Training the chickens

Why did we train our our chickens?
We wanted to train our chickens so that we can easily get them in their coop or run when we need to rather than having to chase them round the garden!

It is also good to have your chickens trained so that if you see a predator in the garden, such as a fox, you can quickly get your chickens to go tot the safety of their run or coop.
How we trained them?

We trained them with quite a bit of work at the start because they did not know what it was (corn) and how we taught them it was by shaking the corn every time they pecked to tell them when you hear the shaking noise it means corn.
When the chickens come out they run to me to get some corn. Today I did a video of them running to me for some corn (I don’t give them as much corn as it shows in the video.)

Breeds of chicken

We have 3 different breeds of chicken. They all get along with each other.
The White Sussex. The Sussex chicken is a dual purpose breed of chicken that originated in England around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43 that is a popular garden chicken in many countries. It lays about 250eggs a year.

The Bluebell. The blue-slate coloured Bluebells are one of the biggest of the hybrids and also one of the most popular. They are derived from various types of Marans Coucou and Rhode Island Red. They can come in light slate grey or darker grey shades. They have a large red comb and black feet. It lays about 260eggs a year.
The Barred Rock. The Barred Rock is a hybrid derived by crossing a Barred Plymouth Rock (cock) and a Rhode Island Red (hen). It gets the bars (attractive black & grey stripes) in its feathers from the Barred Plymouth Rock which gives it a very attractive plumage. It’s a reverse cross of the Black Rock and like the Black Rock it is a reliable and tough bird. It can lay up to 290eggs a year.

Thank you to Howard from Poultry Paddock for the information. 

Eggciting!

image
Fake eggs in our coop.

Yesterday we bought some fake eggs. We put them into the nesting box to teach the hens where to lay the eggs. By the night we bought the fake eggs the chickens had realised what they were, Stripey and Bluebell were sharing a nesting box and because it was so squishy Snowy went in her own nesting box so. At bed time they were all nesting on a plastic egg.

Buying our chickens

Today we got our chickens from The Poultry Paddock (http://poultrypaddock.com/) in Newcastle Under Lyme. My mum had emailed Howard(the farmer) who had had lots of chickens for sale.

We set off pretty early to get there for 10:00 although we got there slightly early.

Howard was looking after the chickens when we got there. Howard was a very friendly man. When we arrived Howard told us to wipe our feet on some disinfectant so the chickens stayed in a good condition. Whilst we were looking Howard was telling us what the different breeds were.

We then had to decide which chickens we wanted. We decided to get 3 – one for mum and dad, one for Charlie and one for me.

First Charlie decided, then me and finally mum and dad.

I chose a stripey one which I called Stripey (Barred Rock breed).

image
This is Stripey

Charlie chose a white one with a black collar which he called Snowy (White Sussex breed).

image
This is Snowy

Mum and dad chose one with a really dark head and a pale body which they called Bluebell (Bluebell breed).

image
This is Bluebell

Howard clipped their wings (it’s like having your hair cut) so that it would be difficult for them to fly away. We brought a box to take them home in – they were very comfy in it on the back seat next to me and Charlie.

When we got home we let them into the run to explore. We are leaving them in the run and coop for 4 days so they get used to our garden before letting them out.