There was great excitement at school when, after months of planning and preparation, our hens finally arrived. While her husband set up the house and run, Margaret from Durham Hens at Tow Law explained to Year Six children about how to handle the hens and what we need to do to look after them. She also clipped their wings for us so hopefully we won’t have any escapees. Thanks to Mr Zipfel who has put up the fencing around the hen enclosure.
We have six hens: two Light Susssex (the white ones); two Columbian Blacktails (the brown ones); and two Copper Blacks. They were 21 weeks old when they arrived and were due to start laying eggs in two or three weeks.
Each class, plus the staff, have adopted one of the hens and chosen a name.
They need: Pellets (which are there main food.)
Bedding and sawdust
1 hen has a kilo of pellets per week so all the hens have one kilo per day.
Their water needs to be changed daily.
They also have apple cider vinegar which is a supplement and a bit needs to be put in their water. 1 teaspoon of cider per litre of water.
The mixed grit is another thing for them to eat. It contains oyster shells which contains calcium and that is good for the egg shells and it also has tiny pebbles in it which contain flint which is good for their digestive system.
The chickens can get fleas/lice which they can pick up from wild birds. Diatom powder will cure the fleas/lice. To actually get the powder on them there are two ways to do it. The first way is to lift them up and turn them upside down and put the powder under their wings because that is the place that the fleas/lice like to go most. The second choice is a little easier. The chickens will dig a small hole in the ground and they will normally tend to wriggle around in it so what you can do is to put the powder into the hole and they will roll in it and put it on themselves.
All the hens are now laying eggs. They usually lay an egg a day so on most days we get 6 eggs, although sometimes we only get 5. We sell the eggs to staff and parents – who often buy the eggs on the day they were laid.