Monday, April 16, 2012

Poultry Ponderings!

Time flies, I feel guilty for not posting more often but it just seems like a few days since I last posted, am I turning into Rip Van Winkle??!! Blogger has changed since my last posting so I had to find my way around my own blog! The weather is very changable here, sunny days, freezing nights ,wind, rain in fact typically Irish. We put in a green manure over the winter months it was our first time using it and results were inconclusive to say the least.This one was in early and grew fine, here it is just coming into flower which if my memory serves me right shoud be cut down now. Green manures are supposed to help stop leaching of nutrients over the winter months through wind and rain, using a legume sets nitrogen in the soil for later crops.It is now recommended to put in a green manure between crops, not leaving the ground bare at any season for any length of time as it also keeps down the weeds and saves some work in the weeding dept.
The same patch after I cut the tops down with a clippers, it will be left to wilt down and then dug into the soil to prepare the ground for the next crop.
This was a different green manure which was put in later and did not grow quite as well but there are no weeds visible either so maybe it worked on some level?!
Zwena has begun workshops on the allotments open to all not just the allotment holders, if anyone is on Facebook just look for Hydro Farm allotments and workshops where there are regular updates on what is going on and planned. I attended the first hen keeping workshop on Sat morning and found it most interesting and informative. I was the only 'plotter' there, the others were members of the public.The workshop was given by a young man who began keeping a few chickens as a child and now has a very good businness going breeding hens, ducks, geese etc.Here he is explaining the different breeds and which one to choose when buying . I bought my 4 ladies from a seller at a Farmer's market last year and until this guy mentioned it, I DID NOT KNOW HENS HAD TO BE WORMED REGULARLY!! I can almost hear some of you clucking (sorry bad pun)and shaking your heads at my stupidity.I knew dogs had to be wormed but it never entered my head that hens needed worming, no one ever mentioned it in polite conversation! They also need regular delousing for mites especially something called a red mite. I bought the deworming treatment today (not cheap)!I got a herbal treatment which I would think is more organic, it will be put into their drinking water for 3 consecutive days each month.The benfit of the herbal treatment is the eggs can be collected and used as normal whereas with the chemical treatment which is administered orally to each hen there is an egg withdrawal period of 7 days. Once I get this treatment completed the mite delousing will be done, my poor hens won't know what hit them they will be getting so much (unwanted) attention! I would have loved a course like this before I bought my hens and if anyone is thinking of getting even 2 hens then I would strongly recommend looking for a course like this. My ladies are Rhode Island red Hybrids which I learned are the stock battery hen as they are regular layers but because of this only have a life span of just 2 to 3 years?! Different breeds lay less and live longer so it is worth deciding how many eggs you actually need in a week and buying a breed that fulfills that need and you can enjoy your hens for longer because they do have personalities and provide hours of amusement with their antics. My ladies are getting a new hen house shortly which I am working on at the moment, they have taken to living in their new quarters quite well apart from the odd foray over the wire by the same one hen. If she gets out when I am not at home she comes running to the patio door as soon as she knows I am home and waits to be picked up and put back over the wire fence.

12 comments:

Theanne said...

shame on me I forgot to tell you about the worms and the mites...my Mom did "stuff" to our chickens on a regular basis! we had Rhode Island Reds too, not sure if hybrid. Mom culled her flock every year...baked chicken or fried chicken depending on the age of the bird. you sound like my Dad...he loved the birds even had a rooster once who would eat out of his hand. the smaller the flock the easier it is to see personalities emerge! Love thinking of the chicken standing by your patio door waiting for you to come home and put her back in the fence! ;-)

Jo said...

Hi Peggy, it was good to see you again on my blog; I decided to visit you again too. I believe we're going to be "forced" to use the new blogger version, which I find terribly difficult. I never knew you had to de-worm hens/fowls. I DO have mite mutu and intend to spray the chickens and their houses some time today. (Sadly I don't think the meds are organic this being Africa!) I will re-read your post now and see how you do the deworming process. Have a great day. Blessings, Jo

Ann said...

Glad you could attend the chicken keeping talk and find things out that no one talks about! Never thought that hens would need worming! Looking forward to seeing pictures of your hens and their new house.

Why I garden... said...

I like the idea of hens but I rarely eat eggs! Hope your hens enjoy their MOT you'll be giving them! I'm on new blogger now and have finally gotten used to it (I'm not a fan of change).

Matron said...

I didn't know that chickens had to be wormed either. My Sister is about to get 2 new point of lay chickens, they are a Rhode Island Red hybrid called something like Bovan Goldline? supposed to be quite docile and highly productive. Happy worming!

Scarlett Cannon - Heavenly Healer Glamorous Gardener said...

I'd love to keep hens but don't have the space and don't know the first thing about looking after them, let alone about hen worms - yeeeuch!!

Baffled by the 'new' blogger comments. Mine looks the same as it has for the last few months..???? I hope that's not a bad sign.

Ella Baker said...

The official U.S. position on genetically modified organisms is that there is no difference between gmos and natural organisms. The issue goes even further to suggest that no country should be able to require mandatory GMO labeling on food items. Scared? You should be. A recent study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that GM Corn has caused organ damage in lab rats. I'm sure the corn is fine to feed to our cattle or eat ourselves though.

PeggyR said...

Good to see you posting on my blog! We are climbing this hill once again with Norm. I sure wish it would balance out for him.

Marie said...

The green manure sounds like a great idea, and I loved reading about you having chickens. I know NOTHING about having them, but just always wanted some. It's like anything else, it's good to hear from more seasoned experts about what to do. I certainly learn a lot from you about organic gardening!

Thanks for your comments!

keewee said...

I didn't know all the care chickens need either. Good thing I don't intend on having any in the near or far future. *chuckle*
Have fun with yours, and I hope they produce plenty of eggs for you.

Matron said...

I can't find my way around my own blog either! I suppose I'll get used to it. I have been able to cut and paste photographs whilst creating a new post, and you can download several at once too.

Gardening Services Auckland said...

Glad to hear you are on to it when it comes to your hens. Many people are completely unaware about mites and worms and it makes a huge difference to the quality of the eggs and the comfort of the hens. Well done !