The chicken coop, ladies and gents, has landed. Cue enormous excitement in our house. (Except for my husband who was ‘volunteered’ to put it together. He disappeared, muttering, into the garage sometime last week and has only just emerged.) Four more screws need to be put into place, then I’ll be allowed to photograph it.
It is a chicken coop with run attached which means I can put the chickens inside if we are out for the day. It has a little ladder up to their bedroom and laying area and I also purchased a wire skirt for the outside to make it extra secure against foxes. And it has a heart for a window. The latter is obviously not the reason why I purchased this particular model. Ahem.
Now I just need to buy some chickens.
Oh, and also, learn how to look after them.
On my last post I’d been doing some research into the different types you can get. The prettier, pure breeds (it all sounds very Harry Potterish) don’t lay as many eggs as the hybrid ones. Because I want to make cakes with my eggs and my son is rubbing his hands thinking of an egg business, we are looking at hybrid chickens. Apparently they lay around 300+ eggs a year.
But where do you buy them from? This is a complete foreign entity for me. We don’t know our new area very well and I’ve never purchased chickens before. I worry about being sold some dodgy chicken only for it to be full of something, um, dodgy. In the future I would like to rescue some ex-battery chickens (from the British Hen Welfare Trust) but I want to gain some experience looking after chickens before I take on some needing a bit of extra TLC.
However, I followed my nose. After finding the British Hen Welfare Trust website, I also came across a hen house made for them by Flytes So Fancy. This is a British family firm based down in Dorset who make a solid, excellent quality hen-house (no cheap import for me that will only last two years) with heart windows. Heart windows! (Yes, it honestly had no bearing on my decision to purchase). I bought the Haven Hen House. Through their website I also found a Poultry Breeder Directory. Brilliant. And came across Mini Meadows Farm. Not only do they have rare breeds and bantams but also over 500 hybrids in nine different colours. And and they run introductory courses on how to look after chickens. They are all fully vaccinated (major tick) and can be delivered – so no squawking chickens as I’m driving along.
I’ve booked myself on the course. It is this weekend. I will, of course, report back.
Incidentally if you were wondering about whether or not we managed to reach the duck eggs on Duck Egg Island. Well, there they are above. And we’ve had more since. They’ve made the best gingerbread I’ve ever made.