First off an apology to all my readers – both here and the Newsletter. I’ve not been active in 2023. A number of reasons including ill health and prioritising what work to do meant this part of the website slipped. I’m now feeling a lot better – my underactive thyroid is finally being treated and it is as though a cloud of exhaustion has lifted! There will be a Poultry Newsletter heading out on 01st February and new articles are being uploaded in our Poultry Help section too. We’ve been busy recently moving the girls around the garden to find the best spot for their chicken run.
Our back garden isn’t huge, but when we first moved in they got given almost all of the lawn area for their chicken run. This was great for them, not so much for Gabriel and us though! There was however an unused area at the end of the garden behind our summerhouse next to the patio. Not huge, but large enough to put the secure run so we could reclaim the main garden.
Once that was set up I wanted the girls to have more space, but without giving them the full garden. At the end of our patio and by the secure run is a raised area under some trees. They would always jump up on here and spend most of their time scratching under the trees and dustbathing. So, Gary set out with our Omlet Fencing and sectioned them off the end of the patio and this raised area under the trees.
They are so happy there. Even when we are sat on the patio they don’t complain to come out of the chicken run area. All three girls are very sedate and heavy so they don’t try and fly over the back wall, if we had flightier birds I’d have to net this off. It’s lovely sitting having a morning cuppa with them scratching under the trees next to us. Well, it is when the weather isn’t either freezing or heavy rain like recently.
We do need to sort the area a bit, such as fixing the retaining wall, but the girls don’t care that it looks a bit messy – in fact they try on a daily basis to make it more so with their happy scratching!
This Winter has also been a joy with not having Avian Flu restrictions in place. Our secure run is built in such a way that it can be fully covered and is fully compliant should restrictions come in, but the girls are far happier having more space to scratch around. As we’re nearly at the end of January I’m hopeful that we won’t have restrictions at all this Winter and Spring. It must be a relief for the larger free range farms too who have really been struggling between rising fuel and feed costs in 2023.
Of course all the girls are on their Winter laying break here. We last saw an egg the first week of October. I’m hopeful in a few weeks they will restart laying and they were consistent all through the Spring and Summer last year so I did manage to get some stored in the freezer at least – all gone now though sadly. With pure breeds you tend to get less eggs per week, longer Winter breaks, but longer lifespan and egg laying years plus less health issues. It’s tempting to add a few hybrids or youngsters into the mix for production, but these 3 are so happy and will lay well this Spring and Summer so I’ll wait another year or so I think.
We’re lucky there are two local smallholders who have large flocks and have sold their eggs all Autumn and Winter as the girls over on John’s smallholding are also on an egg laying break.
The plan now is to get back to regular blogging. I have a few projects this year, including water glassing eggs, that I hope share with you all.
Thanks for reading, Cara.