After our disaster earlier in the year we took a while to get some new chickens. It was just too depressing, and we decided we needed to get our fencing sorted before we did anything more.
Our two remaining brown hens were fairly reliably laying, so we rarely had to buy eggs, which was positive, but we still wanted more.
We had a man in to redo our fencing properly. I’ll write more on fencing a few days, but suffice it to say this was the real thing. He said he thought our fox-proof fencing was actually OK, we just needed to get our electric tightened and add an extra row just off the ground, which he did for us. It also helped that he fixed the rest of our fencing, as we had much less which was shorting out across the full length.
So last month we decided to get some new chickens, and after looking around, and exclaiming at the price, we decided to go back to bantams. We started with bantams, and I always felt they had lots of personality, and with their smaller eggs having more doesnt give quite the same egg overload (as I can happily eat four or five for lunch, and it’s the same as three or so normal eggs). We got five, four hens and a cockerel.
There’s still some debate on cockerels, and I’ve read a couple of articles saying they can be dangerous. My view is that they make the hens happier, and that all animals need to be treated with respect, if they feel threatened they can become violent. So I’d still suggest keeping one, and just being aware of them. Which is not to say that I’ve not heard of some fairly evil cockerels (attacking their own hens and being vile) – but if you get one of those, then there’s an obvious answer, and there are always more cockerels. We’ve never had to pay for one…
The cockerel is a Japanese bantam, then we had three silver laced wyandottes (reminiscent of Bella Bella, who I describe in my book – see link on the left. I promise – no more plugs. Probably), and a brown one. At first they were very skeptical of us, and hid in our rather large amount of nettles. After a week or so, and having cut down half the nettles, they became friendlier, and while they’re not yet eating out of my hand, they’re not far off.
The first night we locked them in the ark so they’d know it was home. Unfortunately it was dark and we didn’t close it properly, so they got out easily the next morning. This means they’ve found another place to nest, somewhere in the remaining nettles, and we aren’t currently getting any eggs from them. I’m not sure what to do about that, but I’ll figure something out in due course…
The cockerel, getting in amongst the ducks for food:
Three silver laced wynadotte hens in front of the ark they spurned: