I wanted my Mum and Dad to have something to look after as they have always had animals but being very elderly I didn't want them to have pets in the house that they would trip over. When I suggested chickens for something to feed and watch, to keep the vegetable plot down and for the bonus of eggs, they were very pleased at the idea. Unfortunately my Dad had to go into care soon afterwards but my Mum still wanted a 2 or 3 chickens to look after.
I did the research on the chicken coops and finally ordered a small Grosvenor coop with run. I liked it being raised up and thought the design very good. Plus it was made locally and fit easily into the vegetable plot, which is now overgrown.
While waiting for the coop to arrive we discussed my Mum having 3 hybrid chickens from the same place. I suggested three different egg colours and Mum agreed. I then purchased a magazine with lots of pictures and passed it to my Mum who decided she didn't want to prioritise the egg production as she had seen the fancy breeds. At this point I said the coop was not really big enough for large breeds in any number and so I searched for a supplier of both hybrid hens and Bantams.
Eventually the coop arrived and I went down to supervise it's building and placement. I was concerned about the size of the run being fairly small but also decided on the hen fencing so they could free range on the veg plot. I obtained the floor material and some straw for the nest boxes and a supply of both chicken feed and layers pellets before taking my Mother to the suppliers, a round trip of about 110 miles.
When we got there my Mum forgot all about egg colours as soon as she saw the bantams. So I asked if there were any bantams that were fairly large and would be happy with two hybrid chickens. I had taken a very large cat carrier and we came away with four birds! That was last week.
We have a Columbine Hybrid called Ginger-Spice, a Blue Hybrid called Blue-Belle, a Silver Laced Wyandotte Bantam who is yet to be named and a Columbian Wyandotte Bantam which my Mum thinks I chose and says is mine. So I have called her Martha Cecilia. She is absolutely lovely.
All the birds were yet to lay and we were told that the bantams were unlikely to start until next spring. Anyway we were very surprised when the very next day, Thursday, we found a very small pastel beige egg on the floor of the coop. I believe it is from one of the Hybrid Hens and since then she has produced an egg every other day. I have looked at the information here and it looks as if maybe it is Blue-Belle as she keeps squatting down when we approach her.
I have set the fencing up and they all seem to have settled in. We feed them layers pellets then treat them with mixed corn afterwards. They really seem to like the bits of veg and the weeds plus a bit of apple and a few blackberries too.
I didn't really want to travel to my Mums every night to get them in and shut the coop but I didn't want her going inside the fencing after dark. I looked on this website again and two days ago fitted an automatic pop hole opener and closer. This means my Mother only has to walk up the path and check with her torch that none of the birds have been left out after closing.
Martha Cecilia seems to be fourth in the pecking order and does not sleep on the perch with the other three so she sleeps in the nest box. Because she is number four I don't have the heart to turf her out of the nest box so just clean it out each day to make sure it is clean in case anyone lays an egg in it. For the last two days I have placed a golf ball in each box and today, when we were not expecting an egg, one appeared in the nest box. I'm not sure yet if it is the Blue Hybrid or if another has started to lay, it might be Martha. Anyway I think we are in for a lot of fun and I intend to make sure I keep my end of the bargain and keep them all clean, well fed and warm & dry. If I get any issues I cannot find the answers to on here, I will be posting questions.
Anyway enough from me so I will leave you with a picture of Martha-Cecilia.