snowman and donkey

Keeping chickens – December tips

A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and December tips for keeping chickens:

This month, egg production is still really good in the hybrid barn, so I'm making lots of homemade puddings - great comfort food after a long day in the cold.

Spending a few minutes observing your chickens is essential in winter, as it is a trying time for them. Any behavioural changes could indicate illness, boredom or stress: all of which can easily be dealt with if caught early, but problems can quickly worsen if ignored. Hens really appreciate an afternoon feed of corn (combine with rolled oats and just enough cod liver oil - a good all-round tonic - to coat the mixture) for an energy boost, which will help them through the long chilly nights.

Sorting all my pure breeds for next year. This involves choosing those of either sex that best fits the features required by the breed standard - from leg colour to weight and size - and putting them in the pen where I can see them to ensure they're in tip-top condition. I've picked out some gorgeous Salmon Faverolles, Pekins and Buff Orpingtons, which will produce wonderful offspring next year.

Click here for details of Suzie Baldwin's hen keeping courses at Hollywater Hens, and have a look at some more of Suzie's tips for keeping chickens

Suzie Baldwin writes in BBC Countryfile magazine

Suzie Baldwin Talks Turkey in BBC Countryfile Magazine

Talking Turkey

Look out for the December issue of BBC Countryfile magazine where Hollywater Hens’ poultry expert Suzie Baldwin contributes to an article all about turkeys.

Suzie Baldwin writes in BBC Countryfile magazine

“Why are turkeys called turkeys?”

The firs time Europeans saw turkeys – in North America – they believed the birds must be related to guinea fowl. As guinea fowl were thought to originate in Turkey, their larger American ‘cousins’ were given that name.

Poultry expert Suzie Baldwin writes in BBC Countryfile magazine

Poultry expert Suzie Baldwin writes in BBC Countryfile magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The article “Turkey: A Natural History” tells you everything you never knew about the Christmas bird.

chickens in coop

Keeping chickens – November tips

A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and November tips for keeping chickens:

The trees are almost bare of leaves, there's a nip in the air and fireworks are pervading the night skies. It must be November! This can be a trying time for the girls. Rosie, a very independent, headstrong Pekin Bantam, who's generally last to bed, is firmly tucked up before dusk, while the usually contented and mellow Buff Orpingtons are being rather tetchy with each other - disturbed nights really don't suit them! In recent years, firework displays seem to be more frequent, causing problems for some chickens. They are sensitive creatures and susceptible to stress, which affects their behaviour, Iowers their immunity 
and reduces egg production.

Dried lavender, either sprinkled on their bedding or placed in bags and pinned inside the coop, helps them to relax. You can also use homeopathic treatments such as phosphorous, or Bach Rescue Remedy - these anxiety-relieving solutions seem to work almost instantly (both products are available from most good health-food shops). Covering the coop with blankets
 can muffle the outside noise (take care
 not to block ventilation holes) and
 extra bedding will help them feel secure. During the day, I place crushed garlic
 cloves in filled drinkers - it boosts the
 girls' natural defences without altering 
the taste of their eggs
.

Click here for details of Suzie Baldwin's hen keeping courses at Hollywater Hens, and have a look at some more of Suzie's tips for keeping chickens

Clock

Winter opening times at Hollywater Hens

With Winter closing in now, Hollywater Hens will be moving to our Winter opening hours after this weekend.
We will remain open at weekends from 10am to 4pm but will be closed on weekdays apart from Friday (by appointment only please)
Monday to Thursday – Closed
Friday – by appointment
Saturday and Sunday – 10am to 4pm
Halloween at Hollywater Hens

Keeping chickens – October tips

A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and October tips for keeping chickens:

As the days are becoming shorter, I've cheered my self up by buying a lovely Trio of Brahmas They're beautiful. All my other birds fill the air with raucous clucks and cock-a-doodle-dos as they welcome the new arrivals. The turkey can't quite make them out. Meanwhile, Doris, a lovely speckled hybrid, is in trouble as she has tucked into a packet of custard creams left unattended on my desk in the stable-cum-office. They say chickens are stupid but she knows where the biscuit barrel is. Too much sugar on a regular basis can be harmful for poultry, but as an occasional treat it isn't a problem.

Halloween is on the way and if, like me, you carve a pumpkin for your porch, don't waste the seeds. They have been used for hundreds of years as a natural wormer for animals including chickens, which greatly to enjoy them. I whizz them in a blender and add a small amount of natural yogurt to make a smoothie. You could also feed them as they are, using a scooped-out pumpkin half as a bowl (they love the flesh, too). My children dot glowing lanterns around the
 field to scare foxes. It's worth a try and looks very pretty. At other times, I use natural wormer Verm-X, the fennel, peppermint and cinnamon helps keep chickens’ digestive system healthy.

Click here for details of Suzie Baldwin's hen keeping courses at Hollywater Hens, and have a look at some more of Suzie's tips for keeping chickens

lambs in front of the Hollywater Hens shop

Open again as usual

The family wedding is over and Hollywater Hens is open again as usual:

 

Chickens for sale in the shop at Hollywater Hens in Hampshire

Open Wednesday to Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Open Saturday and Sunday
10:00am – 4:00pm

Closed – Monday and Tuesday
Open – Bank holidays

Chicken Sculpture at The Savill Garden

Sculpture in The Savill Garden – including a very nice hen

Chicken Sculpture at The Savill Garden

1 SEPTEMBER - 31 OCTOBER

Visitors to The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park will be able to explore and enjoy a display of imaginative and innovative sculpture, forming an exciting trail which leads around the Garden. The sculptures are inspired by the natural world. All pieces are available to purchase and standard Savill Garden entry fees apply.

Chicken Sculpture

 

 

 

While being very careful to blur the price off this sculpture - it was quite expensive! - another visitor to the Sculpture Trail did say with all sincerity "She's being very still for you to take your picture".

water feature

pig sculpture

sculpture

flower

sculpture

sculpture

flower

sculpture and flowers

ducks crossing road

Ducklings cross road… with police escort

Police in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, stopped traffic to help a mother duck and several ducklings cross a busy road.

Canterbury Police posted a video of the incident on their facebook page, along with a note thanking the motorists who stopped to allow them safe passage.

“Thank you to everyone who stopped while this family of ducklings flagged down a Police escort across a busy Christchurch intersection. They went on to explore a newly formed water feature!!!”