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Chickens in a Midlands Garden


By mrjolly


Well, it’s actually happened….we now have chickens!!
Shortly after thumb-stitch removal at the local hospital, I once again addressed the task of producing wire mesh frames for the chicken run. I estimated, working from the roll of wire mesh I’d bought, that I would have enough for a run of 12ft x 8ft (still using the old tape measure!) with some left over for emergencies. To cut a long story short, the process of constructing the run passed relatively uneventfully, until we had a resplendent structure with two entrances and a corrugated steel roof, the mesh extending underground by about 10inches. Tagged on to this was a more open run of a similar size, which the chickens could access during the day, but which would be locked off at night, rendering the main run ‘fox-proof’ (or as fox-proof as possible!).

The next consideration was when and how to obtain the chickens.
The initial idea had been to obtain ex-bats, but opportunities for this were rather random, and timing was crucial as I was limited to school holidays, being at the time ‘in education’. We heard that a local ‘open farm’ regularly ‘disposed of’ their layers, so we went along to find out more.
‘Oh yes’, said the girl in the tea shop, ‘they’re getting rid of about 25,000 browns. The RSPCA won’t let us keep layers longer than a year, so we’re clearing one of the sheds. You’ll have to come soon to collect them as they’re going next Wednesday.’ (Today was Saturday!)
I asked how much they were, and was told £10, which I though was reasonable, having seen prices of £10 – £15 on the internet. I suggested we might just try three to start with. ‘That’s fine’ she said, ‘That’ll be £10. You can have up to ten birds for £10!’
We walked away with six, ‘snatched from the jaws’, as you might say. (A pretty good percentage from 25000.) As soon as we got home they were safely ensconced in the run, and we peered dubiously at them through the netting. They seemed OK, with no obvious defects, two wings, two legs (with ferocious looking claws) and a razor-sharp beak. (We’d relied on the man at the farm to choose them for us. The thought of selecting six from 25000 had been a step too far!)
One was obviously very posh, and looked the part. The other five were a mix of pale and dark browns. Posh bird was obviously high in the pecking order, closely followed by a pale skinny thing, which attacked everything within reach.

Establishing the ‘pecking order’ was the next step, which was approached with gusto. But more of that later!

More blog posts by mrjolly

Previous post: Dreams in a Midlands Garden



Now that's a princely 'hotel' for your new friends! I hope they settle down quickly and start to lay soon. :-)

Well done for saving at least some of that huge number!

27 Nov, 2009


Interesting story, Mr Jolly, and well-told...
Looking forward to more news of the chickens...
~ Congrats on rescuing your six chicks :o)
Did you meet any other people saving the birds ?

27 Nov, 2009


Thats interesting Mrjolly, and your chicken accommodation is definitely 'princely' as Spritz said. Like a 5-star chicken hotel. I bet they'll be happy hens.

27 Nov, 2009


really enjoyed your blog like the idea of a posh bird lol there are a few with chickens on our allotments.

27 Nov, 2009


Enjoyed your blog, hope they stay safe....

27 Nov, 2009


Lucky chickens

27 Nov, 2009


Good blog, looking forward to hearing more about your rescue chickens.

27 Nov, 2009


love the chicken accomadation, cant wait to see your chucks :o)

28 Nov, 2009

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