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sheik

Days 1 to 4 with my new Eglu

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Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum, and thought an introductory post about my experiences so far might be appropriate :).

My partner (Cherry) and I both work, and we wouldn't have even considered keeping chickens if we hadn't seen the Eglu.

 

Day -5(!)

Roger, the nice chap from Omlet arrives with our Eglu, but only one chicken! :( Sue had already telephoned me to say that unfortunately there had been a mistake loading the van, so we couldn't have our chickens delivered. She arranged for us to go and choose our own from a local poultry centre the following weekend. Roger's demo is excellent (it takes him all of five minutes to assemble the Eglu!), and he has a spare chicken to show me how to hold them and trim wings etc, but it is still rather sad when we are left with an empty Eglu for a week :(.

(A few days later, a winter shade arrives in the post from Sue as compensation - thanks Sue!)

 

Day 1

Saturday morning arrives and we excitedly visit the chicken place (Thorne's garden centre in Letchworth), which turns out to be a very nice garden centre with eight breeds of chickens to choose from.

We explain we have an agreement with Omlet to choose two chickens but are told in no uncertain terms that in their opinion, our chickens will be much happier in a group of three. We don't take too much convincing, so end up with three breeds of pullets.

Once we get home, we pick them up out of the box for the first time and put them in our Eglu. They are pretty unsure of their new surroundings, but within an hour or so have located their feed, and (eventually) their water.

They are extremely suspicious and fearful of the Eglu itself, and only Elliott dares put her head inside, before it all gets too much for her and she runs away.

Night approaches, so we try and get them inside, but they are having none of it. A broom is employed to (gently) herd them in, but Mrs Bennett skillfully evades it and sprints towards the open run door, slipping past me and into the garden. This is all rather amusing, and the other two chickens get to watch the ensuing chase from inside the Eglu. Within a few moments she is caught though and this time is happy to join her sisters.

We lock the door to the Eglu just in case they get startled in the night and one gets pushed out, but this will be the last time we lock it, as we are hoping to train them to let themselves out each morning.

 

Day 2

I drag the Eglu to a new part of the lawn while they are still inside, and hear some clucked complaints. I open the door, but only halfway, and they soon push their way out. This bodes well for their training!

I empty their tray, realising I'd forgotten to line it with newspaper, but it is still trivially easy to clean.

After an initial feed, Xena retires back to the Eglu. We let her stay in there for an hour, but are worried that she might have been bullied, so put her out in the run and close the door behind her. She seems fine after that, so maybe she was just being lazy.

The chickens have an enjoyable Sunday eating a few grapes and strawberries, and ignoring the brocolli that I hook onto the side of the run. I make sure the snacks are only offered in the afternoon though, as we've been told to let them fill up on proper feed in the mornings.

They do get startled twice. The first time is when I fire up the petrol lawnmower. I realise this is likely to scare them, but they'll need to get used to it. I don't mow too near their run though and once it is turned off they soon settle down.

The next incident is far more terrifying to them. I fill up a basket with dry compost, to see if they want a dustbath, and place it just inside the run. For some reason they are in mortal terror of this innocuous newcomer, and start furiously pecking the closed Eglu door. In one sense this is good as they obviously now associate the Eglu with safety, but I'm a bit concerned at their fear of the pot. I resort to breaking out the corn we bought at Thornes, and they are soon pecking happily around the basket. A few grains of corn in the compost elicits interest, and after some tentative pecks, they relax. Elliott even demonstrates some decent climbing skills, as she steps up into the pot several times. Other than that though, there is no interest in a dust bath so I remove the pot in case it gets wet overnight.

I then try and move the eglu while they are out in the run. It's difficult as you can't lift the run too high or the chickens could slip underneath and escape. Once they're allowed out of the run it will be much easier.

The chickens get one more treat before the end of the day, when I go digging for worms. This time, before approaching I shake a cup of grain, and within one worm they realise this sound means Something Good Is On The Way. The worms provoke an absolute feeding frenzy, even though they are tiny. Xena and Elliott like them so much they happily feed from my hands now, but Mrs Bennett is more aloof. Not wanting to overdo it, I stop after they've each had two wormy treats.

I then try to see if Xena and Elliott will eat corn from my hands, which they do without any qualms, but their pecking is surprisingly painful - in fact I start to feel pangs of guilt for the worms :D.

Night falls, and this time our clever hens go straight into the eglu, no broom required!

 

Day 3

The door was on latch, but the chickens are stuck in the Eglu. It's a horrible morning though, so maybe that's not surprising. Again, we open the door halfway to make them push their own way out.

We're at work all day, so they need to fend for themselves. We leave the eglu door open in case they need shelter.

Unusually, we don't get home until 11pm - and when we get home the chickens are fast asleep in their eglu.

 

Day 4 (today)

Success! I look out the window at 8am and the chickens are already out and about. This means they have figured out how to open the door themselves. Who said hens are stupid?! :)

It occurs to me that I've seen no sign of any "Pecking Order" yet. I certainly can't see any bullying or hierarchy when it comes to feeding.

 

I'm highly tempted to let them out into the garden for the first time today...

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Bah, Cherry has just told me that she opened the door a few inches to let them out this morning.

Tomorrow I'll try shaking corn outside the Eglu to see if they can open the door.

Cherry is of the opinion that they're not strong enough, but I'll keep trying...

 

/\dam

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Hey, welcome to the forum......We have had ours since Last thursday, is all very amusing....

 

Night approaches, so we try and get them inside, but they are having none of it. A broom is employed to (gently) herd them in, but Mrs Bennett skillfully evades it and sprints towards the open run door, slipping past me and into the garden. This is all rather amusing, and the other two chickens get to watch the ensuing chase from inside the Eglu. Within a few moments she is caught though and this time is happy to join her sisters.

 

That just made me and my partner laugh, as this is exactly what we tried with ours and ended in exactly the same way :lol: Think we have learnt not to use a broom......

 

 

Karl

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what a great post ... welcome to the forum, and congratulations on getting your chickens. There are divided opinions on this, but quite a lot of people - and I am one - leave the Eglu door open all the time. Mine don't seem to mind, and as long as you're sure nothing can dig or tunnel into the run, it should be safe. Glad you are enjoying them so much!

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Hi,

 

We too were only going to get two chickens until we went to Thornes. They were insistant we had three.

 

Now I want more. :!:

 

I leave the door to the eglu open but have put the summer shade over the door way so no rain can get in.

 

It's good to read other peoples insight to beginning Chicken keeping and realise that we aren't the only ones that have become a little chicken daft.

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