Thursday, 9 May 2013

Rearing Chicks, Ducks or even a Gosling or two

Regular followers of our social media pages will have seen the various new arrivals that have joined our family, what with the coming of Spring here at Flyte so Fancy in Dorset. Whether it was Theobold III the duckling, our little clutch of Hamburg chicks or our cute gosling (cruelly named The Ugly Duckling by the gardener) every year we have some new additions to our chicken paddock.

Chick Drinkers
At FSF, the bosses have been rearing chickens for longer than I've been alive, which is why when they started Flyte so Fancy, Phill designed a Broody Coop that had everything he's ever wanted from a house designed for the raising of chicks. With large back door pull out access and a roof that lifts up, access into the coop to get at your hens and chicks, makes for easy cleaning and speaking from experience it is really easy to take pictures of your cute chicks as they wander around the safety of the house. The great extra to the Broody Coop is the one metre (or two metre if you want that option) run that is built into the structure of the house. This means your chicks can get some exercise, doing endless circuits of the house, as mother hen watches on.

Broody HenThe rearing of chicks is a relatively simple process nowadays, with feeders and drinkers designed for the smallest of chicks or ducklings and baby chick crumb easily available, your young ones will grow safely and securely till they are old enough for mother hen to be taken away (usually around four weeks old). Once our miniature flocks reach eight weeks old (roughly) we move them to a larger chicken house. There is often much debate over whether chicks should be given perches, we usually say as long as they are at least 5cm wide, to avoid damaged breast bones, this should not be a problem. At this time the chicks will need to be in a house where they can take shelter if they need too, however if it is an adult house make sure that the nest boxes are blocked off, for once they start roosting in a nest box it can be a difficult habit to break.

Swimming ducklings

Young chicks, ducklings or goslings should be kept under a close watch at all times during their rearing period, but from the numerous photo opportunities that arise from them doing something cute or hilarious they can also be a real joy and a thoroughly satisfying investment of your time. Just ask Theobold II (Theobold III dad for obvious reasons) as he glides majestically back and forth across our pond: it might take a little work but rearing your own chickens or ducks, guinea fowl or quail, geese or even a turkey can make a flock very much a part of the family.

Flyte so Fancy

1 comment:

  1. My Broody Coop is my best ever purchase. I have two Maggies 24 Hen Houses, an Eglu and my Broody Coop. Although the Eglu is brilliant for sick or quarantined birds, if they decide to sit in the middle of the mesh tunnel you can't reach them.

    So my Broody Coop serves a dual purpose, solitary space for those birds that need it, with easy access for me if I need to lift them out for treatment AND in it's true role as a brilliant little safe house for mum and her chicks to be for those first couple of weeks.

    Then I simply open the door at the end and they wander out in amongst the 'big girls' knowing they have a safe house close by.

    The only girls to outgrow it very quickly were my 3 Goslings, reared by Mother Goose, the Hyline hen, they grew so fast it was amazing.