FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Chooks Have Landed

This week we are linking up once again with Amy at Love Made My Home for her Five on Friday


We have an announcement regarding Five on Friday too, starting from Friday 24th of March we will become the hosts of the weekly link up! We're honoured that Amy has asked us to carry the torch for Five on Friday, the badge will obviously change slightly to mark the meetup moving home:



So without further ado, this week we'll be spending 5 minutes talking about CHICKENS!

You may have seen that we Built our own pallet chicken coop!

It was a little bit more involved than the Quail Coop we built back in the UK when we were keeping Quails last year but we managed to get it finished and it finally has it's new inhabitants who seem to be very happy with it! We're very lucky that we do not currently have any Bird Flu restrictions in our area.

Logan feeding chickens through the coop door
The kids have really been getting involved, the photo above is the first time that one of the chickens was brave enough to eat from our hands and as you can see it was Logan that was first to coax them in to it. He loves feeding them and talking to them, as does our daughter Aurora.

The chickens we got were 3 Black sex link and one red sex link, nothing fancy in terms of the other breeds but to us they are beautiful.

Our new chickens
Unfortunately Spanish suppliers routinely debeak their chickens when they are chicks, but these girls have been saved from living in cramped cages and will live out the rest of their lives in happiness with us, we have plenty of space for them to run and scratch and generally be chickens in.


Carly checking in on the ladies

For the first few days the chickens were quite timid and didn't stray far from the coop but now that they have settled in begun to trust us they have really come out of their shell, we had a great laugh when the 4 of them chased off one of the local cats that tried to go near the gates to the corral!

Me and one of the hen house girls
The Henhouse Crew


Now it is just a waiting game for the first eggs. Did you know that chickens only stop laying in winter due to insufficient light? If given artificial light they will lay all year round, chickens generally need 14 hours of light to maintain egg production. We won't get daylight hours that long until the end of April here but we would rather let them come in to lay naturally, We're not in a rush for them to lay, they are still doing a fine job of turning the compost heap for us and adding their own fertiliser as they go!



Drinks Bottle Chicken Feeder
In keeping with the zero cost build of the chicken coop, we also fashioned our own chicken feeder out of a couple of empty bottles and some wire. The chickens haven't turned their nose up at it yet...

hand feeding chickens

...although they seem to enjoy hand feeding as much as we do :)

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend, if anyone fancies doing a seed swap with us you can find a list of everything we have at the moment on our last post - Seeds
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65 comments

  1. I think it's important for layers to have that "time off" due to low lights.
    Forcing them to lay by adding artificial light is one more way mankind has forced his will onto animals. I'm glad you guys aren't doing that.
    You'll have some great entertainment with those gals. Chickens are a hoot to watch.

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    1. Chickens are actually born with every egg they'll ever lay already in their body, if you force them to lay year round they will only stop laying at a premature age

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  2. Congratulations on hosting the Five on Friday. I usually participate but we are in the process of moving to the Outer Hebrides but will join in again once we are settled. I look forward to seeing your little adventures unfurl.

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    1. Thank you! I hope all goes well with your move and look forward to reading about it on your blog :)

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  3. I'm glad to catch up with all your news. It's good to see your chickens running around and your care and concern for their welfare. All the best and thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Linda, I lover your blog and will be following from now on :)

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  4. Thank you to take over the weekly meme ! You remind me of my youth in the 70, where young people tried to live self sufficient, the so called Hippies. Of course you are not Hippies, that's not what I mean but at least you try to be close to nature and grow things yourself ! I grew up with my grandparents on the countryside during and after the WWII in Germany. On the countryside every little piece of earth was used for growing food, there was nothing to buy. I was a child so I didn't bother as long as there was something to eat, lol ! When I was your age, I was far too lazy to grow anything, I already lived in a big city Brussels !

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    1. A couple of years ago I was as far from a Hippy as it is possible to be but I think we are slowly but surely heading down that path!

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  5. I'm a new follower I'm over from Amy's blog and Five on Friday. I look forward to learning more about you. I live in Ringle, Wisconin, USA. I have been keeping chickens for over 20 years. I too agree with letting the hens do what they do naturally. Wisconsin enjoys Winter and so my hens get a break from the egg production. I don't push them. I also let them be broody when they want and let them hatch out their own chicks. I'm a recent empty nester and I love having baby things...so I let them do a little too much of that and had over 150 free ranging chicks around the farm. I did sell over 100 of them in the Fall. It was fun, but I'm not letting all of them be broody this year. Enjoy your hens.

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    1. Pleased to meet you! I can see myself going down that same slippery slope, I love baby animals:)

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  6. What a wonderful post on Chickens! We have some friends who keep some and are nice enough to share eggs when they end up with an abundance. You can certainly tell the difference between fresh eggs and supermarket ones.

    Glad to see you're carrying on the torch for Five on Friday!

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    1. We've kept quails in the past and their eggs were amazing so I cant wait until the chickens start laying!
      Thanks for your support on the Five on Friday swapover, looking forward to keeping it going over here

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  7. Your new chickens look wonderful and I'm glad that you have saved them from possible debeaking. I hope they reward you with lovely fresh eggs. I look forward to joining you and the rest of the Five and Friday blogggers when you take over in March. Have a lovely weekend:)

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    1. Oh no unfortunately ours were debeaked as chicks, that is why they don't have a curve/point at the end of their beak, commercial breeders do it so they can't peck each other but it also makes it difficult for them to forage/free range :(

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  8. Hi there, it's good to meet you and great you will be hosting Five on Friday. Lovely chooks, they look very glossy and healthy. My grandmother had hens when I was a child and I loved spending time with them and collecting the eggs.

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    1. They are such characters to watch as they go about their business too, far better entertainment than most things on the TV these days!

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  9. By last count, I have nearly 100 chickens wandering around out in the woods around the house. They show up for the morning feeding and evening feeding, but most of the time they are in the meadow or woods. They are free range, roosting in the pine trees. I have four boxes for them to lay in, just inside the barn. That keeps us in eggs. The chickens make their own nests in the woods, but my dogs ferret them out and eat the eggs each day. Enough chickens hide their nests far enough out that the dogs don't get the eggs. I know this as I started out with 2 roosters and three hens in 1999.

    I live very far out in a forest, with no neighbors anywhere around. And yet, over the years, I've had chickens of different breeds come wandering in out of the woods, so my chickens are not any special breed. I even had a peacock show up one summer, but no peacock / chicken crosses are wandering around. Just as well, the peacock was even nastier than the chickens about dumping on my porch and vehicles.

    I never heard of "debeaking" chickens but it sounds wrong to me.

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    1. Debeaking- commercial breeders cut the tip off the chicks beaks with a red hot knife to stop them from damaging other birds in the flock when they peck each other. It's as painful and traumatic for the birds as you would imagine it to be and makes it difficult for them to eat and drink naturally and almost impossible for them to forage/free range as they don't have the sharp tip that their beak ought to have. You can see it on our birds, the beak is squared off almost like a ducks instead of having a sharp curved tip

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  10. Such a cool post!
    Your chickens are so lovely. I like the drinks bottle feeder. This year, roosters is a special animal for the Japanese. 2017 is the year of the Rooster. Please come to Japan some day!!Have a happy weekend!

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    1. I guess that means if we follow the current pattern we'll have to get a dog next year and a pig the year after that :)

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  11. How kind of you to take over Five on Friday. It's been tough for Amy and I was concerned that she might have to give up. I'm glad it's going to continue.

    I love chickens. I'd love to keep a couple but our garden really isn't big enough and I think the cats would scare them (or perhaps they'd scare the cats). Your black ones look gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you! In the sunlight the black ones have a beautiful blue/green iridescent rainbow effect, it's difficult to get a photo of it but I'm going to make it my mission for next week

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  12. I enjoyed learning all about your chickens. Here, my favorite farmer tells me that "the" girls stop laying in the heat ... he has a waiting list for eggs in the summertime. Not only will you get eggs (eventually) but you also have guard chickens!!!! Thanks for taking over Five on Friday! Have a great week.

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    1. Hopefully our coop being in the shade will keep our girls cool enough to lay, otherwise we could well end up with the same problem in the heat here!

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  13. Wonderful new coop and chickens! I can't wait to get one of my own and chickens to go in it! Love your no-cost ideas! I will look toward your take-over of Five on Friday, missing Amy's hosting, but so happy to join in with you!

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    1. I have loved doing Five on Friday with Amy and think it will be a fitting tribute to keep it going as the wonderful community that it is :)

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  14. The chickens look like they have settled in well. It is snowing so hard here we can barely see across the street, and it's supposed to be like this for the next week,grrrr! Enjoy your sunshine!

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    1. Thank you, I can't wait for it to warm up a bit so we can start planting the garden properly :)

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  15. Love to read about your chicken adventures, and all the other adventures, too. Our neighbourhood has so many urban foxes it featured in BBC Spring Watch a few years ago. It was quite interesting to see what goes on in our back gardens in the night and also during the day but it also made it clear that ours is not a place to keep chickens safe. How cool, to be the new Five on Friday host. I join in now and then. I think I found your blog on the linkup actually. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Our old house in the UK was like that, that's part of the reason we ended up keeping quails in the shed where they were safe, you only need enough space for a rabbit hutch and you could enjoy your own quail eggs :)

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  16. Thank you for stopping by my blog! And... Thank you for picking up the torch for 5 on Friday (sometimes those are the only posts I can manage!) It's my first time swinging through and I love your post about your chickens. I didn't realize they could be debeaked. What a traumatic thing for them! Enjoy your weekend, I look forward to reading about your adventures :)

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    1. Hi Deb Thanks for visiting our blog look forward to keeping up with you more in the future via Five on Friday :)

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  17. Interesting about their needing 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs, had no idea. That's sad that they get their beaks clipped, but having been nipped by more than one chicken in my time I can't be too sad.

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    1. A lot of the people I know that actually keep chickens aren't aware it is due to the light, I think people naturally assume it is due to the drop in temperature

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  18. Hello Tricky and Carly
    What an amazing life you are making for your children!
    The chickens are lovely and I think the look on your son's face says it all - bliss!
    It's good to meet you and I'll certainly join you when you host Five in March - merci!
    Just out of interest - what inspired your move to Spain?
    Take care
    Shane in New Zealand

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    1. We actually used to live here when we both met 10 years ago so for u's it was an easy decision. The quality of life is massively better here than in the UK and the weather certainly helps too! We look forward to reading your Five on Friday posts in the future :)

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  19. Hi Tricky & Carly - so nice to get to know you and your life style. Are you living somewhere in Spain? I tried to find out but couldn't... Lovely post & lovely chicken.

    So good to have you as new hosts!
    - riitta k from Finland

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    1. Yes we moved back to Spain at the end of November but we lived here for a while 10 years ago but in a different part of Spain

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  20. Well done for taking the 5 on Friday baton. But gosh Debra king seems so awful. I know chickens can be savage at pecking each other but that's awful. Glad your chickens are safe in their new no cost coop x

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    1. We think it is unnecessary and barbaric, but it isn't our chickens fault that they have been done so we love them just the same, poor things

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  21. teehee. i just love reading about what you and carly and the kids are up to...you give me such hope for the future. your kids will be brilliant! and your eggs will be many! sending much love to all of you, all of the time....your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Thanks Kymber, high praise indeed! We certainly love having you visit the blog and reading what you and Jambaloney have been up to too

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  22. Great to read about your chickens and to see the photos, it looks as if you're having a wonderful time. Good luck with the Five on Friday link-up, amazing you have time to take it on! 😊

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    1. I do sometimes wonder how I get myself I to these things! But luckily since we don't work 9-5 jobs anymore we have plenty of time to do the things we love :)

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  23. What handsome chooks...love the chicken feeder...I'm all for recycling.
    Thanks for taking on FOF, will look forward to linking up.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, can't wait to read more from you through the link-up in the future

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  24. I found my way here from Amy's blog. Good to hear you will be continuing Five on Friday. I'm a fairly regular member. Off to have a read around your blog. Nice to meet you.

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    1. Great of you to visit us, thanks for stopping by

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  25. Congratulations for hosting Five on Friday...

    The chickens are cute...

    Please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Krishna we'll be sure to drop by :)

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  26. My grandmother had chickens. I used to pick the tomato worms off the vines and serve them up on a glass lid from a broken casserole, lined with plantain leaves. The chickens loved my "catering service", as did the tomato plants. I think that was the beginning of my love of tablescapes and feeding people.

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    1. Now that is hand in hand with nature! Your catering service to the chickens in exchange for their pest control services:)

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  27. Just stopping by from 5 on Friday! I see we have the international move in common! Good idea to have your own chooks, I'm living in Bangkok now and trying to work out where to buy eggs from the happy chickens! Looking forward to get to know more about you and your lifestyle. We are living polar opposite lives, in that I'm in the concrete polluted jungle of my new life, which will be exciting and wonderful but my heart will always be in your life of fresh air I'm sure!!
    Thanks for stopping by :)
    Wren x

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    1. I think we have done the total opposite in the fact that we are city kids that have come to find our place in the coutryside :)

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  28. We live in town so we can't have chickens. Fortunately, we have a friend to supply us with fresh eggs. Nice post!

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    1. I wonder if you would be able to keep quails? That's what we did when we were still living in an Urban home

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  29. And do you have names for your new ladies? You're certainly having fun with them. I can't believe that people debeak chickens, that seems so cruel.

    Diana

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    1. Hi Diana, Yes we have named them Polly, Nigella, Kate and Winnie :)

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  30. So glad that you are taking over! You have made a wonderful start and it is great to see that so many people have stopped by to say hello. Thank you for taking over, I know you are going to make Five On Friday even better!

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    1. I've made sure to visit every blog that joined in this week and have had great fun reading everyones posts, you have certainly built a community to be proud of Amy :)

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  31. I'm late catching up - but I loved your 5!! I think having chickens would be so cool - but my Hubby hasn't gotten into that idea yet, so may not happen for us. Lol But fun to follow yours! ;)

    And I'm so grateful you've agreed to take over 5 on Fri as it's always been a feature I love. And I love making new blogland Friends!

    Blessings to you. xoxo

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    1. I had to talk Carly in to getting quails first as a stepping stone to chickens, their eggs were amazing and you can keep them in a rabbit hutch so it isn't even necessary to have a great deal of space :)

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  32. Thank you for your willingness to take over Five on Friday. I really enjoy joining in, and meeting so many interesting people. I hate what they do to chickens and am so glad you have some that get to enjoy a natural kind of life! Have you ever read Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall? I think you would enjoy it.

    Cindy

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  33. How lovely! I love the clucky sound of chickens in the yard, I find it quite comforting. We used to be members of a "chicken club" with two other couples, sharing in the expenses and the eggs. It was great for our children to grow up learning where eggs come from and good animal husbandry. Five stars to you for ethical sourcing of coop and feeder! x

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  34. Hello! Sorry to be a bit late visiting you. Thank you for taking over! I can tell that you are going to be a great host because I see that you have visited lots of posts and lots of people have been over to say hello to you, we made a great decision between us for you to take over!! I will be back of course, but all best wishes with this new project!

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We are always glad to hear your comments, thoughts and opinions :)

Etsy

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