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Everything almost in place for our chickens. Do we have to wait till spring or can we get them now?

(34 Posts)
fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 19:00:15

thread title says it all really. Is there an optimum time of year for bringing chickens into their new home?

fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 19:37:27

anyone know?

fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 21:20:19

late evening bump for any chicken keepers...

DaisySteiner Tue 23-Sep-08 22:25:50

They'll be fine, but if they're point of lay it might be a bit late in the year to expect eggs!

fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 22:28:32

oh fab, thank you grin

Am just looking at local breeders


marmadukescarlet Tue 23-Sep-08 22:29:34

I would get them now, they will still come into lay and you will get a years worth of eggs before the autumn moult and diminshed production that comes with it.

Most modern hybrids will lay well all year round, with a small drop off in winter.

What are you thinking of getting?

fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 22:34:25

am thinking of ancona bantams

am just struggling to find a local supplier. I'd be okay if I wanted a chicken curry hmm

marmadukescarlet Tue 23-Sep-08 22:42:25

Can I politely ask why bantams and not large fowl? I like large eggs so have big birds - although one of my girls only lays a 40g ish egg, she not my biggest bird though.

I had a quick look on the 'keepers site and it says that this breed need lots of room and a roof to their pen as they are good flyers. They are a good looking bird though grin I always feel like one of the lads when I say that!

I have 2 cotswold legbar hybrids and boy do they escape, they take it in turns to tempt the local fox by escaping the electric fence pen and racing around the paddock - luckily for them my ponies chase the fox (dog, cats etc they aren't fussy) so he stays away mostly. <nutters>

fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 22:44:40

you can indeed politely ask... and the answer is because it said in the blurb that they are good layers.

erm... that's it blush

Would you politely point me in the right direction of a more suitable breed? I don't want them to escape! I just really want good layers.

We thought about ex-battery hens, but our nearest supplier is really far away, so I think that's a non-starter tbh.

Am really struggling to find a local supplier, so I may have to wait <<wails>>

NappiesGalore Tue 23-Sep-08 23:10:44

oh theres loads squonk!
what sort of thing you want? good layers obv... you want brown eggs? white? blue/green? or dont care?
ive got 3 of 2 kinds and 2 of one kind (and one each of two other kinds) and my tip would be just to get one of each kind so you can tell at a glance who's who! then you can have loads of different priiiiiidy hens and lots of diff eggs.
i am a leeetle loopy about my chicken habit atm blush

NappiesGalore Tue 23-Sep-08 23:12:21

lots of info on diff breeds here squonk they are a friendly bunch over there - go ask em anything you like! (only forum other than mn ive ever posted more than twice on!)

DaisySteiner Tue 23-Sep-08 23:14:28

And the nice thing about having different breeds is that you can then tell their eggs apart (well, I think that's a nice thing) I need to get some more interesting chickens, I haven't even named the latest two because they're just too boring to even bother blush

fryalot Tue 23-Sep-08 23:15:20

oh fabtastic, NG, thank you. I shall register there tomorrow (off to bed in a mo)

good idea about getting different types...

dp been checking out chicken house plans, he's going to start making their cooop tomorrow <<<excited grin<>>>

NappiesGalore Tue 23-Sep-08 23:16:40

yes i like that too daisy.
i am umming and ahhing over large sheds to convert atm... then wondering if i have time this yr to incubate any chicks. prob easier to wait for spring now for that... but i'll still add the odd young lady, thats for sure grin

NappiesGalore Tue 23-Sep-08 23:18:22

i have my eye on;
white and light sussex
barred ones
old english game birds
guinea fowl
scots greys

and am thinking peacocks might be good... grin

no idea about housing peacocks tho.

DaisySteiner Tue 23-Sep-08 23:21:55

I highly recommend ducks if you haven't already got some - we've had Campbells and Indian Runners and they are just fab. Brilliant layers, big personalities and lots of fun to watch.

marmadukescarlet Tue 23-Sep-08 23:24:53

Aahh, if you are in it for the eggs I would go for a bigger bird. Banties lay rather small ones.

I tolerate my escape artists as they lay fabby blue/green eggs and have cute pompoms atop their bonces.

My most prolific layer is a 3 yr old Marran coucou (brown and white stripes) that I thought would lay dark brown but lays normal egg colour - she was a couple of quid when I got some pol, they said she wouldn't lay many, she's only missed 2 days in 5 weeks and lays a good 70g.

My coral nick (white bird) lays white

my ambers (white base one with few and one with many gingery freckles) lay pale eggs/normal - nice friendly nosy chickens that like to join in activities!

My bluebelle lays mid - dark brown

My speckledy lays a v.small speckledy egg

My Daisybelle/black pearl lays a mid brown with a white speckle.

I love being able to tell who produced which egg - apart from the 2 blue layers, the 2 ambers lay diff shape/size.

Luckily we are nearing full capacity in out hen house or I would continue to get them!

Find a supplier with a selection and go pick some pretty ones, modern hybrids are bred to produce high yeild - better than pure bred birds.

The only downside is in winter it will not be so much fun, not had chooks through the cold/wet yet but have 2 ponies so know what it is like.

marmadukescarlet Tue 23-Sep-08 23:30:37

Squonk, you need to decide what size bird you are getting really before your DH makes the pop hole. A big bird like a Sussex will need a bigger pop hole than a bantum, so err on the big side if not sure.

NG there are some Old English Game at my local RSPCA centre, they are a cruelty case though and cannot be rehomed until after court case over.

I want some more maran, as so disappointed that my coucou doesn't lay choclate eggs (as it were!)

Show us you house plans squonk, I love poultry house porn!

fryalot Wed 24-Sep-08 12:37:57

right, so I really need to find a local supplier of chooks, pop down and decide which breeds I want, then build the house around them...

Then get the birds


this is what dp is basing his plans on at the moment

NappiesGalore Wed 24-Sep-08 16:17:26

ooh tell me about ducks! do you need a pond? and can they live in thesame shed as the hens?

TurkeyLurkey Wed 24-Sep-08 16:27:47

I am a fist time chicken keeper and only got mine 2 weeks ago. I would say go for it, they are ace, mine are only ginger warrens (the type bred for battery farming), but are dead nosy (the keep coming in the house and I have to shoo them out like a farmers wife) and v entertaining. Its not like you have to spend ages outside with them so the weather shouldn't put you off.

In fact I want more but need a bigger house for them (they live in a converted dog kennel at the moment).

Get some! Chicken house looks great by the way, I am v envy

Nappies - I've been entertaining the thought of ducks for a bit but dh ain't keen. So far from what I've gathered they do need water but it doesn't have to be a pond - paddling pool will do. They shit constantly and are very messy, more so than chucks. They will poo in their paddling pool so this will need frequent water changes. They can be a lot nosier than chickens - some breeds are quiter than others. I don't know about keeping them in the same house as chickens....but I don't think ducks perch on roosting bars and chickens do. hmm

fryalot Wed 24-Sep-08 16:55:01

can I pick everyone's brains for a sec?

I have found a local supplier!!! I emailed our local kiddies' farm place to ask for their advice on where to go, and they sell them themselves.

They sell Speckled Sussex, Marans and Buff Orpingtons - we are currently thinking of getting at least one, maybe two of each. Do you lot think these would be okay?

We want nice layers, pleasant, curious birds that will let the littlies pet them occasionally.


marmadukescarlet Wed 24-Sep-08 17:50:55

That's great squonk!

Right, Orpintons are huge, sussex quite large and marans standard sized.

For Orpintons the perch height has to be low as they can damage their feet jumping down, also perch has to be chunkier wood as they (obv) have bigger feet.

In the hen house each bird has to have 9 inches of perch fo rthem to be comfy.

There is a ratio for house/run size and bird quantities for optimum chicken health - also I was advised to go for a house a few birds bigger than you would have eg I bought a 12 house, started with 4 and now have 9 - I wouldn't want any more as would have to clean it out every day! (cannot believe how much the new hens crap, with my 4 I cleaned out every 3-4 weeks <sloven> now I have 9 I clean out every 5 days!)

I will away and hunt for the link for hen housing...

fryalot Wed 24-Sep-08 17:54:39

super marmaduke!

Have printed out your last post and given it to dp so he can incorporate those things into the house before he builds it


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