Welcome to our blog/diary/news page which I have good intentions of updating regularly - time will tell if this actually happens!  I will try and keep up to date here with everything going on at Newland Poultry. 

 

blog nov15a

As I half suspected I have not had time to update the blog.  This summer was hectic and its only now in November that I am getting time to draw breath and spend some time working on the website and blog.  My husband has been working stupid hours on his own business (building Shepherd Huts) and this year he has had no time to help out with the chickens.  This means I have been running everything on my own apart from on Saturdays when he's popped in to help in the shop when needed.  Luckily I now have a lovely girl helping out on Saturdays and in school holidays -  many of you will have met Megan who loves animals and particularly chickens - I don't know what I'd have done without her.  Every Monday I have to face cleaning out, feeding and watering over 50 individual houses, barns and runs on my own as well as manning the shop, Megan has made it manageable and the extra help has been invaluable.

 

The only other downside to this is that lots of plans I had for new housing and buildings have had to be put on hold as Shaun hasn't had time to do the building.  I'm hopeful he may have a few quieter weeks early in 2016 and we can get some of my new projects up and running.

 

This year we have been stocking chickens from a more local breeder who specialises in producing slightly special hybrid chickens.  These are the Marigolds and Copper Blacks, both of which lay a lovely dark brown egg and the Honeybelles who lay a blue or green egg.  These breeds have proved really popular as they are mostly also very docile as well as laying a lovely egg.  The usual Buff Orpingtons, Pekins and Silkies have also sold out within days of being available.  

 

I am now making plans for next year, and through the winter we have to look at whether it is viable to continue with the pure breeds.  Much as I love them, the hatching, heating, feeding, vaccinating, man hours and rearing costs make them very costly to produce.  Without investing in more sheds and bigger barns to raise them all in I may not be able to go on doing them here.  I want to ensure every bird I sell is the best I can produce and feel I may have to cut down in order to supply the quality I want.  It is

may 15 blog photo

 

Now the weather has improved the season has really kicked in.  Demand for our hybrid chickens has ben exceptional resulting in us selling out of birds about a fortnight after they arrive (rather than the usual 4 weeks).  This is a bit of a problem as it takes 6 months for them to be hatched and grown on, so we can't just get some more 'manufactured' when we sell out!  I've been growing a number of groups of hybrid hens on from day old chicks and they have been thriving with the recent good weather, and are looking really good.  The oldest hybrids I have are now 10 weeks old and its lovely to see them enjoying the outside world.

 

I've had my first attempt at showing chickens recently which was really enjoyable, I've always loved visiting the poultry shows but have never been tempted to show birds myself.  With encouragement and help from a friend, and some lessons from her on show preparation, I went to the Spring Fair at Builth Wells in Wales to show my Serama's.  Show preparation started around 3 weeks before the show with selection of the birds, moving them into separate accomodation and feeding them a special diet.  The birds were handled daily,  and trained in show pens to prevent them panicking when put in a confined space.  If you have visited us over the last month you may have wondered why some Serama's were cooped up in small show cages - it was training for the show, and well worth doing to stop them getting stressed on the day.  A week before the show all the birds were bathed and blow dried which was interesting, they seemed to really enjoy it but my sons were not so impressed with having chickens being blow dried on the kitchen table.  The birds travelled to the show well and after last minute prepping we left them to be judged.  I was shocked to get a first with Murphy who is my home bred male, silkied feather Serama, it was a last minute decision to take him so he hadn't had a lot of preparation and as he is a good 18 months old, he's no 'Spring chicken'.  I then got a first and second with 2 malay blood Serama pullets which was also quite a shock.  I think I had a lot of beginners luck, but it's definitely inspired me to have another go at showing.

 

 blog 0315-Versele laga

This week the weather has finally dried up and we have all been going like mad to do all the outside work before the season fully starts.  We've had 4 of us on the digger, dumper and wheelbarrow clearing tonnes of old woodchip out of the runs.  We've sold out of chickens which is very odd (apart from my breeding birds).  Although not great for business, we have to do this for a short period every year, it enables us to thoroughly clear, deep clean, disinfect and rebuild as necessary.  Its also very good from a bio-security point of view to have a period of time clear of birds with no overlap.

 

I'm really pleased to now be stocking Versele Laga chicken feed.  They are a very long established Belgium company that are well known in the pigeon racing world for producing top quality feeds.  They have been expanding into Europe and been attending all the big poultry shows here for the last few years.  We have been asked to supply the feed a few times over the last year by those in the show world.  They do an amazing range of feeds, we are stocking the Show range (for more ornamental type birds and show birds) and the Gold range which is for laying hens but we can order in the complete range.  We still have the usual Garvo feed and the Marriages and Heygates pellets with Flubenvet. Sales of the Flubenvet have shot up in the last month which is strange - I have been told there is a shortage of stocks again so hope this doesn't last long.

 Jan15blog

We've had our first hard frost for a while so this morning has been hectic trying to move the Shepherd Huts around whilst the ground is frozen, but of course the tractor wouldn't  start as it was so cold - typical!  Shaun has been building a mobile pancake shop for a customer to take to shows, which has been interesting.  The customer has had a number of burger vans but wanted a Shepherd type hut for the pancakes.  I'll get some photos to add here later, but it looks lovely inside - better than my kitchen!  He's been so busy with his own work that a lot of plans with the chickens have been put on hold for a while.   

Usually at this time of year we are building new runs, repairing coops and adding any new things we need as it is fairly quiet, but with Shaun having little time it has to wait for a while.  After a year and a half of heavy use, it's also time to change the woodchip in the chicken runs which is a major job.  The big hybrid pen has around 150 sacks of woodchips in it which all need to come up and be replaced, and thats just one pen - there are 20 other smaller ones to do as well!  I can't complain as they have had some serious use - over 300 birds every day on them at some points. 

dec14blog

A very sad start to the week as Snoopy our Jack Russell terrier died very suddenly.  Many customers know her and her sidekick Bacon as they are both usually in the shop.  She was nearly 15 years old and was still ratting and rabbiting until a fortnight ago.  We'll all really miss her.

I was interviewed by BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester this week about our chickens, and they were particularly fascinated by our chicken boarding service.  I've got totally used to it now, but forget how funny people find it that we 'chicken sit', it usually causes much laughter when I first tell people what I do.  I was amazed at how many customers came in and said they'd heard us on the radio, I didn't realise how many people the radio reaches.

The sheep had escaped into the boarding chickens field and left lots of little 'gifts' all over the field and cut the ground up.  I like the grass in there to look pristine but I managed to mow the boarding hens field before the next band of rain arrived to flatten all the damage they'd done. 

 

 nov14blog

As this is the first blog on the new website I thought I'd do a slightly longer update -normally I'm sure they won't be this long!

We've had a very busy year and only now have time to draw breath now things are seasonally quiet.  I am still amazed at how popular chicken keeping is and how many new chicken keepers we are seeing as well as familiar customers.  The hobby just seems to keep growing every year.

My personal project for this year has been my Serama's.  As any customers who visits will have spotted I have become slightly obsessed with these mini chickens and they have taken over a whole room.  For anyone who hasn't come across them before they are the smallest breed of chicken in the world with most weighing between 250 - 500g, but the best thing about them is their fearless attitude, they just about reach my ankle bone yet will stand on my feet trying to get attention.  They have proved so popular with customers as they need very little space to be kept in and can even live indoors.  I've been sourcing better and better stock and trying to improve my lines which is a very long project.  I have created a Serama webpage page for anyone interested in them.  My latest project is frizzle feather Seramas which are so pretty, but it takes quite a lot of work to produce them, you can't breed frizzle to frizzle and have to put a straight feathered Serama with a frizzle feathered Serama which only produces a small percentage of frizzles, but I'm working on it.

 

The weather has suddenly changed which has been a shock.  The chickens are not looking happy at the moment as they really hate this damp weather.  I have been busy topping up the wood chips in the chicken runs to help stop the mud.  In the large runs I've been putting pallets down by the doors so they have somewhere dry to stand and also clean their feet before going inside.  My goal is to one day have covered/indoor runs but I need to save the pennies for a few years for that.  I've got some temporary plastic sheeting to cover the run sides and give them a sheltered spot, my project for this week is to put it up.

hybrid chickens 1114

Last group of hybrids for 2014

 

Our last group of hybrids until next Spring are now settled in to the big barn and a couple have just started laying.  These will be the last hybrids available until next April so we have quite a few to look after, I just hope they last us until next year as last week was surprisingly busy with hybrid sales.

OPENING HOURS

Week commencing
18th September 2017

Our opening hours are updated weekly, but we are not a standard 'shop' & we are closed Sunday - Tuesday to enable us to breed, clean & care for all the birds and the farm, as well as have a few hours off!

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: 10 - 5pm
Thursday: 10 - 5pm
 Friday: 10 - 5pm
Saturday: 10 - 3pm
Sunday's: CLOSED

 

Contact Us

Telephone:
07830 176254

Email:
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Newland Grange,
Stocks Lane, Newland
Malvern, Worcestershire
WR13 5AZ