I still remember all them years ago when finally I said enough was enough. I was bored of saying, “One day when we get chickens or I wish we could just get them”. It was the thought that we would need all these things to have them and knowing how to care for them. Well like anything, you know you’ll learn super quick. I’d arrived back from Ibiza on the Friday and said to my husband I was buying some the next day. I sourced some free range hens and arranged collection and then I went into super speed set up mode.
We already had a huge shed so I emptied that. I found baskets, we already had some shelves up and we put some more in. I got a haybale from the farm and all of the food, feeders and bedding we needed. We already had rabbits so we always had plenty bedding. I wanted the hens to be as happy as possible because of course, happy hens lay eggs!
Off we went and got our hens, we got 5 at first. We brought them home and let them explore their new home. These hens were feisty, they had fields upon fields to explore. I remember going in the next day and one jumped on my head. It was like a scene from the Alfred Hitchcoch movie, ‘The Birds’! Super funny memories, even some wondering if we had done the right thing. Also when I went in that morning, I spotted something over on the haybale, a large and very clean, EGG! An egg, they were laying but this was no normal egg. It didn’t come from a box at the supermarket. It was like I’d never seen an egg before. I can’t tell you how excited we were to find this egg, all of us squealing with excitement. Fast forward years later and here we all are, wondering how many eggs we’ll get that day and where will they be. They like to play hide and seek with us. Sometimes they will sit down in front of us and lay one by our feet like it’s a present for us.
We will never be able to put into words how much joy our animals bring us and how whole our house feels and we will be forever grateful for the magic of the egg!
Chickens are carnivores and will eat anything they can get their mitts on, even a mouse if it’s not quick enough! They would eat another chicken if it was injured!
Chickens can go through a sex change so sometimes your hen could change into a cockerel.
Chickens are not stupid and you can train them.
Chickens make sounds that you can identify. For example, when they lay an egg, they celebrate and when they are in danger the noise is completely different. When they want to come out from bed, again that is a different noise. You could say we talk to the animals!
If you don’t feed them properly or care for them right, you will start to notice the laying slows down and can stop.
Chickens can live with ducks and other larger animals. However, ducks can try to mate the hens and will. This can be fatal to a chicken and their internal organs.
Chickens can’t swim. Their wings are not waterproof so they will absorb the water and drown.
For good health in chickens, they need a dust bath. This is made up of various things but even good dry soil is ok as they move around in it, lay down and get it all between their wings. This is vital for keeping mites at bay.
Hens will see their owner as a cockerel in a way that they know you are the boss. When you approach them, they get in a low position as if for mating. This is being submissive. If you give them a strong stroke on their back, they flap their wings fast afterwards as if they were mated. This is actually calming for them.
Chickens are very territorial and also form their own little packs in the group.
ONE MORE FOR GOOD LUCK:
Chickens do not like the dark and actually know it is not safe for them because predators are out more at night. Therefore, at dusk they go to bed themselves. You may have the odd mischievous chicken that tries to do an all-nighter outside!
Here at Tutsi Farm, we love our little furry friends. We have had them years. We have Ruby and Crystal, Netherland dwarf rabbits. These two sisters live together fine. We have Rocky and Sherbet, brother and sister and these are a cross lion head and Netherland dwarf. Rest her beautiful little soul, there was Ruby (a Netherland dwarf) She was Rocky’s wife and sadly she passed last year from a broken heart when her 4 month old baby died. We will never get over this. I actually gave Ruby mouth to mouth to try and save her. Totally heartbroken. Ruby acted like a doggy, she loved being in the house. She would growl like a dog too. So many beautiful memories of her.
We have 3 guinea pigs, two were a recent rescue. A father and son and they have a beautiful temperament. They’d never been together so I introduced them straight away and they are fantastic together.
Our two miniature Schnauzers, our best friends. They keep watch over everyone and make sure everything is in check. Anyone that is not one of ours and our soldiers are straight on guard!