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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:

ulster bank… don’t know – do they care?

who am I...?

who am I?

I heard on the radio the European Central Bank rate was cut. All of the Banks are passing it on except Ulster Bank – that is if you are on a variable mortgage. I double doubted myself. Tracker or variable? I could buy some trees… ‘herself’ could get me to put down some skirting boards and hang the doors we don’t have… We’d have a field day and eventually we’d get our home looking like one soon-er….

I emailed my very friendly bank….

First: Is this relevant to landscaping? yes. Relevant to my garden, [they are my personal bank] and also my business bank of 9 years. My mortgages were signed in this branches very office.

Second: If I replied via email to you as my client like this… would ‘you’ be happy with my customer service to you?

From: mailto:info [at] doneganlandscaping [dot] com
Sent: 05 March 2009 16:40
To: (Ulster Bank – Dublin Airport Branch)
Subject: query
Importance: High
A Chara Angela,
Is there any news on Ulster Bank passing on the reduced ECB rate.
Regards
Peter
__________________________________________________
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 8:58 AM
Subject: RE: query
Hi Peter,
Have not been in touch with you lately so hope you are keeping well.
The ECB change will automatically apply to tracker mortgages but no word on the variable yet.
Will let you know if I hear anything.
Regards.
Angela
___________________________________________________
Sent: 06 March 2009 09:10
Subject: Re: query
Thanks Angela
I am on the tracker ?
___________________________________________________________
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 9:10 AM
Subject: RE: query
Peter if you are on a tracker then you automatically get the reduction.
Angela
____________________________________________________
Sent: 06 March 2009 09:19
Subject: Re: query
am I on the tracker?
____________________________________________________
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 9:26 AM
Subject: RE: query
Peter I don’t know and have no way of checking here.
If you look at your mortgage offer.
Angela
____________________________________________________

khayelitsha, south africa 2008 – part 3/3

part 1 of the khayelitsha story is here

part 2 of the khayelitsha story is here

the deadline was Friday lunch-time. I believe it was 3 minutes before one when we finished. Some were on the plane within 12 hours, some where stayng on a bit longer. I had an extra day – to sleep mainly. So many more needed a lot more than that. It was worth it. Another journey was complete. 253 houses were built. A community was given a centre. I played a very small part. I was proud to have done so. I dont have so many photographs of the complete garden, surprising, possibly. But the official blog was there along and so too was the Niall Mellon Township website.

Will I return next year. Yes. Will I need your help. Yes. If you can help – please call. To those who did help me this year – from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much 🙂 It was appreciated.

khayelitsha, south africa 2008 – part 2/3

To read part 1 of khayelitsha, south africa 2008 – click here

I was part of the garden team. A community centre was in place when we arrived. Two schools sat nearby. A primary and a secondary. Horticulturally, the land outside that was to be landscaped was pretty much all sand. Some shacks surrounded the community garden on two sides with a metal fence to seperate. Reality set in. This was to be a mammoth task. But as with all things, planning is everything. The foremen [Gerry, Matty, Dermot and Janet] were in place. Dominic had assembled only the finest to complete his designs. My task – whatever was to be done. Whatever was needed. All of that that was Donegan Landscaping and Ireland to an extent, went right out the window. I wasn’t the boss. I wasn’t Donegan. I was Peter. I was part of a team. Part of a bigger story than I will ever be and I was proud to be there. Who I was didn’t matter. What was achieved did.

Work was done with the local schools. Gardens were built. Once again, more details of this can be read at the official blog. Work was done at a local orphanage. Slides and swings, water features, elephants, grass, plants and trees were put in place.

They say it’s the people that make a place. It made it for me. I met one man at a local school who was asking me how I got to South Africa. He had never been on an aeroplane before. He wanted to know what it was like and if I could see him from the sky. He hoped one day he would be in an aeroplane. I met the beautiful singers of the Baptist Church. I met the school children who did beautiful paintings with the ladies of the garden team.

People worked hard. The heat was crazy. The sand blew in the wind and stuck to our factor 30-40 sun cream. Water bottles emptied almost as quick as they were perspired. It was an inspirational journey.

khayelitsha, south africa 2008 – part 1

There are a few reasons why people maybe wondering why I didn’t write live from ths years Niall Mellon Township Trust journey. Firstly, it was impossible, for me and secondly they had a live blog here from every team there which gave a better overall picture. I was of course only one of over 2,000 people. For those who don’t know the story read the Irish township story here. I also had briefly touched on it here.

And so on to my story, my experience. I was of course one only of so very many….

We left a cold Dublin airport on the morning of the 27th November 2008 and travelled onto Heathrow and from there to Cape Town through the night. The staff on the plane had heard of the travelling Irish. I met so many people en route; One man from Sligo who had only once or twice been out of Sligo and this was his first time on a plane. This was inspirational in itself. The excitement was brilliant.

At the airport Niall Mellon and a welcoming team was there. Once again, ‘he’ shook individually the hands of every person who passed through the airport and thanked every one of us.

We arrived into the heat of Cape Town and after a short journey to our hotels – we reconviened at ‘The Arches’. The central meeting point for the 2000 irish people. We were welcomed by some local musicians and traditional dancers from local children and then followed a rousing speech by Niall Mellon and Bishop Desmond Tutu both thanking us all for coming here and praising each and every one of us for the work we would do this week. It was appreciated. It was heart felt. It was emotional.

But we still had not seen the townships. One thing Niall explained was the translation of the word shantee. Coming from ‘sean’ [the old irish/ gaeilge] for old & ‘tí’ [pronounced tee – meaning house]. It was not until we saw the ‘seantí’ towns that we would realise why we were actually there.

The welcoming march was the eye opener. We walked tall. Everyone of us. Together. seperated only by the colour of our t-shirts. We brought the traffic to a stand-still. It was amazing. I imagined people going into work that mornng explaining why they were late and explaining that it was because over 2,000 irish people were walking the streets… 😉

The people cheered us on. People were dancing and singing  and thanking us all. I saw their homes, their businesses and their faimilies. They were happy.

We were talking that evening of the days events. One conversation was of what was back home. People say we have a recession back home – recession ?!! I really should be so greatful for what life has given me. This was an eye opener. Maybe one we all need, because life is good. In this context, life has been very good to me. If I am in the midst of a recession in Ireland – well then how fortunate am I ….?