This is just the ramblings of my journey into chuck ownership
Bit about me
I live on the edge of the Peak District in a small town in Derbyshire UK I have 2 grown up children, my son still lives at home, I'm divorced and just finding my feet again. Our pet collection started with a lizard Jay wanted it. Now we have 3 in a vivarium in the living room. Then Liz got Liam a chicken followed by a few more and before I realised it so did I, then came the Koi when Jay re-landscaped my tiny front garden putting in a pond. And the latest addition a 8 month old Border Collie called Shadow. So in between looking for work I try to train my dog, do the normal household chores, weekly shop for pet food as well as us and have a grandson at the weekends, I'm blessed with 5 of them.
I really enjoy going out with Liz and Clive (her hubby) looking for different chicken breeds and learning new things, spotting another I like the look of adding it to my wish list. Right now I'm looking for a coop and run design to fit in my garden for Jay to build for me then I can have my chucks at home, and I'm spending quite a bit of time on BYC trying to learn as much as I can from other peoples experience before I go it alone. Anyway I thought I'd use this page as a sort of chuck diary to keep track of my experiences as I learn. I wont be breeding any chickens I'm leaving that to Liz and Clive but I may go halves with some hatching eggs when they get a incubator. My chickens are pets with benefits (eggs) and if I manage to get one that looks like show quality I might just enter her in a local event just for fun.
I am begining to realise I have a lot to learn, so far I have 1 chicken, a Silkie currently with my daughters chucks as I dont have a coop and run yet. My son is building both for me as soon as he can. (xmas has been mentioned). So I dont really have a lot of contact with my feathery friend right now.
My Silkie is a bit of a cross between a scarecrow and a punk and can look quite pitifull when wet, on my grandsons insistance I put her in the local agricultural show, we bathed her and blow dried her, fluffed her feathers and to me (someone who has no idea what she should look like) she looked quite pretty. My daughter and son in law also entered 3 other chickens, my grandsons too so it was a family event. After looking at sootsies (my silkie) competition I knew I should just take her home bless her. Her combe is wonky and her feathers dont all go in the direction the judges need. To add insult to injury we dont think she is laying yet and she is about 9 month old. that said she is not heading for the stew pot I got her because my middle grandson is chicken mad and at 5 has already said he is going to be a chicken farmer so shes the family chuck an egg will be a bonus and I felt sorry for her lol.
Today I went out on a chicken run with my daughter and fell for the prettiest little white Light Sussex hen you could find (my opinion) and bought it so in addition to the 2 she bought its 3 more for her pen which is up to 22 now mostly rarer breeds. so tomorrow weather permitting its out in the garden to clear away a space ready for there new home.
I can have 6 hens, so now its a case of looking at good laying breeds but I dont want bog standard everyday hens I want pretty ones if they can lay 6 eggs a week between them that will be ok by me, I dont buy that many on a weekly basis now. I can't have a cockeral so breeding is out of the question so they will be more a hobby/pet with benefits.
Went out with Liz again looking at chickens and spotted 1 I like the look of so I think ill be going back tomorrow to get it, its a cuckoo Moran brown with stripy feathers. Ive decided im going to have 6 different chickens and have my eye on a lavender pekin as well. Also they've got some wire mesh sheeting that will be perfect for a run at a very good price. As for sorting where the coop and run are going my son has decided to turn his shed round and put the coop there now, a full days job on its own.
Tuesday 21 september
Ok took a long look round my back garden (took 30 seconds its titchy) and decided my coop needs to be where my shed is, 2 reasons
1) the original position is virtually outside my neibours back door at the side of my house and just lately and unjustly she has been a pain in the ass over stupid nit picky stuff (another story)
2) position 2 is in clear view of my kitchen windows about 6m away.
So with this in mind I talked to my son (the joiner) told him I had measured both sheds and that we could turn both so the doors face into the garden and they would fit side by side where his shed is up against the fence. "not bad idea" he says. then says "mum your shed is knackered and mine is too small how about as well as the coop i just build 1 big shed spilt in 2 with 2 doors", "yey" i say, "next year he says" :-( so its back to moving exhisting sheds.
Thursday 24 September
Yesterday i made the effort to start the shed moving process. I cleared out my shed got rid of all the rubbish and collected all my plant pots seed trays and plant related stuff (not tools) and gave them to my daughter she has a bigger garden than me. With the chucks I wont be bothering growing bedding plants from seed for my hanging baskets and tubs if I want any next year I'll buy some plug plants. I put the rest back in the shed and there is so much space in there if it wasnt rotting i would section part of it for the chucks.
Anyway today after talking to Liz I'm going to have her small ark coop and run as a tempory accomodation for my 2 chucks. I'm putting it where I was originally putting my coop. I figure as there are only 2 chucks right now they wont make too much of a smell for neighbour to complain about, at this point I would add I have already got written permission from our landlord to have 6 chucks in original position. So I have been demolishing the old raised bed (4'x6'x2'6"deep) 1 row of bricks at a time riddleing the soil and spreading it round the 2 other beds as I go, they look well good now all primed for said neighbours cats to use as a toilet grrrrrr think I'll leave dog outside with the door open and hope he scares them off, fat chance. Anyway good progress made got a 1' to go but run out of space to put any soil now so looks like I'll be bagging it and when said daughter is not looking spread it on her garden failing that off to the tip I go with the rubble and stones and spare soil. ooops shes on here hope she dont read this lol.
Update son (age 23) has come home from work and i showed him all my hard work at which point he says "dont take any more soil out", "why" i say, "just dont" he says, "are you planting some plants" i say "mmmmm wait and see" he says uuurrrrrg dont you just hate that. So tommorow im going to level it out and stamp it down ready for the ark. then i can have my chucks yey yippee
I would just like to add here in the last year both of my kids Liz 25 married to Clive 4 boys, Jay 23, 1 son living with his mum, have all been a huge support after my second marriage fell apart me with it. They have taken me out, dealt with problems on my behalf, helped me redecorate, redesigned my garden, inflicted pets i would never have dreamed of on me (lizards and chickens) and just generally been there through all my ups and downs. thank you are not big enough words to express how I feel, I am so proud of them for their personal acheivements and for looking after me. Love you all.
Well I'm having one of those nights where I can't sleep so I'm checking out the medical section on here. My aim to put myself an emergency first aid kit together and the knowledge to go with it. The common opinion seems to be that if you can find a vet it is likely to be expensive so you have a simple choice, pay through the nose, home diagnose and treat or cull the bird.
Im squemish no way could I cull a bird, if it was really necessary then I'll call my son in law. I must admit I hope I have nothing more complicated than fleas or worms but just in case I'm looking at individual posts, copying and editing it to my laptop should the net goes down when i need it. Long slow process but I think for me it will be worth it, if anyone would like a copy please just message me with an e-mail address I would welcome any constructive advice and sugestions on what I should include.
Friday 28th September
I want my chickens home lol but i cant have liz's coop for ages yet so i have been puzzeling how to make one with a run that will be suitable for my 2 I think ive cracked it I can fit a 30"x24"x24" coop with a 56"x30"x24" run on the raised bed. I've worked out a cutting list for timber and wire and realised its not going to be that easy not only that i think the run needs to be 4' high so back to the plans.
Yey after talking to my son about the small coop to house my 2 chucks he's basically told me its a waste of time and if we are going to put the proper coop in we need to do it as soon as possible before the weather makes it impossible or wait till next year. nnnnnooooooooo want it now i want my babies home, might have gained another silkie from my daughter a white one so that will make 3. Thing is he works 6 days a week sometimes till late so dont feel i can nag him to get it done but at least he's made the decision not me. I'm beginning to suspect he's a closet chicken lover he bought me this months poultry magazine this weekend and did a design for the larger coop to house 6 birds. And said the run needs to be 6ft high so he can go in it if he needs to for maintenance. mmmmm wonder when he is going to suggest a breed he thinks i would like? So everything rests in his hands i got to wait till he does it because he is paying for all the materials.
Friday 8th October
Well things have slowed down im part way through taking out the raised patio to make room to turn the sheds and my shed is down to the bare minimum but......... wonderful son is working over time every night and saturdays so doesn't look like I'm going to get my coop and run before xmas :-(
Saturday 9th October
I got another chuck yey Liz and Clive bought a couple of mottled pekins and I fell for them liz said I could have one for xmas. I'm making choices purely on feelings somehow I think it will come back to bite me on my bum. Hec I dont care these are my home chucks my pets, when i get a job thats when the chuck plan is put in to operation Id like to breed bantams the rare breeds or traditinal ones. I need to do a lot of research before i even start on it. Knowing my luck it will just be a pipe dream.
Well my coop and run have been put on hold till xmas officially now cant say im not dissapointed but cant be helped luckily my 3 girls are quite happy with my daughters flock think she has over 30 now.