Tag Archives: battery hen

Snow and My Livestock

Well the weather has put a stop to tree planting for now, so there is little new to write about. Like me, the chickens, dogs, and ducks are all getting stir crazy. Whilst the chickens and ducks are able to get out, the chickens are all staying under their hutches, to avoid wading through the snow. I made all of the hutches high enough for the birds to shelter under during bad weather. The only downside is that the birds are all concentrated in a small space, which isn’t ideal for their health. I keep clearing away small areas of snow, to give them access to some grass to eat, but as soon as it snows again, they go back under the hutches.

The ducks are happier waddling over the snow, but as they cannot find any food, they seem to be spending most of the day sat around, waiting for their afternoon meal.

The greyhounds are more of a problem. The snow gets between their toes, and rubs the skin away. The cold also cracks their pads, which allows grit to get caught in the cracks. So all of the dogs are getting hyperactive, if there’s such a thing as a hyperactive greyhound. I’m sat on the sofa right now, typing with my right elbow up in the air, to avoid disturbing a sleeping dog, who has her head in my lap.

The only other livestock that needs attention are the bees. I go up to the hives each morning and unblock the entrances, so that the hive can breathe. Last year when we had a long period of snow, my hive of Italian bees had remained active, fooled into rearing brood by mild weather . This led to lots of dead bees, trying to leave the hive to empty, and dying outside. So far this year, that hasn’t occurred.

I’ll post again when I get some more trees planted.


Take Care



The Sustainable Smallholding End of Year Roundup

2009 was another busy year at the Sustainable Smallholding, with changes to the management of my bees, an increase in the number of chickens, and hives, the addition of ducks, the creation of swales, and lots of experimental growing. This included growing tobacco, manuka, eucalyptus, acacia, small scale wheat growing etc. So I thought that I’d do a short summary, and a look forward to my plans for next year.

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Battery Hens – The Opposite

I wanted to show you all how far my former battery hens are ranging. Here’s a picturebattery Hens Free Ranging

battery Hens Free Ranging

of them at the top of my field. it was taken a few days ago. The hens are quite difficult to spot, but if you look for the White Cockerel, the little brown specks are the hens. It still annoys me when I think of the conditions in which they’re kept. At least these are getting to feel the sun, the wind and the rain, and are learning what it’s like to be a real chicken.

They’re still not producing many eggs yet, but who cares? If I was worried about the eggs, I would have bought some point of lay hybrids. These will earn their keep eventually. If not by producing eggs, by clearing patches of ground for me, eating  slugs, or just by giving me the pleasure of their company.

I’ve also posted on my scything blog, about a deal that I’ve done for some egg laying ducks. You might want to check the article out.  Scything Article.The link is on the right side of the page. I hope that you enjoy it.


Battery Hens doing well

Well, the Battery hens are coming along fine, and their feathers are starting to grow back. If you take a look at my earlier post, you will see what they looked like when they arrived. Battery Hen here are some photos, which show the feathers starting to grow back.

battery Hen

battery Hen

The new feathers are the dark lines which you can see on the neck and back of this chicken.

battery hen back feathers

battery hen back feathers

This close up view shows the feathers emerging from the sheaths, which are the dark bits on the photographs.

The hens still have a long way to go. The big feathers will take longer to grow back, and the cockerel will keep damaging the wing feathers every time that he mounts the hens, but they will certainly look better than when they came out of the cages.

The last picture shows some of them out and about in the field.

Battery hens and Cockerel

Battery hens and Cockerel


Battery hen Update

The ten ex battery hens are starting to explore a bit more today, with all of them out of the hutch for most of the time. it’s great to see them out scratching in the leaf litter, and acting like real chickens. I finally got the camera working, so here’s what they look like when they come out of the cages. This isn’t a model, this is a real chicken. it is supposed to be brown. The light patches are bald skin, and where most of the feathers are missing.  it’s almost as if the bird is posing for the camera, wanting people to see what the real price of cheap eggs is.

It must be quite strange for them. Open space, vegetation, sunlight, wind, living food, it’s not much to ask for really is it?

What a battery hen really looks like

What a battery hen really looks like

I’ll get some pictures when this one looks like a real chicken again.