Don’t let a man name your chickens

A quick word of advice…If you ever keep chickens, and want them to have old fashioned, fanciful names, DO NOT hand over the naming job to the male species. To go with our older girls, Winnie and Maud, I’ve called one of the new hens Nancy.

The others are now called Shaniqua, Consuela and Pammy (because she’s blonde). I ask you…

Four new chickens

Four new chickens

Introducing the new girls to the flock of two went more smoothly than we ever imagined. Chickens have a natural pecking order, so the more established hens will always rule the roost. Putting four in together seems to have worked well as the older hens are outnumbered. Yes, there have been a few girly spats, but nothing too serious.

The only real problem occurred on the first couple of bed times. Winnie and Maud weren’t keen on the new sleeping arrangements and point blank refused to let the new ones in – so they huddled under the house. Every night at dusk, when chickens are naturally docile, I had to crawl around in the run and put all the girls to bed. Happily for my knees, they’ve now sorted themselves out, and are all roosting together.

Another good sign they are settling in, is that they have already started to earn their keep. Peering into the nest box at the weekend I was delighted to find our first two eggs from the new hens. Eggcellent news indeed!

Elsewhere in the garden, I decided to crack on with some greenhouse jobs at the weekend, as the weather was a bit hit and miss. A quick trip to the garden centre resulted in four grow bags and something we’re trying for the very first time ever, an upside down tomato planter.

According to the folks on the t’interweb, growing tomatoes upside down lets more air circulate round the plant, and should keep the bugs at bay. I’m not totally convinced, but it’s worth a go, if only in the name of research.

Grow bags with tomatoes and cucumbers

Grow bags ready for action

Other half whipped outside and installed the hanging bracket on a sturdy part of the fence – the planter will be heavy when it’s full of soil, water and hopefully ood

les of tomatoes. As they will be outside, we’ll plant this up when it gets a bit warmer. Meanwhile I shot into the greenhouse to clear a space for the grow bags. That done, I arranged the grow bags along the floor. Three holes were cut into each, and into them went a total of nine tomato plants of different varieties and three ‘Telepathy’ cucumber plants – all tiny at the moment, but with huge potential.

Looking around, I’ve also managed to amass 20 chilli and pepper plants and 10 aubergines. Together with the squash and courgette collection that will go out in a couple of weeks and the abundance of eggs on their way, I have a feeling it’s going to be a ratatouille and quiche-filled summer.

This one appeared in The Hinckley Times on May 16 2013

The Hinckley Times 16 May 2013

The Hinckley Times 16 May 2013

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Chooks and Roots on Facebook

Chooks and Roots.

Brand new Facebook page – will be posting pics, links and blogtastic other stuff…

If you’re interested in gardening, growing your own and/or keeping chickens, come along and join us 🙂

A smell of death in the garden

Aggie and Winnie - the chickens who don't lay a lot

Aggie and Winnie - the chooks who don't lay a lot

The ongoing, sporadical saga of what came first – the chicken or the rat?

After putting down the yummy blue rat treats for what seems like all summer, they finally stopped being taken. Sigh of relief, as at one point, the additional pets were costing more to keep than the chickens Anyway, last weekend I put a massive pile of rat treats down, and it seems to have done the trick. Two days later – massive pile still there…. but a god-awful smell coming out from under the decking.

I’m assuming it’s the dead rodents, unless I’m completely barking up the wrong tree and one of my neighbours has had a nasty trip on a garden implement and is slowly decomposing in their own garden.

Had a quick head count up and down the street, and happy to announce that nobody seems to be missing….