Chicken keepers of the world unite



  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    Evening all.  Chickens were let out of the pen for a roam round the garden for the first time today.  Well 2 of them did but one still too nervous.  The white one didn't want to go back and hopped onto Mr Soup's knee and started to settle down for the night on his lap!  Wasn't happy at all to go back behind bars. 

    Still no eggs.

  • Took a few weeks for ours to start laying so relax Soup Dragon, it will happen.

    Did your girls come from Omlet.
  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    Not from Omlet hope, from a chicken farm near Guilford.  They were very helpful and clipped the wings and everything.  All 3 are now happily pecking round the garden.  I'll take some  better photos over the weekend.  Can't believe how restful they are to have around -  but the flowers and getting eaten.

  • Your garden will get trashed Soupy if you allow them to free range everywhere. You will end up with no flowers, and big bowls where the lawn used to be where they create dust bowls. I bought some of the chicken fenching from omlet and they can range in/out of their run and up the side of the garden. They seem very happy with that!

    My girls came from Southmead Poultry in Leatherhead, and they were a really good price. Warrens are £10.00, and think I paid £12.00 each for the other 3.

    I love watching the girls. Wait until one finds a worm and then legs it, and the others will run like mad things trying to take it off her.

    By the way, we have met, fairly sure I shouted hi to you when we were on the first lap around the park at the Brighton Marathon this year.
  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭
    I did Brighton yes!  And somebody did say hi on the first lap.  I was walking up the hill.  Hi again!! image

  • That was me!
  • I'll have to work on uploading pictures  We have 5 hens and 1 cockerel, in a covered in run we call Cluckingham Palace.  They have an Eglu Cube, but the run gives them lots of freedom and they are protected from foxes - we've lost two lots in the past, one in winter, one in summer, each time during the day. 

     They are allowed out of the run when we are in the garden, but don't seem very inclined to wander far, although they do like grubbing about in the orchard for bugs.  They love this time of year, as they get the corpses of the mice the cats kill, which they can't eat them fast enough!  They somehow manage to eat them whole.

  • Hi Rosemary, look forward to seeing your pics of Cluckingham Palace!

    I saw that tv show the other day 'The private life of chickens', and on there they had a chicken eating a mouse - yuck.

    Took me for ever to decide between the Cube and the Eglu, in fact, I changed my mind the day before delivery, and Omlet were excellent.
  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    Cluckingham Palace - love it! image  Ours only go in the garden when we are around and its not big enough to fence off anything so we'll just put up with a trashed garden.  They've been going mad chasing midges the last couple of days.  We had a neighbour from across the fence come running round to us last night to warn us about a fox in her garden - she was so worried, bless. They've become very popular.

    Got our first egg today.  Only one, so we are waiting for another so we can both indulge in a poached egg delight together. image

  • We are overrun with eggs at the moment, we had 5 today!  We barter them with our horsey neighbours for horse manure for the veggie patch, but they only have 12 a week.  Going to start freezing them for when they go off-lay in the winter.image  They'll be happy tomorrow, I've been cutting up melons for a fruit salad, so there are lots of seeds to eat and rinds to pick at!
  • Soup Dragon  congratulations on your first egg - an exciting event.

    If you are going to poach the eggs, leave them a couple of days, fresh eggs do not really poach (or boil) very succesfully in my experience.

    We are over run with eggs at present - time to make a batch of pickled eggs.

  • ok.. this is going to be a really stupid question..  no.. I mean..  REALLY stupid...

    How do you boil an egg..?   Or..  more specifically..  how do you peel a boiled egg..?

    I can never seem to peel one without taking half the egg with it..

    What am I doing wrong....?

  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    DV - I always make sure eggs are wet when I peel them and it seems to help but I don't know why.

    Another egg appeared today. image  Is it usual for chickens to lay during the day?  On Johnny's advice the poached egg delight will be delayed to tomorrow. Ta.

  • DV - My husband just cracks the top off with a knife and then scoops the bit in the 'lid' out. Meanwhile I am a peeler, normally go ouch, ouch, but I am good at it.

    Chickens normally lay before lunch SD, most before brekkie!
  • Dark Vader, as Johnny Again says, fresh eggs are not ideal for boiling.  This is because the fresher the egg, the less air inside the shell, meaning there is no space to peel them, although trying to do so under running water helps.

    You can tell how fresh an egg is by whether it lies flat on the bottom of a bowl of water (completely fresh), has one end pointing up (slightly less fresh) or floats.

    Planning to deal with current egg glut by giving a dozen eggs each to friends coming for dinner tomorrow, making egg custard-based bread and butter pudding for them to eat and freezing any left.  OH won't eat pickled eggs.

  • Rosemary, I regularly give eggs to the neighbours to help compensate for the noise the girls make in the morning!
  • Hopetofinish, most of our neighbours have chickens as well, we are in the semi-rural part of Essex!  We get the joys of a crowing contest in the morning between the various cockerels in the area.  We do manage to get rid of a dozen eggs a week to one set of neighbours in exchange for horse muck though, which is handy for veggies. 


    This is Cluckingham Palace, also known as Cluck House.

  • and here are the girls and Rocky, the rhode island red cockerel:

    There are five here, Mrs McQueen is lurking at the back and can't be seen very well.

  • Very nice set up you have there Rosemary.

    I am in the middle of a town. But two neighbours to one side have chooks its just the ones on our right that don't. To be fair to them they have never complained!
  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    Brenda enjoying our garden this afternoon. image
  • When boiling an egg, put a couple of pinches of salt in the water.

    They peel really easy after that.

  • Thanks Hopetofinish, we are so pleased with the new run, it really gives us peace of mind.  Soup Dragon, that's a lovely picture - do you have any flowers left now?  Ours scratch them up looking for bugs and worms.
  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    rosemary - we've got a few flowers but Mr Soup is madly replanting them into some raised beds and containers. I think we might have to buy a jet washer for the patio as well - fed up of chicken poo! I love having them out of the run though.  I feel sorry for them cooped up and might buy a run extension for them, especially after seeing Cluckingham Palace. image

  • Soup Dragon - a walk in run is the way to go if you have the room for it. Mine really wasn't very expensive, and in the winter stays lovely and dry.

    Just had a sniff by, from our resident fox. Watched it from the kitchen window. Girls were getting ready to go into the eglu and were roosting on the branches in their run. They just stayed very still as he circled. Hate foxes.

    Brenda - a fine example of a happy chook!
  • Another chicken owner here.... 2 exbats and 2 others that were rehomed to me. image

    I have the Omlet Cube, did have the eglu  but upgraded to the Cube. Love it, its so easy to keep clean and no bending down to collect those lovely eggies.

    I have a walk in run too as dont trus the local foxes or cats to leave my girls alone, but they do come out when am in the garden for worm digging and stuff. image

    Chicken keeping is very rewarding and think everyone who can should have 2 or 3 in thier garden. xx 

  • Hi Dizzy Deb and welcome!

    If you can, post a pic!

    One of mine has gone broody again, so have had to put on the gardening gloves to lift her off the nest as she was seriously considering pecking me!

    Have to cure her of this quickly, as their is only 1 nest box, it is really annoying for the rest of the chooks.
  • Soup DragonSoup Dragon ✭✭✭

    Welcome Dizzy Deb. 

    I let my three out of the pen today and two of them just lay stretched out sunbathing.  The funny thing is they then both tried to stretch out on a chair (the same one) and then rolled over to the other side and both fell off each side - daft things.  image 

    Hope - how do you stop broodiness?

  • SD - To stop broodiness, you need to be a little harsh I am afraid. I put mine in a dog crate with food and water, and then put that in the middle of the walk-in-run. I left her in there overnight as well and just popped a blanket over the top, as it was really warm. Essentially you stop then from 'nesting' and snuggling down.

    My last one I dunked its bottom in cold water which is also recommended - sounds mean but does no harm. When they are broody they sit in the hen house all day, and barely come out for food or water. It is not good for them, when there is no prospect of chicks.

    Normally this cures them of it in a day or two.

    The above makes me sound awful, would like to confirm that my chickens are beautifully looked after!
  • Cruel to be kind then hopeto... image

    Not much room in my garden for a walk-in run so going to get an extension to the eglu standard run.  I'm sure for just 3 ladies it will be fine. Its not as if they want to venture very far when I let them out, just want a change of plants to dig up or a new sunbathing spot.

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