Posts Tagged chickens
Sometimes I see statistics which really shock me. I thought I’d include some of them here occasionally as I am very generous and like to share my shock with others!
‘855 million chickens are slaughtered for their meat in Britain each year; only 5% of them are free-range’ (The Independent)
I probably found this particular statistic so shocking as I keep chickens myself . I also thought lots more people bought free range chicken these days. I suppose, the vast majority go into processed foods like ready meals, chicken nuggets and fast food outlets. I don’t even want to think about what the statistic for the whole world would be.
I feel like I’ve just woken from hibernation and gone staggering outside, blinking in the sunlight, marvelling at the things that have appeared since I went to sleep last November. Yes, it’s warming up, the sun is out and I actually want to go out in the garden again. Don’t get me wrong, I have to go out in the garden every day in order to trek up the side of the small mountain with the dogs but, before today, with a couple of exceptions, I’ve gone out and immediately wanted to come back in again and throw some logs on the fire.
Happily, as we are now completely out of logs, having used around double what we usually get through, that may no longer be necessary. I think summer may well be here. Well, it is getting on for the end of May and we are in the South of France so it is about time. What happened with the weather this year? We had snow at the beginning of May! Is it the volcanic ash cloud messing with the climate as well as with the flight schedules?
Anyway, I was out there watering the tubs of geraniums which would normally be adorning our balcony by now but which are being pampered inside the greenhouse in case of another cold snap, when I spotted an old wheelbarrow which was picturesquely rusting behind the compost heap. I hauled it out and am going to plant it up with stuff over the weekend. I think it is sufficiently rusty and knackered looking not to look twee.
Anyway, that’s my plan. There is a big flower market in a local village over the weekend so I should have a lot of choice. However, in reality, and based on past performance, I won’t actually get round to it and Mr. Tialys will eventually, and with many meaningful sighs, put it back behind the compost heap where it will be ready for me to discover anew next year.
The chickens are enjoying the sudden warmth. Darth has accompanied his harem on a promenade through the grass, obviously deeply grateful that he isn’t buried up to his chest in cold white stuff any more. The dogs are wanting to be outside all the time, the cats roll about and play fight and, if I had lambs, I expect they would be frolicking in a cute and photogenic manner.
The other day my mother told me about a story she had heard on the news where a fox had got into a chicken house and, unable to get back out, the chickens killed him. Although I would hate it if a fox took any of my chickens, I must admit I did feel a bit sorry for the fox. What a way to go! Also, I wasn’t entirely surprised as I have seen how vicious chickens can be. When we still lived in England, our chickens there had somehow found a little fledgeling bird and one of them was running around with it in her beak while the others chased her for their share. I had never realised, until then, how carniverous they were. Anyway, we somehow managed to rescue the little fledging and, assuming it had fallen down from one of the many nests under the eaves, we put it inside our old pet rats’ cage, with the lid open, and the mother flew down every day to feed it. In the end, it managed to fly off.
On the other hand, when we had a broody hen, a neighbour gave us some fertile eggs and we put them under the hen. Two of them hatched and the four adult hens fussed over those chicks all day long. Whenever they found a tasty morsel in the garden (hopefully not baby birds), they would call to the chicks to come and eat first. Then I read about a broody hen who. taking advantage of the family dog going outside and leaving her puppies for a moment, decided to get in with them to keep them warm.
Who said chickens don’t have personalities?
We have a cockerel and 5 hens. The only reason we have a cockerel (and one of the hens) was because all 4 of the original hens went broody and my husband had the ‘good’ idea of giving them fertile eggs to sit on. Two hatched and one was a cockerel although, of course, we didn’t know that at first.
He has been fine until recently when he suddenly took against one of the hens and nearly killed her. Blood everywhere! We managed to separate them but every time we let them out at the same time, he goes for her again. They have a huge garden to wander around in so it’s certainly not overcrowding that’s the problem.
This has led me to a ‘Poultry Keepers Forum’ where I had to ask for advice – I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be on a poultry forum but, there you go. Some advice given but most of it we had already tried. So, this weekend, when my husband gets home, I’m going to ask him to make another chicken house and then I’m going to separate them into two flocks. He won’t be pleased.
‘Why not do away with him?’ I hear you ask. Because I’m a fool and we gave him a name and he’s handsome and I like hearing the cockcrow in the morning.