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Hens: Diana Missing

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For those that don’t know. I have had 4 hens called The Supremes. Diana obviously [pictured above], Jean, Cindy and Mary.

I was intending to put a post out about Diana. She’d been brooding for some while on an estimated 20 eggs and would not get off them. 3-5 days later I had to make a decision. The problem is the eggs kind of slow cook and one simply can’t eat them. The other problem is she hadn’t been eating.

These is the footage [streamed lived] just after my first attempt to move her. As you will see I was unsuccessful.

I eventually did move her but, I knew she wasn’t happy. When later I let Diana and The Supremes out for a walk, she just stayed on her own. These scenes show the last recorded sighting of Diana…

Yesterday evening I notified Ballyboughal’s twitter account. But with only 5 people in Ballyboughal on twitter, it was always going to be a tough ask.

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Add to that the fact that Ballyboughal.net, the only blog in the village, was down.

There are reports of one or two young ladies a little upset over the matter. The local ladies [Moms] did go out for a walk as soon as the news broke and searched literally high and low. As of today Diana still has not been found.

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the ultimate guide to chick-hens

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Since I last wrote about ‘The Supremes’, things have really settled down. In the last ‘snappy’ post, the day they arrived, the set-up wasn’t exactly complete.

the complete hen runhomemade chicken hen perchchicken hen feature old tree stump

  • The chicken wire I got wasn’t 6 foot tall [more 3′ approximately] and I only had enough to go once around. I completed the upper level with that green tennis court kind of mesh… [see pics above].
  • I made a little perch for them using the pole off a broken sweeping brush. And I threw in an old lump of a tree stump as a sort of feature. They use both to sit upon.

I know that the hens food can be expensive; [depending on what you buy] AND as a result of that…. I now realise the amount of S*** one can be sold and how the products and prices are figured out is almost beyond me. In some cases, disgraceful to be very honest. It almost makes me a little angry. Bad bandwagon jumping where nurturing and encouragement should be given….

To that…. I’ve seen such varient & useless paraphernalia; most of which I can only describe as ‘dog kennels on stilts’ and all sorts of fancy bags of ‘super dooper hen feed’ and honestly, 99% of it is all crap. FACT. Something I’d hope the likes of Richard Corrigan will point out on his show…. ? Whats worse is a lot of these bandwagon jumping guys are getting in touch with me…. ? A lot of them don’t even have chickens!! Some have even taken the notes from my blog…. hmmmm 😯

It’s a ‘family’ way. It’s a way of living. It has F*** all to do with this word as the media constantly suggests it does [and as does The RTE/ Corrigan show]. Not when a shed costs €360. A good ‘buy right & buy one once’ shed by the way. In my honest experience – anyone who has hens, fowl, chickens…. etc… [and to all of the press out there….] It is cheaper to buy a tray of eggs, for the first few years at least. If you do write anything else – you’ve never lived the good life and know nothing about it.

feed for hens barleyhen water feederhen feeder

  • Back to the nice business… the big bag of barley 40kg costs about €10 in a good old style honest farm supplies shop. This and the kitchen green waste will feed them. They absolutely love potatoes and the peels…. but not so much carrots it seems 🙂 I might change this to a bag of wheat when that runs out.
  • The water container [white kind of upside down bucket – see pics above with a red bottom trim] is only for baby chicks so they don’t fall in. Any bucket that will hold water will do. Even I can be sold ‘stuff’ that is unnecessary…..
  • The steel feeder is necessary if you have a daily job… but keep it inside so as to keep the food dry – otherwise it turns to slop.
  • The four hens cost me €12 each. That will give you a good guide on how much to pay.
hen-eggs-just-layed

...all this for an egg

And after all of that… and just 11 days after arrival…… I got my first egg 🙂

There was a bit more of a hullabulooo in the run today [see pics below]. I stepped in to see the ‘nest’ being prepared. Poor thing didn’t know what was happening…. but all is good. The other guys were faffing around like…. like, well headless chickens I suppose… 😉

I can now walk in and pet them. The dogs have grown accustomed to them. It has however been a learning curve and a journey of sorts; yet,  one I am glad to have taken part in and I do love dearly, still. I always have

Most of my materials came for free… or I had them already. Maybe in a year or 2 it will pay for itself…. but not this year. But then, I am happy. I am 99.9% of the time a very happy chappy and that’s something no amount of money can buy 😆

the other hens want to see whats going onhens perparing to layhen making the nest

Was it worth the money? every penny! Would I recommend it? 110% Whatever you do and however you choose to do it…. have fun, smile and above all enjoy…. I promise you, for the first egg alone, it’s worth it!!

this video is courtesy of my friend Blaithín.

All my weblog articles of hens [so far] are here:

The Chicken Hen House


I had chickens… Long story all covered very recently. I now have four new ones….I have learned a lot recently. A real case of if I knew then what I know now. In brief snippet format here’s what I know

  • These hens are just over 6 months old.
  • All hens start laying at approximately 7 months
  • The run I have is over 6′ tall.
  • Its very sturdy [and built from old timber]
  • The wire mesh runs to the top and is very well attached
  • Foxes wont go in if there are dogs present
  • The shed faces away so I can collect the eggs/ clean out easily
  • The hens will only sit in the hatches if they are laying
  • They will eat anything… within reason!
  • It will take them 2 weeks to settle in
  • They are very friendly
  • I have called them The Supremes
  • Cocks are very loud – I didn’t take one
  • They will be fed on barley and whatever is leftover
  • My green waste bin should be very empty from now on
  • there’s a lot of money to be wasted on bad ‘eco’ books
  • not one book on sale could tell me what it would be like
  • Eggs are expensive
  • Eggs can be bartered for potatoes
  • Don’t cut the grass for the hens before they arrive – they will mow it for you
  • hens like a little bit of height a pole to perch upon

Regarding what I built for the hens… here’s the facts

  • the area of the run is 5m x 2.3m and just over 2 metres tall
  • the shed I got is a 6′ x 4′
  • the hens ‘boxes’/ rooms [?] are the shed width divided by 4-ish and are 40cm off the ground. Do include a lip so the eggs don’t fall out.
  • the wire mesh is just ordinary chicken wire – as its called
  • I used the green ‘tennis court’ type mesh because it was left over and I had ran out of chicken wire
  • the timber is approx 1.5″ x 2.5″ – it was whatever I had lying around
  • the timbers are 2′ below ground level and compacted in. No concrete was used.

anything else I’ve missed out on? what do you think… ?

Oh and have a happy easter 😆

we had some chickens…

but no eggs would they lay…

I called the two girls cagney and lacey [read the full story here].

The reality was I promised my niece Lilly I’d have two chickens [or hens] for her to see on that particular weekend. Cagney & Lacey got delayed in traffic [by about two weeks] and so I rang a friend of mine Alec and asked him could I have two…

they were never any good for me, but you’re more than welcome to them if you wish…?

…was what I was told. I took them. After about six months [and only 3 eggs] of threatening the two girls with eviction unless they started earning their keep I eventually gave up and rang Alec…

these girls are about as useful as a concrete block for laying Alec, you’d better take them back…

And so after learning, reading and researching – visiting, watching and asking all the questions… I got talking to another friend Paddy. Paddy is also a ‘small feathered friend expert’…

It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned that it is about getting the setup right, to suit you. No-one else I know has had hens… so it’s by experience. I also studied horticulture and I had that [once again] ‘living the good life dream’ bug going on. But Alec & Paddy have been at this for yonks and the lads have loads of our feathered laying friends – lots! and I only want 3 or 4. Remember 4 hens generally means 4 eggs… per day[ish]. And ‘her nibs’ likes baking…

So I’ve cleared the place out. I’ve rang John my civil engineer friend and I’m going to get it right this time… to suit me.

cagney & lacey – the chickens

Yesterday I got these two guys. The simplest thing *anyone* can ever do in the smallest of spaces. It took a little for them to settle in but after one night they’re good now.

What You Will Need:

The run I made is from an old dog kennell; some chicken wire [burried about 3″ below ground] & old timber; feeders[2] one for water & one for dry food [from fingal farm supplies North Dublin]. Some timber shavings were used as bedding inside the kennell. This can be cleaned out once a week and put on the green waste heap. Now all you need to do is wait for the eggs!

I named these two girls Cagney & Lacey…. enjoy