Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hello Girls !

A few years ago we started with a 2 - hen  Eglu from Omlet (actually we had number 6 off the production line).

We have over the years upgraded to an Eglu Cube , capable of holding 10 hens. Easy disposal of kitchen waste and lots of eggs in return.  A hen can live up to four years. There is regular egg production in the early years but it tails off as they get older. Towards the end of their life, the egg production continues to fall.  But they are as much pets as egg production  machines , so they live on in graceful retirement until heart failure, kidney failure or somesuch calls them to the great henrun in the sky. We have in the past had a variety of breeds  - here's pollo and sybil from the early days.

More recently we've got our  hens from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust (BWHT) .The economics of  egg production is such that 100% production is 1 egg per hen per 24 hours. When production falls to 95% (12 eggs a fortnight) the battery becomes uneconomic. So all the hens are cleared out and a new, younger,  lot got in. But what happens to the hens that are now uneconomic ? . Well, many of them get trucked away and become dog and cat food, meat pies, etc etc. But the BHWT will try and re-house as many as they can.  they don't lay 1 egg per 24 hours, but they lay pretty close to that, and good enough for domestic use.  Our 'flock' of 6 had dwindled by natural causes to 3, so this weekend we got another 6 to bring the number up to 9. They have spent their first year of life with no access to daylight and no room to turn around. They aren't in good condition when they come out, and some aren't strong enough to survive  outside the battery.

They also don't know what to do . They lay eggs wherever they are , instead of a  in a nesting box, they dont know they can leave the henhouse in the morning ( so have to be lifted out , until they learn).

So heres our 6  - they  have all spontaneously gone and stood in the corner of the run , all together. They aren't too bad for ex-bats. They all have some feathers, and none have obvious scars from being pecked excessively . There is one who may not survive , though.

They do venture out a bit .Hers one having a look around

Watch this space as they settle in. 

And we know that we arent the only people in Jesmond who keep chickens in their back yard.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Geordie Bikes ? Toon Bikes ? Boris Bikes ?

Its a year since the Boris Bikes ( strictly speaking they are Barclays (the sponsor) bikes were introduced to London and there is an article in the Guardian about it . Ive also recently come across mashups and someone has analysed the first million bike journeys made on Boris bikes and produced some maps .
From my visits to London , I think the scheme has been a success - you see people on bikes within Zone 1 of the Underground  - the area covered by the bike scheme) almost all the time.

A hire scheme is coming  to Newcastle - not run by the Council . Its scratchbikes .
There is a launch on 22 July  at the Millenium Bridge. having cycled up from the Quayside a few times  , I'd be surprised if many make it up The Side to Dean Street.

Watch this space for more information !