Wednesday, 18 December 2013

2013 in the Heart of Dorset

As the wind whistles up and down the Blackmore Vale, the trees rattle loose the last few leaves clinging to their branches and the clouds roll back just enough to let a single, solitary shaft of wan sunlight, illuminate Flyte so Fancy. So it is, that the earth has completed the celestial dance with the sun once more, and we have reached the end of another (!!!) year here in the heart of Dorset.

While the year was perhaps this year more sunshine than rain, it has been a busy, exciting and at times frenetic year; what with Shows to attend, a new revolutionary Hen House to launch, news products to test and at all times, the stars of this blog, the FSF flock to look after.

Flyte so Fancy Chicken CoopsIt was in March that we launched out latest hen house, the Aviary. With its unique one sided access design, it was created for poultry keepers with limited space in their gardens. Built to house a minimum of four birds in the smallest model, to a maximum eight in the largest, the hen house has many great features often requested by our customers. The house is raised off the floor, creating a sheltered area beneath, a dry place in winter for your birds or their feeders and drinkers, or a shady spot in the summer to keep cool. Secondly, with its large access door to both house and run, getting in to clean is easier than ever, incredibly useful during red mite season. Finally, it has a veranda of day perches out the front, perfect for an afternoon snooze for your girls. With the Aviary hen house successfully launched, the Royal Hampton Court Show and Tatton Park Shows loomed.

2013 Royal Hampton Court Palace Show Celebrity Hen Houses

This year we worked in conjunction with Country Living magazine and the Royal Horticultural Society, to bring something truly special to the Royal Hampton Court and Tatton Park Shows. Our celebrity designed Hobby Hen Houses. One of our most popular houses, in no small art due to its Alpine chalet looks, the Hobby Hen Houses were sent off to their respective celebrities and I returned to my chair to twiddle my thumbs and await the results. The six celebrities were BHWT supporters Phillipa Forrester, Kate Humble, Strictly star and Dragon's Den Deborah Meaden, gardeners gardener David Domoney, designer Sophie Conran and florist Nikki Tibbles. The arrival of the hen houses at the Royal Hampton Court Palace Show exceeded even my wildest dream, with each celebrity bringing their own unique touches or artistic flair; from Kate Humbles veg window boxes, Nikki Tibbles flowery affair or Deborah Meaden's Dragon's Chicken Den. The reception of the hen houses by all and sundry was unprecedented and really affirmed what it is we believe in here at FSF HQ. After they were displayed at Tatton Park to equal acclaim, they were auctioned off to raise money for two charities; the RHS School Garden Scheme and Country Living's choice of the Addington Fund, raising well over £2000.00 for these worthy charities.

Celebrity Designed Hen Houses at Hampton Court Show 2013

ChickenGuard Automatic DoorsAs the year passed we got many new and exciting products into FSF HQ, all needed to be given a trial run by our resident poultry scientists, the FSF Flock. From the new highly functional Automatic Door Openers, the ChickenGuard. With a built in timer and override open and close buttons, the ChickenGuard has proven incredibly popular with our customers. Over the Summer, as the sun beat down, we test drove the new Trent Drinker, in our chicken paddock. A sturdy plastic fountain drinker, it is modelled to work in a similar way as a galvanised fountain drinker and its ease of use. certainly made keeping the flock well supplied with water an easy task. As winter rose its weary and sleepy head over the landscape, Nature's Grub arrived with some tasty new Garden Blends, each filled with nutritious and  delicious yummy-ness it did not take long for our hens to eat them up.

New arrivals to Flyte so Fancy

While everything else was going on this year, of course there was our Flyte so Fancy flock to take care of. 2013 saw new arrivals, some gorgeous Gold Sebright's and Quail who now live in an Aviary 8 and Maggie's Dozen by the FSF Shop. Down in the chicken paddock, two clutches of Silver Spangled Hambugs and one of Gold Laced Hamburgs successfully hatched and the year also saw a gosling or two join our gaggle of geese. Most recently a pair of Old English Pheasant Fowl came to live with us in our chicken paddock.

One of the Flyte so Fancy Hens

As the winter chill begins to spread through the bones, icy breaths fog the air and our sister company Dorset Log Stores finds herself gearing up to keep people warm, here at FSF in the last week before Christmas we've begun our annual tidy, made sure that there is a deeper layer of Hemp-E bedding in all the coops and personally beginning to prepare for another busy year of blogs all about chicken news, tips and ideas and what is going on here in the heart of Dorset, at Flyte so Fancy.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

An Automatic Door for your Chicken Coop or Hen House

I have been engaged in a twenty seven year love affair with sleeping and bed. While I am able to drag myself from the warm, snug and comforting embrace of a tog 24 duvet with the minimum amount of fuss every week day, come the weekend and the all important Sunday morning lie in, getting up is difficult. Very difficult.

Which is why, as soon I was able, I attached a ChickenGuard Automatic Door to the front of my Maggie's Six Hen House. Now if like myself, you are also engaged in an affair with Morpheus, then an automatic pophole for your chicken coop is a must. The automatic door units work off ambient light to tell them when to rise in the morning and close in the evening.

As they work off of ambient light, it means that in the evening after a busy day terrorising their surroundings, your flock have plenty of time to get inside before the door closes. The aluminium doors are both light weight and sturdy, so are strong enough to keep any predator out while remaining streamlined. They are a tiny portcullis protecting your hens, like the castles of old.

VSB & Chickenguards from Flyte so Fancy
VSB & Chickenguard Door Openers
The VSB unit is a well established automatic pop hole unit. Working off ambient light to open and close itself, the addition of a light sensor cable, means that this great little unit and your pop hole door can be fitted internally to your chicken coop, meaning that the exterior aesthetic of your hen house isn't ruined. At Flyte so Fancy we take great pride in the rustic beauty of our hen houses, so we think is a nice feature.

The VSB Unit can also have a timer unit added to it, allowing for a greater control over your automatic door. By setting the time that your door opens and closes, it means you can make sure that on short winter days or long summer ones, your hens get the maximum amount of time out and about.

Automatic Chicken Doors
VSB on a Maggies 12
The ChickenGuard Unit, which I've fixed to my Maggie's Six Hen House, is a relatively new Automatic Door Opener. With amazing functionality, this little unit gives you an unprecedented level of control over your door opener

Coming in the standard model as a timer only control, you can upgrade to the premium model, which has both the timer and a light sensor. You can also mix together the two options on the unit, to have it open on the light sensor but close on the timer, or vice versa depending on how you want it.

What is brilliant about the ChickenGuard unit, is that it has two large override buttons on the front. Up early (unlikely in my case) and it's still dark outside, you can press the Open button and let your girls out early. Equally, home early and your girls are all in, but it isn't dark enough yet for the door to lower by itself, just push the Close button and lock them away safe for the night.

Having an Automatic Pop Hole Door on your hen house is a great aid for any poultry keeper. They save going outside on windy rainy nights to shut up the hens, or getting out of bed on a cold Sunday morning to let them out. They continue to prove popular with many of out customers here at Flyte soFancy. There is rarely a day when the FSF Workshop isn't fitting an Automatic Pop Hole Door to one of our hen houses ready to go to one of our customers.

If you have any questions about the unit why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of our team.

Thanks for Reading