Damson Cottage Garden

October week 1… Chicken tales

Blimey, has another week shot by already? We have had a week of organising, cleaning, sorting and most importantly moving the chicks out of the bathroom – woohoo! A clean, non-cheeping bathroom! The chicks are now living in a section of the chicken run - made with panels from the old run. We put the chicks in a box at night, with plenty of straw to keep them warm, then let them run around in their run during the day.

The chicks are so curious about the hens – they like to peek over the side to watch the hens scratching around.

Introducing chicks with hens

6-7 week old chicks

Chicks are so frustrating to photograph – in the second it takes me to press the capture button on my camera the chicks move out of the shot, jump about, or turn away from me and put their bottoms in the air!

Impossible to photograph!

Our big hens look a bit worse for wear at the moment – they are moulting and leaving feathers all over the place. It’s normal for hens to moult once a year – they lose their feathers and grow a new set. It starts with the birds losing feathers around their necks, then their back, breast and tail. The real down side of this (apart from feathers all over the garden) is that during moulting, hens stop laying eggs. Unfortunately ours are all moulting at the same time, so we have a distinct lack of eggs. It’s a real pain to have chickens and no eggs! The moulting process takes between 6 weeks for younger birds to 3 months for older ones.

Look at Blue’s neck feathers. You can see they are thinning out and will be re-growing soon.

Bantam araucana moulting

Bantam araucana moulting

When your hens are moulting don’t handle them unless absolutely necessary – as they can be sore from the new feather growth. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have enough protein in their diet. You can buy special chicken food which is higher in protein and will help your birds produce beautiful new feathers.

I better get back to the garden – I don’t know if your garden is exploding with weeds, but ours is! The nettles are growing with determination at the moment, so there is lots of clearing to be done. Hope you are having a great weekend, Jane

4 Responses to October week 1… Chicken tales

  1. Lucy says:

    Wow they are getting so big, L x

    • admin says:

      They grow too fast – I like them when they all fluffy and round! Jane

  2. Sally says:

    Have you ever kept quail? I’m thinking about keeping some

    • admin says:

      I’ve never kept them… but I have thought about it. They look pretty cute and like good egg producers – perhaps in the future, Jane

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