, so will have to move it back, with help of course, despite 50% Perspex it's still damn heavy!

But on a plus note, the Rhubarb is looking better, just needs more sun and away it will go. Might look out some big pots and force it, for some sweet early stems. I have finally got around to 'chitting' the main crop Markies Potatoes and all the others are 'chitting' well too, photo next week.

Chicken News:
(our 2011 project to re-home some ex-battery Hens)
Other commitments & bad weather has slowed down the Chicken coop construction, but we have taken delivery of a 2nd hand shed, almost new, which I am currently treating with Creoseal to hopefully thwart Red Mite attack. Then all I have to do is adapt it for Chickens, with roosting/perch area, nesting boxes & 'pop hole' (door to outside) I am then going to build a run attached to the side of the shed, so they can have somewhere to roam safely outside. Please return soon for more 'Chicken News'

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Allotment & Chicken News

Just a quick trip to the Allotment on Sunday.

Just enough time to top up the compost bin and re-fill the Bird feeders with fat blocks & balls, also put some grain & seed on the new bird table and as you can see a cheeky Robin immediately tucked in. To see Robin click on the photo, then click again to zoom (use the back button to return).

Other news, the 'chitting station' is working well, the Charlotte & Anya, only started 10 days ago have shown signs of sprouting.

The Hunter 2nd early Potatoes arrived and some 1st early Rocket from a magazine offer, so they are
'chitting' now too.

(our 2011 project to re-home some ex-battery Hens)
We went on the 'Introduction to Poultry Keeping' course at Reaseheath College on Saturday, which was very good & very informative. We learnt so much more than we could get just from books & magazines and got to hold a Chicken too, but not one of these, in the picture, these are the Colleges rare breed Chickens & are rather timid. One of the staff picked one up and demonstrated 'Wing Clipping' to us, so I am now confident in doing this when necessary.

We have only thought about re-homing ex-battery Hens, I was talking to another person on the course who told us about ex-barn Hens, so did an internet search and to my surprise there is a local supplier of ex-barn Chickens, so will be going to have a look soon.
Just have to build the housing and a run for them first, will Blog about this soon.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian