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Hi everyone newbie here

Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
edited May 2015 in "Off Your Chest"
Hello...
Tina and I have fenced off 7metres x 22metres area for our new chicken coop and area and are looking for advice and guidance on getting 6 hens and a cockerel.

The breeds we fancy so far are the West Sussex and Welsummer. We are very new to this and we are looking for layers for the house and to build our own flock. What's the do's and don'ts?

We live Essex/Suffolk border,

Thanks.

Al
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Comments

  • Helen McGregor Junior Member
    edited January 2015
    Hello, I'm a new member too with not much experience, but I do have experience of having a cockerel with six hens. It was a disaster and I was advised that one cockerel need 15 or more hens. My cockerel bullied one hen so badly that she ran away from home and laid her eggs under a hedge - 21 when we found them. We got rid of him and after a lot of trauma managed to recapture her and shut her in the coop so that she realised that he was gone and she could live in her coop with the other girls again. Unless you're thinking of breeding, I would advise that you don't have a cockerel and if you do want to breed, get the ratio sorted out.

    But what do I know?!!!

    Helen. McGregor
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    edited January 2015
    Thank you Helen

    I will take your advice on board !

    Regards Al
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    edited April 2015
    Well I/we got our six lady's from The Suffolk Chicken Company, very pleased with them !

    Can't post any pics though as the URL won't copy !

    Anyway the Coop and pen are built and painted, the lady's had their first night, cockerel coming later !
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    Hi Al,

    Sorry I missed your original post. Welcome to the forum!

    Hopefully there is a new improved site format coming later this year which will enable easier posting of pics.

    What breeds did you get in the end?
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    edited April 2015
    After a lot of of research Tina found the supplier that suited us,

    We went to The Suffolk Chicken Company up near Bury St Edmunds,

    We now have,

    Two Suffolk Blues,
    One Suffolk Star,
    One Sussex White,
    Two Suffolk Speckled.

    All 18 weeks old, settled in well, eating drinking, clean backsides, happy to go in and out of their coop, not at dusk yet without 'encouragement'. Enjoying their 20' X 10' pen, but they have 2 acres in a couple of weeks when they get orientated.

    Cockerel in a couple of days.

    We're happy with our little lot, and between them and the Calves that are being born we're enjoying our new life style !
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    Sounds like hen heaven!

    Bet you'll be eggsited when they start laying ;) :D
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    hi and welcome
    that's a nice big run and a pretty selection of breeds:)
    re the hen to cockerel ratio...cockerels very often pick a favourite who will get more attention than others so its not a case of bullying but favouritism
    if the hen is likely to get injured by the constant attention then you could use poultry saddles or simply separate the hen now and again -cocks are fickle so easily switch their attention
    cocks like to reassert their authority each morning so its quite natural for them to give a peck or two and a chase - again this isn't aggression but natural- hes just making sure that everyone knows hes in charge (well he thinks he is anyway:D )too many hens can be a problem for a cockerel as the stress can kill him
    cockerels are all different so one of 3 things will happen on introduction
    1 he will be a gent and show some manners and the hens will just accept him
    2 hell go in guns blazing and put everyone in their place - not nice but a natural set up
    3 hell be scared and nervous and the hens will gang up on him -if this happens take out your top hen for a while and any that have a go at him so hes left with quieter ones to build up his confidence .....gradually bring the others back into the mix
    wishing you lots of luck and enjoyment
    x kath
    if you use google plus or you tube you can post the links to pics on here
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    edited May 2015
    On top of the girls we now have a beautiful Welsummer Cockerel !

    They are keeping him in check, showing him the ways of life here !

    He doesn't mind the Calves as neighbours either !
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    edited May 2015
    hi congratulations - nice choice of cockerel
    hell soon pluck, pun intended, up the courage to assert his position :D
    i want pics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    xx kath
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
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  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    This was when they first arrived. They now have the run of about 1/4 acre.

  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
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  • doormouse Senior Member
    edited July 2015
    Looks and sounds idyllic and I hope you're still enjoying it...they all look gorgeous and that cockerel sounds like a real gent! So...hens, cockerel, calves, pooch...what next?...goat, miniature pig, ducks, geese...??? Keep us posted! B-) M
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
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  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    hi
     lovely pics of your girlies
     nice to see your cockerel has found his feet - hes a stunner
    youve got a lovely little flock there - thanks for sharing the pics
     xx kath

  • doormouse Senior Member
    Yes lovely...one of yours looks like my Yorkie...but I only keep rescues who are usually regulation orange - but ended up with one chocolateish...what breed is she? (am particularly interested as Yorkie is my longest ever rescue...3 yrs 2 months if she lasts til 4th August - getting on for one of solarbats' Nelly Deans - 6+ years)...does cockerel have a name? ~:> M
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    Doormouse

    We are seriously looking at KuniKuni Pigs, Herdwick sheep, Donkeys, and the Lady pines to have four Clydesdales to pull a coach that she has in France which she wishes to bring here.

    Our dream of a fun life in the country is slowly coming together, we had set the goal fourteen years ago, and we have gently built it over the years. There is a lot of things that we need to achieve, carefully, but with ambition and hard work, and a wee bit of luck it won't be long before we are all cwtched up in our home with our animals around us.

    Going to keep you posted, and will be asking for guidance and knowledge as we go.
    Regards

    Al & Tina
  • doormouse Senior Member
    edited July 2015
    Al and Tina - that's fantastic and I wish you all the luck in the world! My dream wasn't quite so ambitious...to work locally, part-time and spend time with my chooks, gardening, growing veg and cooking (as well as being a 'lady who lunched'!)...I have switched from the 'rat race' commute to office based London (and work-related travelling living in hotels during the week) to a 20 min drive to an agricultural research institute working in greenhouses and laboratories...love it...well, love it 3 days a week anyway - yayy!! Go for it you two!!

    Oh and cwtched???...dead giveaway - with undautri and sandiesbrahmas, you're in the right Welsh place (I'm Essex meself - now Bedfordshire)... :D M
  • 275wright275wright Senior Member
    Welcome and love your photos. Your cockerel is a stunner and I think he will prove to be a real asset. I have never been without a cockerel for my hens and nor will I . I adore them, the hens are well looked after and protected and he is always fussing around them, even sitting with them and guarding them when they are laying. And I love the crowing as well.
    We started a little smallholding for rescued farm animals about 17 years ago and had some sheep, goats, geese, ducks and hens. We also came close to getting a couple of Kune Kune's at one stage but decided we had enough. We still have two geese who are 17 years old and 4 sheep who are coming up to 15 and a half. It sounds like you will have exciting times ahead xx
  • Littlechick Senior Member
    Hi Al and Tina, your flock look very nice and great choices too. Have you put a roof on their smaller run and do you use electric fencing around their larger 'playground'? Just a thought as Mr Fox has a habit of visiting during daylight.
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    No electric fencing but inner run has a roof yes.

    A very large, a very very large long coated German Shepherd and his family look after them during the day !image
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  • undautriundautri Senior Member

    thats some size of a dog and a brilliant crew for keeping the fox away whats their names?and are they good with the chooks?
    my last dog was brilliant and luckily for me our new dog george, a staffie is proving really good too .........doesnt bother the chooks at all but keeps stealing their food and licking up their messes from the path :-&
    keep the pics coming - im really enjoying seeing them
    xkath

  • Littlechick Senior Member
    Wow, with a pack like that I don't think a fox would dare to show up. Lovely dogs.
  • doormouse Senior Member
    I think if I just hung that photo in my garden my chooks would be safer...LOL... ^:)^ ...loving the pics! ~:> M
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    Zak is the boss, but we also have Jade, his great great auntie, Cassie, Jed, Braken, Ella,

    They stare at the chooks, but have never tried to snap at them, the chooks are fairly calm around them but keep their distance.

    We are lucky to have a happy-to-live-together bunch of animals, I reckon because they understand OUR pack mentality, they understand that we are to live together in harmony.....-ish !

    The bull that we have visiting our ladies at the moment isn't overly chuffed with the hounds, but they all give each other respect and enough room. Although he does enjoy bellowing and a bit of ground stomping to assert his authority.

    As I do, but they all know that Tina is our real top Boss !
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
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  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    Zak was bitten by an Adder the other week and we nearly lost him as his blood rapidly started to congeal in his system, it was touch and go for a while, very upsetting for us.
  • Al JonesAl Jones Junior Member
    edited August 2015


    Other visitors to Abrams Croft !

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  • Littlechick Senior Member
    Wonderful photos. I love your set up you have a fantastic assortment of animals... The dog on the hay bale is very, very pretty! You were with the dog when the snake bit? Do they have anti venom for dogs? That must have been really frightening and upsetting.

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