Chickens Category

  • Chicks at 2 weeks

    Agricultre, Chickens, PoultryComments (0)

    On September 15, 2012 • By




    I blogged about the chicks when they were born(plus more here) on Sunday 2nd September.  They’re now 2 weeks old and growing fast – but still very cute!
    Not going to say too much here, except show you two videos that I filmed of them.  One on my ipad and one on my phone and just show you lots of cute pics of them!  There is still one hen sitting on eggs, so there should be more chicks soon!


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  • More cute chick pics

    Agricultre, Chickens, PoultryComments (3)

    On September 2, 2012 • By

    A picture says a thousand words, so I’m not going to say anything else but say the black ones are my favourites!








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  • Unplanned Pregnancy! Warning – cute pics!

    Agricultre, Chickens, PoultryComments (3)

    On September 2, 2012 • By


    Well, these things always happen on a Sunday!

    I was going out this afternoon to feed the hens and heard all this chirping coming from the long grass behind the ruins of our old barn. Uh-oh, I knew what it was straight away as there have been a couple of hens awol for a wee while.

    So I ran over and was greeted by this hen


    I wasn’t sure how many there were but I guessed over ten. I phoned my mother to come give me a hand and we managed to get all THIRTEEN rounded up straight away!


    All nice and exciting, but this is when things got interesting. I wanted to find where the eggs had hatched, just to make sure we had them all. We did so, finding 2 dead ones in the nest, along with one dud


    THEN I heard another hen make the slightest of noises, low and behold, we found THREE other hens, all sitting on eggs!!




    The last one there is black and very difficult to spot. I reckon there are another 30 or so eggs under these hens. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with all of these chicks – especially as I’m away on Tuesday for over a week!!


    Here is my mother searching for nests amongst the long grass.

    Martin also liked the chicks!


    We’ve moved the hen and chicks into a room in the barn for the time being, where my mother can keep an eye on them. She’s also going to have to come in a couple of times a day to keep check the unhatched ones too!

    I previously blogged about my chickens and have only had one chick before this, but that didn’t end well.

    Here is the hen as we left her, sitting on the chicks.


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  • New Arrivals 1

    Agricultre, ChickensComments (0)

    On August 28, 2012 • By

    I got a phone call on Saturday from a guy in the village saying that there were 4 hens free to a good home at someone else in the village. They’d got them a year ago but were getting fed up of them so I stepped in and took them off their hands!


    Four 13-month old hens, still laying. Not too shabby!


    Seeing as it was only half a mile away, I just put them in the back of the van.


    Although that led to it’s own problems when it came to the other end! I’m sure they’ll settle in well though.

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  • Where there’s livestock, there’s deadstock (GRAPHIC)

    Chickens, SheepComments (6)

    On July 29, 2012 • By

    I’ve mulled over this post for a few days but I’ve decided to post it, as I said I was going to post the bad, along with the good.  There is a pretty horrific picture further on down this post.  It’s not nice but imagine how I felt finding it!

    *it really is a horrific picture so don’t go any further if you are squeamish and if you do, don’t bother complaining to me*

    It is of one of my favourite sheep, found dead in the croft.  Here is the sheep with one of her twins, minutes after they were born in mid April.  I was given a black sheep for my 10th birthday (yes, a little strange, I know) in 1994 and I’ve always tried to keep a black female to keep the strain going.  I hadn’t had any black females for a few years and unfortunately both this years lambs were male.  So ends the bloodline.  When you have a small number of sheep, you get to know their personalities.  This one was a good mother and a little bit wild.  She didn’t like people and would hang back a wee bit when someone that wasn’t me was about.

    I usually take the dog in the croft for a walk every second day, or so, to check the sheep.  It’s not uncommon to lose a lamb or two in the summer months so I like to keep an eye on them, just in case anything goes wrong.  I don’t normally count the sheep or lambs, just walk through them and make sure they all look ok.  I went in last Monday night, having not been in since Thursday night and didn’t notice anything wrong.  I walked through all the sheep but decided to carry on to the bottom of the croft, just in case there was anything I’d missed.  As I passed this mound that I’ve pictured, I smelled death.  One of these things you can’t describe unless you’ve experienced it.  It took me a minute or two to figure out where it was coming from because I couldn’t see anything.  Looking at the picture below, you still can’t see anything.

    On closer inspection, the sheep was on her back/side on the other side of the mound, with her horns stuck in the fence.  She had absolutely no chance of getting out.  To say I was gutted is an understatement.

    I covered the carcass with the bath you can see in the earlier picture and came in the next evening to bury the sheep.  I did it at the ‘cemetery’ at the bottom of the croft.  This was when things got messy though.

    Before I show the picture of the sheep, I’d better mention that I came home that day to be greeted by a dead chicken!  No idead what cause of death was but I chased some crows off the carcass.  I buried the chicken with the sheep.  This is when things get gruesome.

    So, like I said, this is when things get nasty.  The sheep had probably been there for the best part of a week.  Add into that the warm, dry weather we’ve had and it’s not a good mix.  I had to use wire cutters to cut it free and then when I lifted it, the side that had been on the ground had been eaten away by maggots.  The smell was horrible and the carcass a lot lighter than it should have been.  Into the transport box on the tractor with it and buried as quickly as possible.  One of the low points of the year on the croft so far.

    I’m not ending on that pic though – here is a pic I took of the sheep in April 2011.

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  • Busy fortnight

    Agricultre, Chickens, Fishing, Poultry, SheepComments (3)

    On July 15, 2012 • By

    I haven’t blogged in a fortnight, things have been hectic!  After shearing, I was away filming Farpaisean Chon-Chaorach in Argyll, played 3 games of football (I was sent-off in my last one, last man offence) and the day job too.  So many things to do at this time of year, I actually found myself looking forward to the long winter nights when I can relax and do NOTHING!

    When I came back from from filming, first thing I did was check the hen that had been sitting on eggs for the past few weeks.  Much to my surprise, this wee fellow was waiting for me!

    I think this was the first (and only, unfortunately) chick to be born on this croft in over thirty years.  My mother thinks it’s that long anyway.  This didn’t end well, however, I found the chick crushed by it’s mother after 3 days.  Gutted.

    I added some more hens that week though.  A friend was looking to cut down the number of hens so I took seven off her hands.  This is me up to 16 hens, plus 2 cockerels now.  Here are the hens boxed up for transportation.

    A few months ago, I acquired a second (possibly 3rd or 4th) hand hen-house.  It’s a wee bit shabby and wasn’t being used to I took it for a tenner.  I eventually got round to doing a couple of temporary repair jobs on it, to house the new hens.  In true Lewis crofter fashion, I recycled some bits and bobs that were in the barn to patch it up.  The door here is a tile left over from the laminate flooring that went in my parents utility room – perfect fit!

    Couple of other things needed repairing too – like rehanging the door!

    I’ve noticed that the number of eggs I get each day is down.  As of 3 weeks ago, I was getting 4-8 each day, now it’s one or two.  There are 3-4 hooded crows that are pretty much resident around the house and I think they’ve started to pinch them.  That’ll need sorting soon.  I also suspect that some of the hens are laying in this patch of long grass.  Will get the strimmer on it when I have time.

    The grass is growing there, but it’s not everywhere.  Most of the UK is complaining of heavy rain but we’re the exact opposite as this Farmers Weekly article shows.  The article also features an interesting map, showing rainfall percentages across the UK, oh and a quote or two from me.

    The plus side of no rain is nice days!

    As I posted last week, all the sheep have been shorn.  The wool has been bagged up and sitting in our barn since then, so myself and my father closed the bags and prepared everything to take them over to Stornoway.  The bags are usually picked up by Hebrides Haulage sometime in August, but three bags take up a lot of room so we’ll take them over next week.

    The bags are sown shut and a label attached, identifying who they come from.  We had 65 sheep shorn at £1.50 each (£3 rams) so paid £100-110 for it.  Depending on wool prices, we should get most of that back, maybe all of it.  I remember getting a cheque for around £10 a few years ago, for all our wool.  You don’t make much money out of it but it’s something that has to be done anyway.  Prices are much better now, I think we got £70-80 last year, making up for what we paid out.

    We still haven’t been out on our new boat yet.  She hadn’t been at sea for a while so there was some work to be one.  The outboard has been serviced and my dad has painted most of her.  We had a joiner up yesterday putting a floor in her.  Here’s Donnie “Disaster” Campbell, checking out his handywork.  We’ll hopefully get out sometime in the next fortnight.

    Lots of other things being done too.  The dry spell means I have to take water to the sheep on a more regular basis than normal.  They’re all home now after a week in the village park after shearing.  All marked and drenched (for worms etc) and split into different fields.  The rams, hoggs and gimmers come home this Saturday, hopefully not too early in the morning as I have my cousin’s wedding on Friday night!

    The following week I’m off to Glasgow for 5 days, filming Faraisean Chon-Chaorach and also going to Hampden for Olympic football!


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  • Injured hen

    Agricultre, Chickens, PoultryComments (0)

    On May 25, 2012 • By

    One of my hens hurt her foot yesterday.  I’d left the back door of the house open and, once I opened the front door, the draft slammed the back door shut.  I went to open it 10 minutes later, only to find that a hen had been standing there and her leg had been trapped in the door.  I checked to make sure there was nothing broken – I don’t think so – and there wasn’t much to see apart from a wee cut.  She hopped off with the rest but was a little sore today.

    You can see some bruising on her leg here.  The greeny/blue colour

    I sprayed on some antiseptic spray.  I didn’t know chickens were potentially cannibals!

    It’s not easy being neat………

    Off she hopped, back into the hen-house.

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  • My Chickens

    Agricultre, Chickens, PoultryComments (9)

    On May 21, 2012 • By

    I’ve only had chickens since April 2011, when I took over responsibility for my cousin’s 3 hens because she was being daft and prioritised getting married and building a house with her husband over animals (some people are crazy!) :)

    Here are some of my hens as they are today.  Total of 10 hens and 2 cockerels.

    I have two hen houses for them.  I only close them up when the weather gets bad, but they are free to come and go whenever they like.

    They’re always out and about, here they are sheltering from a cold northerly by the wheel of the trailer. The trailer definitely needs a lick of paint!

    Being chased by some hungry chooks!

    I slowly built up the number of hens over the year, adding a few in autumn and a few more over the winter and into spring.  The two below came in February, having hitched a lift from Inverness on a lorry-load of hay that was being delivered to Island Crofter Ltd, a business run by a friend of mine.  I happened to be off work so nipped up and took them off their hands. They had laid 2 eggs on the lorry, but I let them keep them! (The picture also appeared in Fios, the newspaper in Ness)

    I recently purchased 4 new hens.  This is one of them, while they were penned next to the rest of the hens during the first week or so.  I think I’ll stay at this number of hens now!

    They’re pretty productive, usually ranging between 4-8 eggs per day.  Many more than I (and my parents) can use, so I have started selling them to friends for £1 per half dozen.  Quite cheap, I know but it more than covers my monthly feed costs and that’s all I want.

    Some of the younger birds have just started laying – resulting in some tiny eggs!

    Anyway, along with eggs, I get fun and enjoyment out of keeping chickens!

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