Mad about the chicken

Author Archives: Henny Penny

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Every box of eggs we sell in the run up to Easter will be accompanied by one of these ladies, guarding their clutch.

Keeping the chux in during the avian flu scare has been hard for all of us. The one benefit is that the girls have had to lay in the nest boxes so we’ve been able to collect all the eggs without every day turning into an egg hunt.

Once the restrictions are over, we’ll need to turn our attention to isolating Bilbo and his girls so we can collect hatching eggs. We didn’t breed any chicks last year as 2015’s bumper ‘crop’ of 13 out of 14 incubated eggs caught us on the hop so we were pretty close to the limit when we have to notify DEFRA and become ‘official’. This time we think we’ll only do four French Copper Marans and three Cream Legbar or vice versa.


Yesterday was supposed to be the last day of the Prevention Zone measures against Avian Flu so I scheduled ‘worming week’ to coincide with it. When treating chickens with FLubonvet, you have to keep the birds confined so that they have to eat the powder-coated layers’ pellets you provide rather than their usual omniverous diet of grass, worms, unsuspecting slow worms etc. It was a case of killing two birds with one stone (a rather unfortunate pun).

However, last Wednesday, DEFRA extended the Prevention Zone until the end of February. I appreciate that there isn’t a lot they can do apart from tell us to maintain bio-security protocols, especially since they are blaming migratory wild birds, but there will have to come a time when the restrictions are lifted regardless. Maybe we just have to accept that the disease is endemic and live with the consequences. In the meantime, we have to deal with frustrated chickens who are used to being free-range.


Happy New Year everyone! And it’s got off to a good start as the girls have so far laid 8 eggs, their best effort since 5th October. They’re still upset about being kept in the pen due to the avian flu threat but only another week to go unless DEFRA extend the measures.


My ambition to enter a trio into the Llanrwst Show / Sioe Llanrwst has been thwarted for yet another year! Bilbo French Copper Black Marans and Tim “Nice But Dim” Cream Legbar have started to moult. Most of their girls have followed suit, in fact only Jude has no bald patches and she has just gone broody – again – so would probably be disqualified for attacking the judge. Soon, the garden will look like the scene of a giant pillow fight and Megan will be permanently wandering around with a feather or two in her mouth, giving me the abdabs as I think she has been a very, very naughty girl. “Comme ci, comme ca!” as  Bilbo would say.


IMG_3916.JPGFacebook has just reminded me that the surviving Cuckoo Marans are 4 years old today. Happy birthday, Marilyn (Monroe) and George (thought she was a he and was the fifth to hatch, ergo named after George Martin, the 5th Beatle).

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Sold another Cream Legbar boy on Tuesday evening. The birds had already gone to bed when his new owner arrived so I essentially had to dismantle the coops to locate and grab him. She was a liitle disappointed he didn’t have a straight comb – he takes after his dad and granddad – but I explained that I’m having to hold one back as he has a sore eye. He scratched it, or it was pecked, last week but the likelihood of it getting completely better is reducing. My poor boy! He’s the tamest so is a favourite. The other is earmarked for being showed as a part of a trio in the local country fair, another event on my chicken checklist.