The Orange Tip

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Tag: hens

A Friend For a Lonesome Cockerel

A couple of days ago I headed up to Suffolk to collect two new Buff Orpington hens to add to the brood (and to replace our sadly fox-eaten hen). They were bought from ‘Henhouse’ (www.hen-house.co.uk), a great family-run supplier of free-reared chickens. The place itself was amazing to visit, with breeds of all kinds mixed together, free to roam the extensive grounds of the property. While there, I couldn’t resist bringing back a friend for my now come-of-age and lonely Thuringian cockerel. It’s been tricky trying to incorporate him into the henhouse along with the other two, as they’d peck him relentlessly, and so particularly because of him being so small. As his mum was the chicken lost to the fox he’s had a bit of a sad and lonesome life so far.

So I found a suitable friend for him in the form of a ‘Silver-Laced Wyandotte’, a similarly coloured but smaller breed, and put all six of the chickens in together. Naturally he fell in love immediately, and hopefully this new found masculinity will put him on the road to top of the pecking order. Once he’s learned how to assert himself over the four enormous Orpingtons..

Incubation

I’ve now moved our broody into the tortoise pen so that she is more comfortable and away from the other two. The tortoises are temporarily bunking in with me in the shed.

My bantam-breeding friend Alex has sent me some fertile mixed bantam eggs in the post and I’ve now placed them under the hen, removing all but two of the original infertile eggs, just in case it confuses her. Frustratingly she doesn’t seem to want to feed or drink herself so I’m taking her off the nest once a day for 10-15 minutes to have a drink, feed and a quick scratch around.

I’m still uncertain whether it will be possible to raise bantams under an orpington, but time will tell. 18 days to go..

Broody Hen

One of our three Orpingtons is sitting. She has been doing so for long stretches of the day and yesterday was the first day she didn’t leave the nest box at all. A friend of mine is posting me some fertile eggs from his collection of bantams in Carmarthenshire, Wales; I hope she remains on the nest long enough for them to arrive.

Meanwhile the other two  are having to make do with eachother’s company.

First Egg

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First egg! The chickens can now begin to pay their way.