On Friday 2nd June I was lucky enough to join other like minded poultry people from around the country at Warwickshire Chicken Coop. It was a fantasic day or should I say HENtastic day all organised via Instagram by @YorkshireFeathers. This is the second year of the CKC, it was a great opportunity to share the joy of hens with other chicken keepers and to listen to some interesting and inspirational speakers, eat lots of lovely food and cake and do a spot of shopping.
Sso how did the day shape up? have a quick look….
Arrivals, name badges and a brief welcome from @YorkshireFeathers
12:30 TOUR of Warwickshire Chicken Coop with Terry and Jac WCC yard
TALK from Dr Naomi Sykes from The Chicken Project Why did the chicken cross the world?
Guessing games, Find Bernard and plant swap winners drawn
(please pop to have a go at guessing games towards the end!) -Classroom
15:30 Farmgate Feeds samples WCC yard
TALK @Arthurparkinson_ My life and hens -Classroom
Final guessing game entries, prize winners announced, purchasing art from @xtine_art and @annas_goodlife
16:30 Q &A with Jamie Toms from @PoultryTalk -Classroom
17:00 Plant collecting, stocking up on chicken supplies from the shop and farewells
And the Winner is………..
After a busy election day on Thursday and we are ready to announce the winner of our EGGlection:
The Bluebell Party won the most votes through our social media platforms. Thank you to everyone who cast their vote.
With less than a week to go we are feeling EGGlection fever! We hav had a go at creating our own ballot boxes and ballot papers we hope this gives you some ideas for your own school EGGlections on Thursday.
Lunch fit for a Queen
A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to a private lunch with Her Majesty the Queen. It was an amazing experience and we were able to be introduced to her and talk to her (about hens and horses!). Here are just a few picutres, offical ones to follow.
Meet The Seabrights
Let me introduce Captain & His First Mate, they are part of our Historical Hens team. We love to share the history of hens and how they became part of our everyday lives. If you would like to know more about our Historical Hen Days (all part of our EGGtivity Packages) please visit the page.
It have been a very EGGciting time, 2 of our lovely schools have hatched their first duck eggs. Duck eggs are just one of the EGGtastic hatching packages that we offer, if you would like more information please visit our Incubator page.
My Haven’t They Grown!
The little wild goslings who found their way onto the farm 3 weeks ago, they really have grown! They have settled into farm life well and are thriving. The plan is to find them a more suitable home. For now they seem to be happy.
Poultry Poltical News
It is election season here in the UK and the hens felt it was time for their Poultry Political Views to be heard. We are putting together our own Poultry Political Boradcast Packs, so that students and teachers can have some politcal debates and vote for the Polutry Party they think should be in power, casting our votes on June 8th. To all our schools please login to the ‘Chicken Club’ for all the information.
We currently have 2 unexpected house guests in one of our nursery pens. 2 Canadian Goosings. They literally knocked on the back door and following my Mum around the farm yard. We have searched high and low looking for the rest of their family without any luck. So for now they are enjoying some Hens for Hire hospitality.
Hen House Herb Growing Boxes
All ready to send to out to schools this week, our fantastic Hen House Herb Boxes. A handpicked selection of herbs to grow at school along with all the information on how to add herbs to your hen house, a wreath to add herbs to, that can be hung in the hen house. Along with a our belended dried Hen House Herbs to add to the hen house and run. Soon to be avaliable in our shop too.
The Geese are Laying!
As you know the geese and I have a tolerate/hate relationship and they have hated being on barn lockdown. Th e good news is that they can go outside from tomorrow and they have started to lay eggs! We are now offering ‘Posh Eggs Selection Box’ containing 1x Goose Egg, 2x Duck Eggs, 2x Hen Eggs & 1x Bantam Eggs- you can order them from Hens HQ
The Pitter Patter of Little Feet!
Last week was our first incubator hire of the 2017 hatching season. Whenever we incubate eggs we always incubate extras to hatch here at Hens HQ just incase the hire doesnt go to plan, plus it means that we get chick cuddles! We will be hatching until the end of June, we will also be hathcing ducklings too!
It has been a blustry few days here at Hens HQ. We lost a lot of roof tiles off the farm buildings and there was some minor damage to the barns. Good old Doris also took out the electricity to the farm, plus 3 surrounding villages. This time of year is hathcing season, so the master incubator has been working hard warming up the eggs. We lost the electricity at 1pm, the incubator can cope with the power being out for a couple of hours (as long as its not opened). Once we had passed the 2 hour mark we cranked up the little emergency generator and got it back up to temperature. The little genie did a fantastic job for 3 hours and after a visit from Western Power & a walk around the farm we spotted the problem. A tree from the ajoining wood was ‘leaning’ on the power lines. The engineers sprang into action and lots of vans and equipment arrvied at Hens HQ. Whilist all this was going on our very kind friends at Storer Smith Marquees Hire came and set up one of their fantastic generators to keep our incubator running overnight. Thanks to the hard work of the electrical engineers we got our power back at 4am and they didnt even make a mess in the field!
Green Screen Hens
On Thursday a selection of hens went out on a roadtrip to Birmingham, and the lovely Gloria made her screen debeut. She was HENtastic, she stood on her mark, turned to face her co-star at just the right time and was a total professional with the rest of the crew. Sine then she has now asked for her own hen house with a star on the door. It was a really interesting experience and we will share the finsihed piece with you when it has been edited. (check out our Facebook page for all the photos and videos.)
Its Hatching Time!
Its very eggciting here at Hens HQ. We head back out on the road tomorrow to set up our first incubator hire of 2017. We have had our first arrivals as 2 little quail chicks hatched yesterday. To keep up todate with the pitter patter or tiny feet please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages.
That back to school feeling!
Fingers crossed that from 28th February the hens can head back to school as Defra are relaxing the current regulations in some areas. At Hens HQ the safety and welfare of our hens is our paramount concern. All of our hens will be going back to school weith a Bird Flu Prevention back to make sure they stay safe and healthy at school. I wont lie it will be lovely to get them back to school where they belong and out of the barn.
March is going to be a busy month with getting hens to schools, new schools joining us and of course on the run up to Easter its hatching season!
The hens have now been on AI lockdown since mid December. They have settled into barn life much better than I could have hoped. As discussed in some of our other articles we have been working hard to stop the hens from getting bored. As well as edible treats we have also added some other activities for the hens. They have rubber tyres to play in and recently added each pen has its own musical instruments! Im not sure I will be conducting an orchestra just yet but the young hens seem to be enjoying it.
All schools who have booked incubator hire with us will ahve had confirmed dates of when your eggs will be arriving at school. We are now fully booked for Incubator Hire until the end of June 2017. If you want to hear the pitter patter of tiny fluffy feet, we will be offering incubator and hatching eggs until the end of October 2017.
We are now taking bookings for our Eggtivity Days… an eggtastic way to bring hens into the classroom! We have 3 great themes:
For more information please visit the Eggtivity Page
We host a monthly Hens for Everyone Courses, a great way to get find out everything that you need to know to be a hen keeper. Check out the Courses page for more information.
With a lot of help we finally have our own You Tube Channel! We have already started to add videos of what the hens are up to whilst they are in the barn at Hens HQ. Please have a look at Hens for Hire HQ n You Tube!
Bordem Busters for Chicken Lock Down
Just like all other poultry up and down the country the hens are 6 weeks into the Defra lock down. I think they are glad to be out of the mud and rain but have been getting very bored. We have been doing our best to keep them busy, in each run they have plenty of space to scratch around in the deep woodchip, They ahve tyres and chicken swings to play with. Everyday they get a mix of scratch feeds-corn, garlic powder, grit and seaweed. They have access to water and layers pellets and in the afternoons a selction of fruit and veg, kale is very popular at the moment. As they are in the barn and it can be a little dark on dull days we also have some large lights to make it daytime bright. I have on order for them a selection of musical instruments to add to the pens next week! We do love happy hens!
Eggs, Eggs everywhere!
As all the hens are at Hens HQ until the end of next month we have rather a lot of eggs. We have been selling some of them at our honesty box at HQ and from this week we will be posting them out to schools. We have also delivered a large cardbaord box of eggs to the YMCA food bank in Burton on Trent, we will be doing this on a regular basis until the hens go back to school.
New for 2017-Eggtivity Days!
We can bring the hens into the classroom for fun filled days all around the humble hen.
We have 3 themes:
Lifcycles-day 1-21 of chick development in the egg, with lots of chick handling
Chicktoria & Eggbert-Learn how Queen Victoria started the hen keeping craze
Egg Scientists-Time to put on the lab coat & do eggperiements!
Please visit the Eggtivity Day Page for more information!
Prevention Zone Update-5th January 2017
Yesterday Defra announced the extension of the Prevention Zone until 28th Feb. All poultry should be housed all food and water out of the reach of wild birds and runs should be enclosed. Biosecurity should be followed for more information please visit the Defra website. Here at Hens HQ, we have moved everyone into the large Chicken Barn along with the ducks and geese. All the doors have been covered with netting and we have footbaths. The hens have settled in really well, the geese will be happy to be back out the grass once the prevention zone is ended. We take the spread of Avian Flu very seriously and have decided to extend the Christmas holidays of the school hens until the end of the prevention zone.
To keep all the school up to date with their hens we will soon be starting our own You Tube channel and a weekly EGGcast.
Christmas at Hens HQ-(a little blog)
December 2016 has been a bit of a challenging one. We have fully embraced the new Defra regulations and have done our best to move all of the hens indoors to our large Chicken Barn and covered all of the gaps with netting. We have used netting that is normally used to cover ponds. The aquatic shop looked a little surprised when I walked in on the morning of 6th December and bought all of their netting. Mr P and Daniel did a great job up the ladders after school securing it all whilst I got the pens ready for the ducks and geese.
Now the geese haven’t been here very long and I have never kept them before. Until this point they had started to accept that I bring the food and the water and had gone from flapping and hissing at me to just the odd hiss. On the evening of the 6th December I was very impressed that they happily herded across the yard into the barn and the new pen. There new home is next to the ducks and the have plenty of space to move about. Sadly they have gone back to hissing and flapping at everyone who comes in and out of the barn.
The ducks that we have raised from day old ducklings were having none of this ‘herding into the barn’ business and had to all be picked up and carried into the barn. I can report that the hens are all enjoying life in the barn. Happy to be out of the mud and rain with lots of woodchip to scratch around in. We also have lots of hand washing gel and boot washes for coming in and out of the barn.
After reassuring all of our schools about the new Defra regulations and updating some of our health and safety procedures, the hens came home for Christmas. 1600 miles of driving in the hen van for me (did you spot us on the road with our decorated cab? I loved the bunting)
We have had a lovely CHICKmas here at Hens HQ, the hens have hung up their stockings for Santa and got all the treats they had on their list.
We are now getting prepared for the start of 2017. We are putting together ‘prevention zone packs’ for when the hens go back to school once the prevention zone has finished. Along with the Hatching Plan for 2017, competition for our schools for term 2 and 3,it’s going to be cracking!
Hens for Everyone Courses 2017
Thinking of getting hens and not sure where to start? Why not attend one of our courses. We cover everything you need to know for Happy, Healthy Hens! You get lots of hen hug, cakes and a goodie bag!
For more information and to book please visit the ‘courses’ page.
Hatching Options 2017…its going to be a ‘cracking’ year!
To all our schools who have ‘Full Year’ Hen Hire, please check your mail box. You should have details of our new hatching options for 2017. We are very eggcitied about our new egg options:
Batty about Bantams
If you haven’t had the email or would like further information please get contact Claire xx
Are you ready for an EGGventure?
Continuing our literacy project this term we have just launched a trial of our EGGventure Boxes. They are full of goodies to get students imaginations fired up and get them writing! More information to follow…….its all very EGGciting!
Have you meet our Library Chooks?
Now you know that we are hen crazy here and are firm beleivers that hens enrich every part of our lives at home and school. As part of our Chicken Club, (our online resource centre for schools that hire with us or those that want to join) our new literacy programme, the Library Chooks. To help children with guided or unguided reading, go read a book to your Chooks!
To add to the collection of, hens, quails and ducks we have at hens HQ we now have 7 geese. They arrived on Sunday and are taking a bit of time to settle in. They belonged to and elderly neighbour who could no longer care for them so they are now part of our poultry family. Now we just have to come up with some names once we get to know them a little better.(pictures to follow)
Crafty Christmas Workshops
During November we have will be hosting 4 Christmas Craft Workshops here at Hens HQ. All the courses are lead my our creative artist in residence Pat Lings, she will show you how to create some stunning works or art to give and Christmas gifts or to decorate your home. As its at Hens HQ there will be lots of tea, cake & optional hen hugs! All the courses are held in our dairy workshop, we have have onsite facilities along with ample parking. Due to the age of our building I am sorry we do not have disabled access. For full details and to book please visit the shop.
Three Wise Women are coming to Hens HQ
Join the three wise women here at Hens HQ on Thursday 22nd September, A hen night with a difference with Three Wise Women, a brood of hens, tea, cake and networking.
We are meeting at the HQ of Hens for Hire, a brilliant business owned by Claire Peach (aka The Hen Lady). Find out more about her business and meet other local business women.
Tickets £10 – from Paypal or in person from Julie, Joyce or Karen or visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheeWiseWomen/
Autumn Events at Hens HQ
Thursday 22nd September-3 Wise Women
Friday 23rd September-Tea, Coffee & Cake to raise money for British Hen Welfare Trust 10-12pm
Sunday 2nd October-Hens for Everyone Course 10-12pm
Sunday 30th October-Hens for Everyone Course 10-12pm
Draycott in the Clay Show
We will had an eggcellent time at the show. The Egglympics ‘Have a go at Hen Agility Course’ proved very popular with everyone visiting our stand.
August at Hens HQ
We have had a lovely start to the Summer holidays. The hens are all back at HQ so we have plenty of fresh eggs! We are busy cleaning eglus and equipment ready for them to go back out to schools in September.
We have hosted some great courses so far this Summer, the ‘mini mites course’ was great for recapping on how to treat your hen house and hens for the little monsters. We also have a very successful ‘Hen Herbs & Chooktails’ evening sharing the herbs from your garden. We covered the herbs you can feed your hens along with what can be added to the hen house. We made some lovely wreaths to hang in the hen house plus plenty of Pimms!
Country File Live
At the start of August we visited Country File Live in Oxfordshire. We have a lovely day our and enjoyed the fantastic activities the kids took part in kayaking, horse racing and polo. We ate some tasty street food and amazing ice cream! I also got to visit some of my twitter friends Poultry Talk & Dr Chicken, as part of Adam’s Farm.
Yes its true we even managed a family holiday! Many thanks to my Mum for looking after Hens HQ whilst we were at the seaside!
Yes it is finally Summer! (well in name) we have some fantastic evening mini courses here at Hens HQ.
Mini Mites Course is perfect to refresh you on what to do to deal with mites in your flock and hen house. If you are new to hen keeping, it will give you all the knowledge you need! All in a relaxed environment, light refreshments included plus 10% off mite products in the shop.
Hen Herbs & ‘Chook-Tails’ to celebrate turning 5, we will be sharing the different herbs you can use with your hens and hen house and making a herb ring to take home. We will also enjoy some evening cocktails, alcoholic an non alcoholic.
For more information and to book please visit the courses page from the SHOP.
Our hens and pupils are getting into shape as part of this terms Egglympics competition. To celebrate a summer of sport and the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The challenge for the schools is to train their hens to complete some obstacles and send us the video. Not wanting to be left out we have been having a go at Hens HQ. You can watch our training videos via our Facebook & Twitter pages.
Our top tip for Hen training is……GRAPES! definitely the right treat to motivate the girls to join in! Also keep the training short and sweet!
We were thrilled to be featured in the Guardian Newspaper back in March this year. Being able to share what we do with so many people has been wonderful. If you have a minute or two, have a look at the full article here.
Here at Hens For Hire HQ we have hens of all shapes and sizes, you birds we are growing on to join the school hens, girls who have retired plus a few of my favourites!
If you follow us on twitter you know we are also promoting hen re-homing through the British Hen Welfare Trust. We decided to adopt our own hens through the BHWT website, its a great way to hug a hen if you haven’t got room for some at home. Meet our girls…Minerva and Little Flo.