The chicks are now all over 6 weeks old and almost fully feathered. Only Little John the Brahma is still to fully feather up, but even she is nearly there. Brahmas are always slow to feather and grow, but they reach a good size come maturity and have the most lovely gentle nature. Thankfully for us Little John is also a girl! With her plumage almost fully in we can see her pattern throughout – she is a Gold Partridge Brahma – and no indication of the dark chest feathering or other plumage markers for a male of her colouring. Such a relief as Gabriel adores her.
Hens or Cockerels?
We are pretty sure now that we have a 5:6 split of hens:cockerels. Little John plus the two Welsummer girls, one Buff Orpington, and one Spangled Orpington. All three Light Sussex are boys, two of the Spangled Orpingtons (one of these we aren’t 100% sure on, but leaning more towards boy now), and the Welsummer boy we knew from the start.
The little Buff Orpington has quickly become a favourite of ours too as she is so brave and cheeky, we can already see who will be top hen once the boys are culled for the table. The Welsummer girls are both a little flighty so we’re making a special effort to handle them and to start to bribe them with treats now they are big enough.
When it comes to having docile hens it really is important to handle them as much as you can from a young age. Certain breeds are more likely to be docile – hybrids such as Warrens in particular – but good handling and care can often calm even the most flighty of beasts. A mature cockerel can be very powerful and you want him to be as protective of you as he will be of the rest of the flock. We’ve had some beautifully tame cockerels in the past. Little Blackie, my Polish boy, was by far the tamest chicken I’ve ever had the pleasure of keeping. When I came out in the morning he would jump up and perch on my shoulder whilst I carried out morning chores!
Food and Treats for a Young Flock
I personally avoid any form of treats for chicks up until around 6-7weeks old and then once introduced I keep the amount low. We focus on giving them extra greens and the odd smooshy strawberry at the moment. Greens are abundant in our veg bed so they get lots of chard and spinach to supplement their normal feed. We just finished a sack of chick crumb so they have now moved on to growers pellets and we’ve had to add in an extra feeder as the boys in particular are heavy eaters now. In 6 weeks time we’ll split them from the girls and spend 2 weeks getting them table size and ready.
Treat and Run Fun – Omlet Hentertainment Bundle
One thing that I try to avoid is giving too many treats/greens on the floor on the run. Food debris can soon lead to pest problems. We use the Omlet Eglu Feeder and Drinker with Stand which is fantastic for keeping the food in the feeder and not on the floor and when Omlet offered to send us some of their treat caddies and a perch we were eager to try them out.
Our chicks are in an enclosed run at present. This is both because 11 chicks could decimate our garden and veg beds and also to keep them safe from predators which with their smaller size could also be cats (although ours are terrified of them!) An enclosed run needs enrichment to keep a flock happy – toys, treats, places to dust bathe, and places to perch. The pack sent to us included 3 different treat holders and a 2m perch.
Omlet Chicken Treat Holders and Pendants
Of the three caddi/pendants we’ve quickly developed a favourite for our flock, which is the Caddi Chicken Treat Holder. This is perfect for adding greens and garden veg to. It lets the chicks have fun pecking away and pulling out the greens, plus it contains the greens so they don’t just get trampled under claw and into the wood chips. We have ours hung in the corner of the run where it is nicely shaded from the elements and we tend to top it up twice a day for them at the moment.
The two pendant style are great for extra grain treats and I’m, sure as our flock gets older we will use these two more. At the moment we are just using a little additional corn and oats in the Poppy Peck Toy for them as they really enjoy playing with this as much as getting the treats out. As they grow and we add more grains – especially corn in the Winter months – we will make use of both the pendants.
As with all Omlet products the treat holders are well made and robust. They are easy to set up and fix in place plus the chicks seem to really enjoy using them. The caddi in particular I’d highly recommend as it is perfect for adding those greens; especially so for people using a fixed run like we are here.
Omlet Moveable Perch
At the moment our young chick flock are just perching on smaller branches, plus of course the top of their coop when they feel like it! Perching is a natural instinct for chickens that comes from their forest/tree dwelling ancestors.
We didn’t want to introduce a high perch for them just yet so instead treated the flock on the smallholding to the new perch instead. The Omlet Perch comes in two sizes – 1m and 2m – and we received the 2m perch. As we have a large fixed run on the smallholding this was the perfect size for our set-up.
When the perch arrived I was worried it may be complex to set up, but it actually only took a matter of minutes. It is also so secure (we have a strong weld-mesh run for fox protection) attached to the run and the chickens were up and using it within minutes. The perch has a special connector (which you can see in the left of the photo) which clamps around any chicken wire or chicken mesh leaving a secure and very neat looking finish. You can also fix the perch onto wood or into a wall depending on how your run is set-up.
Charlie looked very pleased with herself being first up on the new perch! We’ve found over the past 3 weeks that they are using the perch more and more. Often all four of the older girls can be found waiting on there mid-afternoon; jumping down only when they see their human slaves arriving with their treat bowls.
Omlet Special Offer – Voucher Code
As you can probably tell we’re really pleased with the gifts we were sent. So much so I plan to buy both the Caddi Chicken Treat Holder and the Chicken Perch a second time – a perch for the chicks once they have grown a bit more and a caddi for the OAP girls. We’ve also been lucky enough to be given a voucher code from Omlet (can be used on their whole store) for 10% off using code CHICKAG10 valid until 31st August 2021 so if you also fancy trying out any of the range now is the perfect time to buy.