My First Chickens are Booked!!!

I'm super excited...I've just booked to pick up my first batch of chickens. I'm going to be rehoming some ex-battery hens and will pick them up on 1st November. 

It's really good, as it gives me a little more time to get ready. I've been advised that ex-bats have never eaten layer pellets, so I need to start them on mash and move to pellets by gradually integrating them. So I have some time to get them and also, to do a few last minute tweaks to the chicken run, as I ran out of cable ties and although I'm pretty sure all the gaps are filled, I'd like to do a few final checks. I don't think I can be overly secure as it's the difference between life and death. 

One of my allotment neighbours had all their chickens killed in the first 24 hours by a fox. It wasn't a big gap in the fencing, but foxes are smaller than you imagine under all that fluff. So even small gaps need to be filled. I would be totally heartbroken if my lack of attention resulted in anything like that happening and I'm lucky enough that all of us on the site can benefit from the harsh lesson. 

Anyhow, the plan is to pick up these four ex-battery hens and let them settle in to their new home for a week or maybe two and then go to one of the farms to get some hybrid point of lay hens and maybe some bantams. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to go yet. As I've mentioned in the past, I really want some silkie bantams, but they aren't that easy to source. So the places I've looked at to get the POL hybrids don't seem to have silkies...the places that do have silkies seem overly expensive and I don't want to pay £40 for a chicken. So I'm having a bit of trouble working out the best place to go at the moment. I may end up getting a different bantam breed instead of a silkie. I quite like lavender pekins too...polish bantams are also really cool. 

I think I just need to look at the hybrid chickens and decide on the place to go for them. If I need to get the bantams elsewhere, that's fine...I had hoped to get the rest of my hens from the same place in the hope that I would only need to do one lot of introductions...but I think bringing in new hens is something that's inevitable when owing chickens. I also don't want my ex-bats to be too stressed through all the changes. But I guess we'll see how things go. I have two hen houses and an extra small run which fits inside the big run, so at least I have space to be able to separate chickens if needs be. 

Photo of the Day: 14th Oct 2015

A few of the flowers from the the moment, my garden is a bit of a mess. During the summer, I had a lot of work done on the house and during that time, had a lot of skips and labourers. There was quite a bit of down time, where the plasterer/electrician etc was working we made use of the skips and the manpower to remove the disgusting decking and dig the old concrete patio out, to get ready for the new garden. This won't be done until new year, when the kitchen is it looks like a bit of a bomb-site at the moment. But the apple and pear trees have been in bloom, the herb patch has carried on smelling and tasting delicious and there have been some really pretty flowers/weeds. :)


Chickens here we come!!!

Finally, finally after the long wait, the chicken run is finally finished. I am soooo eggcited!!! Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. 

20151011_160840I know we have to wait a few weeks before we go and pick out our chickens, but that's okay. It's just very nice to know that everything is ready to go. 

I'm planning a trip to a place that sells lots of different kinds of chickens, as I really want some silkie bantams and some POL hybrids. My niece and nephew are coming too, as they want to pick a chicken each and name it. I have a few other people with dibs on names too. But they will have to name their chicken by photo.  I'm also toying with the idea of some ex-batts...but I'm not sure at the moment, as they only do hen rescue runs at set times during the year. I will be looking into it though, as I've heard they are really reliable layers and I want to give some chickens who've had a rough start, a nice retirement. 

Photo of the Day: 8th Oct 2015

Buckingham-Palace-014So today was a day out in London for a conference. The traffic to the train station was much worst than I'd planned for and I was running a little late, so grabbed a cab from the station to the venue. I think London Underground is great for getting around, but you miss so many of the sights when in the depths of the earth. I love getting a chance to drive across London and see the beautiful buildings and monuments and it was a lovely sunny morning. 

Update on 52 Books in 52 Weeks (cont.3)

I had a lovely holiday in Corsica...such a beautiful Island!! And when I wasn't sightseeing, I was on the beach reading. The weather was amazing. But more of that in another post. Here's the update on my reading list:

37. The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson

38. Hardwired - Meredith Wild

39. Deceptions - Kelley Armstrong

40. Queen of Shadows - Sarah Maas

41. A Rare Interest in Corpses - Ann Granger

42. Personal - Lee Child

43. Demon Road - Derek Landy

44. The Lost Soul - Gabriella Pierce

45. The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon

Photo of the Day: 4th Oct 2015

First addition to the new celebration of getting plot 51, I saw this at the garden centre and couldn't resist. How gorgeous are the crab apples on this tree?? It's a semi-dwarf crab apple tree and should grow to about 2-3 metres tall...the crab apples grow in glorious clutters and I am really looking forward to seeing the blossom next spring. 


Something Lost and Something Found

For some time now, (in fact all this year), I've had to face the reality that having two plots at opposite ends of the allotment site just isn't working very well. The site is a really big one with over 100 full sized plots, and having two at opposite ends is decide you want to do something and realise the stuff you need is on the other plot.

Perhaps if I didn't work and I went for several hours every day, this would be less of an issue, but I tend to be on a tight schedule and it's just not working for me. Back earlier this year, I spoke to one of our site reps and asked if he'd let me know if any of the nearby plots to 67 came up for rent. There are two plots opposite which have definitely not been tended at all this year. 

The other day, I heard there was an interesting plot available. It wasn't opposite, but it wasn't far from I contacted the council to see if I could swap. Unfortunately, it was bad news...I was actually pretty disappointed, as I'd been told it was vacant and then that it had been offered to someone else. I'd already been dreaming and making plans (oh and ordering bluebell and garlic bulbs for the woodland area). Silly me...getting way way ahead of myself.

But...I always think  things happen for a reason and literally the next visit to the plot brought some welcome news. The plot opposite 67 was being given up. 

20151003_160314To cut a long story short, I am now the proud tenant of plot 51. I'm keeping 18 until the end of the year, as all the raised beds and the shed need to be moved up to 51. And that's going to take a bit of time. (and help)

I'm really excited and a little sad. 18 was my first plot, and I've tried very hard to make it work. But this year once again, I've had mixed results with the beds due to the overhanging trees. I have to carefully work out crop rotation and what will grow in shade. I can't over winter anything on 18, due to the tendency for the plot to flood in the winter. And it's at the opposite end of the site to 67. 

I have added a picture, but I'm really annoyed with myself, as I didn't get a proper one of before...I pulled out a massive pile of weeds before remembering I wanted pictures....aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!! Oh well. I have some pictures from my first day on the plot. 

So...I lost out on plot 45 (although it did get re-offered to me, but by that time I already knew about 51), I'm losing plot 18, and I'm gaining a bright and exciting future growing on plot 51.