First of all I hope you all had a great Christmas.
For those who had our Chicken houses and hens for Christmas I expect that you are now wondering when the eggs are going to arrive. Hens however are very sensible birds and in the wild would not start laying eggs until the spring so that the chicks when they arrive will have lots of food in the form of insects . In order to have chicks in the spring the hens have an internal clock inside them which is started by daylight . Once the day length starts increasing the clock starts ticking. Now in the UK the days are slowly getting longer and the hen's body is gearing up to lay eggs. We can speed up this process in our pet birds by supplying an extra sun in the form of an extra light . The hen then thinks Spring has come and starts laying. Failing this we have to be patient and let nature take it's course. Keeping birds naturally means understanding the forces of nature and working with them. We can look forward to things in season.
Having said this we are very unseasonal at the Domestic Fowl Trust as we still have eggs in the incubator and are still hatching a few chicks. We are just suckers for babies. The picture shows some of the chicks under a heat lamp in our chick room.Because we have lots of different breeds of chickens we have chicks of all colours and sizes. Not all hens will lay in the winter even with added light so we only have a few varieties of chicks at this time of year. Wait until the Spring when the place is really humming or should I say cheeping !
Having mentioned insects we have just had a delivery of live meal worms from wiggly wigglers . http://www.wiggleywigglers.co.uk/ The post lady was wondering what was arriving in a box with holes in the side. Most people know that Meal worms are a good source of protein for wild birds especially when rearing chicks but they are also a great treat for your hens . Watch your girls come running with excitement when they see a few in their feed dish. We will be stocking them in our shop and if there is a demand we will be putting them in our new catalogue.
Christmas day and Boxing day are the only two days in the year when the shop is shut. This means that on Christmas day I was outside talking to the chickens and on Boxing day Clive and I took the opportunity to rearrange some of the shop fittings. We have moved things around a bit and put in a new table for the children's gifts so that they can reach them easily.
It is also the end of my 9th year of trading so we use the holiday time as a chance to do the stock taking. This means counting everything in the shop and store. It also gives me a good chance to plan what new items we will be stocking but more about that in the next blog.
Emma busy recording the numbers of incubators on display