We’ve spent the weekend making plans for new girls in the garden. A new reinforced coop is being built and, despite the attack in December, we are planning to free range again. Having spoken with neighbours who all free range their hens we do think it was a one off and is a case of us being more vigilant with lock up and let out times.
We are also planning on having a cockerel again along with 3 girls. With neighbours a field or two away we no longer need to worry about noise, plus they all have their own cock birds anyway! Although you don’t need to keep a cockerel with your hens I have found they can be useful for keeping pecking order as well as protection – my boys have always rounded the girls up come bed time making my job a lot easier.
The plan is to go to the Poultry Auction in April and I suspect this year Gabriel is going to love it! Last year he was only 11 months and although interested in the animals he got a bit overtired and didn’t like the loud noise. Since it is mainly due to him asking for his “bwkarks” that we are restocking at home as well as the small holding, we thought we could see which birds he likes the most.
From emails I have had recently it seems feed costs are creeping up again. Since I started keeping chickens the price of a 20kg sack has crept up by over 40%. This is similar to the cost of wheat and grains in the supermarket too. Strangely though the cost of eggs from the supermarket are going down, including free range eggs. This may put some people off from keeping poultry, but the one thing to remember is that even the best kept commercial hens will never be as happy as a small flock in your back garden. Taste wise they will also never be able to compete!