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the ultimate guide to chick-hens

big smile...

big smile...

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.