We should’ve named one “Buck”.

Today, we drove down to Outgate Poultry and bought ourselves some chickens. It had to happen, really. We had already spent almost £400 on an Eglu, and God only knows how much else on bedding, feed, grit, diatomaceous earth and other chicken-keeping necessities and sundries that would have made not buying chickens a financial disaster.

The smallholding we bought them from was a little bit far away, but it was really worth making the trip down there because the guy running the place was very experienced and very helpful. We arrived nice and early, and he was able to give us lots of advice on settling the chickens in and looking after them – much of it both of us had read already, but it was nice to hear it confirmed and to get the chance to ask questions.

What I wasn’t aware of when we bought our three birds is that they are self-packing:

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The Blue on the right is called Kerrigan, Queen of Blades. The Black, below and on the left is Commander Shepard. The youngest bird, the Ranger at the top, is Alexstrasza the Life-Binder.

Yes, we are that sad.

When we got home we gave them a quick chance to run around a little (an hour in a cardboard box can’t be good for anyone’s nerves) and then picked them up (took one or two goes to get hold of Alexstrasza) and put them in the run. They need to stay in there for a few days at first so that they become habituated to living in the coop and run. Eventually they’ll get command of the whole garden but this first bit of captivity is essential, apparently.

I might let them out for a little bit later on, though.

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Kerrigan and Alexstrasza check out their new house. I went out to check on them a few minutes ago and discovered Shepard squatting obstinately in the nesting box, Kerrigan trying to take all of the bedding out one piece at a time and Alexstrasza trying to devour the same leaf she had been picking at three-quarters of an hour earlier.

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Shepard staring intently at a piece of completely featureless land trying to find something of worth. Kind of like the mining in Mass Effect 2, really.

3 thoughts on “We should’ve named one “Buck”.”

  1. Chickens! We got some a couple of months ago – evil little buggers, but quite amusing. They spend the days in their dust bath (they’ve got two – one they scratched out to have dust baths in, and one I dug. A bit deep, mine, but they like sitting in it and sticking their heads out every now and then to survey the area) and chasing flies around the garden.

    A few tips:

    – Chickens seem to love grapes. Absolutely adore them. I often catch the way I’m looked at when holding grapes and I feel scared for my life. Same with my Aunt’s chickens. Strawberries and other berries are hit and miss, but you generally can’t go wrong with grapes.
    – Grit is obviously needed for their egg shells, but the chickens might turn their beaks up at grit you can buy in the pet shops. Try, instead, sand for a child’s sandpit.
    – Slugs seem to give them serious diarrhoea. As do too many grapes.

    Have fun with them! Once they’ve settled enough and have started laying (did you know you can tell the colour of their egg by the colour of their earlobes?) you’ll have hours of amusement watching them at their daily routine.

    See if you can work out who rises to the top of their pecking order.

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