Chicken crisis (or not?)

the request was made for chickens... the beautiful chicken house is (almost) finished, along with a lovely fenced in run.

i've bought a feeder and food, a water bowl, pine shaving for the floor... the craft house has nesting boxes and (WILL HAVE) a perch...

the husband has explained his deep rooted fear of live poultry a la mickey rourke & angle heart and will not be available to help in any way

i have ordered the chickens for wednesday - 2 days time. 4 x sussex whites (thanks JW)

the lovely poultry woman seemed non-plussed. i'm pretty sure she said i could borrow a crate.


will they be ok in the car? what should i do when i get them home? tip them into the house? name them? will they just fly away? i have all the books but none of them says anything about the first few hours at home.

am having a proper chicken panic... and thinking i might have plucked off more than i can peck

x teresa

Have they got somewhere secure to be at night Teresa? We've had chickens almost since we arrived but our first 'team' got killed by a pine marten, and that isn't a pretty sight to come across. Since we turned our hen house into a bomb-proof shelter we've had no problems, provided you can get the little dears in at night. We have the hen-house light on a timer so that as it gets dusk they prefer to go indoors for a chat and a game of cards before settling down for the night.


thanks Andrew.. they look SO frightened, but managing to eat (!) - so i thought it was probably ok...

should be fine, it's only when they're chicks that the food is different from memory.

they're here! my little sussex whites are snuggled safely in their house... it is LASHING sideways with rain outside, but is quite snug within.

i say 'little'... i'd ordered 20 weeks old hens - but there was an amount of confusion and i ended up with littl'uns - they look like they are perhaps 6 -8 weeks old... still, at 3 euro's each i saved myself a bit, and now i'll see them growing up (crosses fingers)

i had bought 'hen' food in anticipation - anyone think it's unwise to feed them this? they didn't seem fazed and are tucking in happily

Ha! not a chance... she's be bound to fly over the fence and we'd all be uesless against her powers

Let's do a swap. You give me your chickens who will live a full and happy life in Sorèze. I, in return, will give you my mother in law who could do with being locked up in a secure environment

that's brilliant Andrew - thank you so much....

i'm going to get absolutely NOTHING done now... mainly because husband is crying with laughter at... "put the chicken in your lap..."

Hi, apologies for my earlier comments and pic ( insomnia ) which I have removed, good luck, it sounds complicated but must be very rewarding. Quite envious really, we live in an apartment, and my daughter loves all animals.

Yes, I used to get it in a local farm supplies (we're talking 30 years ago) the other thing to do is keep egg shells, bake them (kills all germs etc) then crunch them up - it's just so that they have enough calcium etc to produce their own egg shells (it's quite a demand on the system!). the grit is just to help digestion but if they've got a bit of yard to scratch around in then they probably won't need it. You can clip/cut the big flight feathers with a pair of kitchen sissors, it's very easy to do, easiest sitting down - put the chicken in your lap and hold it firmly whilst extending/pulling out one wing - the feathers all stick out and you simply trim to about half length the biggest 5 or 6 at the end of the wing... has a quick look on the internet to get you a diagram and stumbles over a site that looks like the up to date version of my bible 30 years ago!

thanks andrew...

they're 18-20 week old sussex whites - the chicken people are lending me one of their plastic crates, so i'm ok for transport - and i might ask them to clip the feathers if you think it's a good idea...

they have lots of space i think - and it's only for fun so they can lay when they fancy it

food - i've bought pellets as you suggest - garlic sounds a great idea - how very french!...

um, grit - don't know, the run is half in the hanger and it's very dry & stony on the floor... & oyster shell presume i can buy it from gamme vert?

Teresa, all you need is a cardboard box to transport them in, you just cut some holes in the sides, well more just little slits do they don't try and get out! once home it's as simple as that, you just let them out of the box in their house, keep them in the house for a day or two, then let them have the run too. How old are they? you might want to clip their wings too, just one side and just the end flight feathers, it makes it easier to catch them if they get out. I don't recomend clipping their beaks, it's not usually necessary when you just have a few and they have space. give them a decent feed, pellets are best from your local dealer, again which ones will depend on their age. they'll need some oyster shell or something similar once they start laying and some grit to help their gizards "work" if they haven't got access to any. A clove of garlic in their water keeps a lot of diseases away, sounds odd but it does work. a light bulb in the hen house which comes on early in the morning keeps them stimulated and laying right through the year if you're interested in profitability, but you "wear them out" and they need replacing sooner. (I kept free range chickens experimenting with various set ups when I was at school - it was my source of pocket money and I used to do pretty well!) hope that helps ;-)