A new hen house for free range chickens

Posted on June 3rd, 2017

Earlier in the year we were under government restrictions for our chickens and ducks. Farmer Nick spent his Christmas holidays building a luxury hen house and we even gave them a nature filled toy to keep them entertained. For chickens living indoors, life didn’t get much better than this. Our ducks on the other hand were more squished in the old Peacock enclosure and as soon as the ban was lifted they were straight back into the field to enjoy the space and their pond. With the ducks and geese turning broody we delayed letting the hens back into the field and kept egg hunting with the children to the chicken house for spring. However with our ducklings now thriving and geese abandoning their nest as usual, the chickens returned to join them in time for half term.

All change with a new hen house

In their winter hen house, the chickens had been laying better than ever before; we soon figured out this was because the crows couldn’t find their way in and steel the eggs ahead of our morning visit. Before we released the chickens Farmer Nick built a tall laying hen house within the field to look just like the laying section of the winter chicken home. The hope was that instead of laying eggs in patches of stinging nettles and letting the crows steel them they would use the new mini hen house in the field. I’m thrilled to say the theory is working and the children have more eggs to run in and collect than they know what to do with; even on a busy half term holiday week.  

Egg collecting is a morning treat

Tenderly holding a baby duckling on the farm

 

It’s fair to say not everything is pleased to see the children back in the field

 

Goose warning us to keep our distance

 

But our sociable chickens are more than happy to be cuddled

 

Coombe Mill guests proudly holding a chicken together

 

Or even exposed to a few test flights with their newly clipped wings

 

Throwing a chicken to test it's flight

 

Mummy duck kicks up a fuss as we coo over her babies but they are soon all reunited.

 

Tenderly holding a baby duckling on the farm

 

It has been a wonderful half term here, not only are the ducks and chickens happy in their free range field again, but we had a surprise end of season lamb born and the older children loved helping out with moving the alpaca to a new field for fresh grazing.

I hope your half term has been a happy one too.

Country Kids