A Cottage in Clarkville


Chickens
January 5, 2010, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Farm

Here it is, the much-anticipated Chicken report.

When we moved in there was a chook house and run attached to the barn.

Obviously it looks a bit ramshackle but I have replaced some of the roofing iron and reclad the main wall and I believe it is weather proof.

We started off with 4 ten week old brown shavers, and as soon as we got them they started firing out eggs, they hardly missed a day. We decided that we would let them completely free range around the place, and this worked fairly well for a while, except for the odd scratching frenzy in the vege garden. However they started to get a bit bolder and going further afield. One day on my way home I found one of them on the roadside and so I picked it up and brought it back in the car with me.

One sad day one of the chickens didn’t come home. Despite much looking around and contacting neighbours it has never been seen again. Since then we haven’t really let them out much, and they are confined to their coop and run.

So we now have 3 hens, no names for them but all well-loved. They eat layers mash with a bit of maize added to it, this goes into the metal feeder which hangs from the roof beside the water dispenser. I normally add some apple cider vinegar to their water as an organic wormer. They also get some scraps and also some weeds from the garden occasionally to scratch through. There are about 6 laying boxes to choose from, but they always lay in the same one as each other, normally the 2nd one along. On the floor is untreated wood shavings that we get from the nearby sawmill. I just replaced the wood shavings yesterday. They do have a perch to sleep on, but they refuse to use this, and instead huddle together on the floor by the door. When we first got them I would go out each night and lift each one onto the perch as I thought they just needed a bit of teaching. They would stay up there ok, but have never slept their on their own accord.

I have been asked by friends who are looking at getting some hens, how much room they need each. I consulted the book that my Mum used to have at home about poultry to find the answer to this, and was shocked that it is not the right thing to do to have an outside run like ours. The book was published in 1980 and says that this has been known for a long time! It is untidy and unhygienic apparently! I will now do some more research to find out what to do. The short answer to the question seems to be 60 sq cm. Surely that can’t be right? Also only one laying box per 5 hens is needed, not 2 each as ours have. So some more reading to be done, in the meantime our hens seem happy and healthy, and they continue to lay an egg each day, so things can’t be too bad for them.


3 Comments so far
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Cool. we have our chicken run already to go. Won’t get chickens though until we’re back from our honeymoon in May though. I’m very excited about them!

Comment by Emily Burton

Our hens at Ripponvale were all good in the run, which wouldn’t have been that much bigger than your current run. We must of had 10 hens and that blinking kamakazee rooster. I think Mike King would be happy with your hen’s living conditions. Only happy hens lay!

Comment by Hayley

Chicken brains…?

Comment by Anya




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