- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
A couple of years ago I found a lump on my breast. It was evening time and a whole range of emotions ran through my head, denial (I went and made a nice cup of tea and decided by the time I had drank her the lump would be gone), fear and anger.
I had lost my cousin to breast cancer 11 years ago; she was only 37, so it was a very sleepless night for me.
In the morning I managed to get an appointment at the doctors who examined the lump and found another. I was panic stricken; the wait for a hospital appointment was anything up to 6 weeks.
Luckily I had taken out some private health insurance and gave them a call, I was given an appointment the very next day.
I had a mammogram and the longest 20 minute wait of my life. It turned out to be cysts, not just the two that my doctor found but around 20 in total. I was so relieved but at the same time worried that I had so many. I asked the doctor how I could tell a cyst from something more sinister, his reply was that I wouldn't be able to.
I have lumps all the time, sometimes very large, if I was to go to the doctor every time I was aware of one I would always be there. What was the solution?
Around a year or so ago Breastlight came on the market. I did a little research and contacted the company with questions, well one mainly which was how could I tell the difference between a cyst and a cancerous growth, could Breastlight help, the answer was yes so after saving up for a few months I bought one.
~What's in the box~
Sample of lube
~How does it work~
The breastlight works by shining a red light through the breast tissue that will show up any abnormalities.
~How do you use it~
You have to be in a dark room to use the breastlight, using some lube you press the breastlight into your breast and move it around. It has several settings depending on the size of your breasts. Full instructions are provided and are very clear and easy to follow. It is painless for most women unless of course like me you have cysts that can be painful to touch. There is also a helpline where a nurse can guide you through using it till you are confident.
~Does using breastlight mean I do not need breast screening clinics~
NO, I repeat NO! The breastlight is not designed as a replacement for regular breast screening. It is advisable to use it alongside your usual self examination as well as attend any screenings that you are invited to.
~What will I see~
All being well what you will see are your veins in your breasts. Anything other than that is the indicator to make an appointment with your doctor.
~If I see a lump does it mean I have cancer~
No it does not. The Breastlight cannot diagnose cancer just abnormalities which need further investigation.
~Who can use it~
All women of all ages and races can use it. Even women who have had any kind of breast surgery can use the Breastlight.
~How much is it~
The breastlight costs £85.
~Where can I buy one~
You can buy the Breastlight online at www.uk.breastlight.com/shop
Or from Boots
The breastlight website is http://uk.breastlight.com/
After using it a few times I became more aware of how my breasts should look and feel confident now that I will be able to spot anything sinister.
The price is a little expensive and I am hoping in time that it will come down.
I do think that it should be made available on the NHS to women like me who always have lumps in our breasts.
I would like to end this review by reminding all women to check their breasts regularly and have added a few useful sites with advice on how to do this. Please ladies if you notice anything abnormal get it checked out as soon as possible.
Yesterday we decided to pick a few things up from Sainsburys instead of our usual supermarket.
One of the main reasons that we decided to go there was because we want a supermarket that fits in with our views and ethics.
Reading up on Sainsburys policies and favourable reviews from Compassion In World Farming influenced our decision.
On arrival to the car park we found it very easy to find a space, the car park was free for 90 minutes.
Walking through the entrance there was a change machine, always useful for taking along those pennies and knocking a wad off your shopping bill. There was also a lottery stand, so far so good.
I noticed a sign promoting charities, this seems to be something that Sainsburys are active in, so brownie points there.
They stock the usual items, food, drink, clothes, DVDs etc, same Tesco and Asda.
Looking around at various items and comparing them to the other supermarkets Sainsburys basic items were around the same price or just a penny or three more. Other items raged from a few pence to maybe thirty pence more. I estimated that if I did a weekly shop there I would probably spend around three or four pounds more.
~FRUIT AND VEG~
The quality of the fruit and veg was defiantly better than Asda in my opinion. A lot of the items were the same in price, a few a little more expensive.
It could have just been the size of the store but there frozen section was small in comparison to our other supermarkets. The vegetarian selection was much smaller but did have a few items that I had not seen in other places. We bought some meatless chicken burgers that cost £1 for 4 and were actually very nice. You could buy pizzas for £1 which is the same as other supermarkets. Ready meals were a little sparse though and without the offers that you can get elsewhere. This didn't matter too much to me though.
We did not go there to buy meat but I wanted to take a look just for the purpose of this review. I would say that a good 80/90% of the meat products are British, which has to be a good thing for obvious reasons. There are also a good portion of freedom foods, for those that have not come across these before these are organisations that are monitored by the RSPCA ensuring good living conditions for the animals so big brownie points there.
There is an isle that has plenty of foods to cater for diets such as gluten free etc. Prices looked cheaper than getting these items from a health food shop.
As most people know battery eggs are my biggest gripe so the egg part of the shop was of particular interest to me. There were 5 or so brands of free range eggs there including Sainsburys basic range which were £2.50 for 15...NICE! I did notice some barn eggs which I would also discourage people from buying and it was obvious that Sainsburys felt the same way because these were on the bottom shelf. I would not have noticed them had I not been looking so hard at the whole display. So MASSIVE points to Sainsburys here.
The usual selection or meats were found at similar prices and a small selection of vegetarian *meats* A reasonable selection of cheeses were available and similar prices to other supermarkets but not as many offers as I would have liked.
There was a small bakery section with the usual items, a few pence more here and there. Other than that I found pretty much the same selections or breads and cakes.
I do like to consider the environment when I shop so had a good look around for green products. In most of the cleaning and washing sections there was just one brand and that was ecover, still that's better than none at all and I do use ecover products. Recycled products were also available.
Sainsburys have their basic range of clothing at reasonable prices as well as more expensive items. On the whole I did find them a little more expensive than Asda.
One thing that was nice about shopping there compared to other supermarkets was that not once did I get in someone's way or they in mine.
Queues were small and we waited around 3 or 4 minutes, not bad at all. There was also a self check out option, personally I do not like these much though.
Sainsburys did not have a *bag for life* scheme but there was a big sign encouraging customers to reuse their bags. The rewards card used at Sainsburys is the necter card.
I cannot comment on how helpful staff there was because we did not need any help.
On the whole I am happy with the shopping experience and would happily spend my money there because of my personal ethics.
Ok, Im going to use this to totally indulge my idealistic fantasy so here goes.
First I would pay off my debts and those of my family. I would then buy my children a wonderful house each so that I do not have to worry about them ever becoming homeless...something that I was very close to after almost losing my home.
I would then help the children secure some reasonable future for themselves.
Set up trust funds for my 2 (soon to be 3) grandchildren.
Now my dream, to buy a good sized piece of land, have an eco house built plus a few smaller ones.
With that land I would grow my vegetables, fruit, herbs and be as self sufficient as possible. Selling the surplus.
I would have a portion of the land dedicated to ex battery hens and another part as an animal rescue center.
As this would all be a lot of work I would employ a few people, who could live in one of the eco houses.
I would open the place to the public and educate them in animal welfare and greener living.
Maybe rent one of the eco houses out to provide more of an experience.
It really would be my dream life.
Of course there would also be large contributions to my favourite charities.
I do the lottery twice a week, both lotto and dream number. I don't have a set of numbers, just lucky dips. I often get my £2 back and a couple of times £10.
Maybe one day it will be my turn, maybe not either way I do spend the evening wondering if I am a millionaire, nothing wrong with dreaming :-)
I would like to end this review by wishing all lottery players good luck.
~miles earned go to charity~
When I first found dooyoo my plan was to make extra money to help pay off debts and generally have a little extra.
Now I have decided that I am going to donate my earnings to animal charities.
Thats not to say that I do not see other charities as important, its just my choice to help these animals.
The charity closest to my heart is the battery hen welfare trust, another is henrehomers. These organisations rescue caged hens that would otherwise be slaughtered.
Other charities I will donate to are Compassion in world farming, who promote humane living conditions for farm animals, this to me is a worthly cause because a lot of people are unaware of the conditions these animals live in and the pain they suffer. Please note, althought I am not a meat eater I am not pushing vegetarianism here and neither is this charity, just better conditions and a humane ending.
The PDSA is another worthly cause, without which many pets would suffer.
These charities do not receive any government funding and rely solely and donations from the public.
It feels good watching the miles clock up, knowing that I am going to do some good with it.
I always give as much as I can to these causes, doing it with my miles is actually very easy, I do not see the money, I will not miss it and it will benefit an animal somewhere more than it will benefit me.
The feeling that I get from giving is priceless.
Thank you to all those that look out for my reviews and rate them, which is your way of donating too :-)
When I was a kid my Nan used to drag me along to bingo with her (it was allowed in those days). She would find some old books and give me a different colour pen to mark off the numbers as they were called, reminding me that I was not allowed to call out if I filled the card. The hall was full of old people and quite a few kids.
Now I'm all *grown up* although a lot of people might not agree 
My girlfriend and I talked about going to bingo for a good 6 months before we actually did it. That was 6 years ago and I can remember our first visit as if it was yesterday.
I'm not sure about other bingo halls but our one plays party bingo which is done on plastic *cards* where you flip a cover over the covers when the number is called. The caller was going pretty fast and we thought that's how he would call with the game in which case we wouldn't stand a chance of keeping up. We were relieved when the game started and the calling was slower. Still not slow enough for me because I managed to miss a win, actually two wins in as many visits.
~How is the game played?~
Bingo cards are bought in books, you can choose up to 6 cards to play in each book. Obviously the more you buy the more you pay, but have more chances of winning. Different bingo organisations may vary but this review will focus on the Crown Bingo that we go to. Most nights have 3 sets of books. A late afternoon session, early session and then the main session. Breaks are taken in between when you can get food or play the party bingo. That's where the money can go, party bingo costs between 30p and £2 per game so unless you have money that you do not mind losing these games are best kept to a minimum.
The numbers are called and you mark them off, games are won on one line, two lines and then the house. You have to call out nice and loud to stop the caller.
There are also fruit machines in the halls to play during the break. Personally I avoid these.
~How much can you win?~
That depends on the size of the hall and the amount of people playing, also the night that you go because some nights have promotions. We go on a Wednesday because the winnings are better (this varies from club to club so always worth finding out first)
Lines pay out around £5 to £20 depending on the game. 2 lines £10 to £50 and full houses £40 to £400. Again this is just one club, others that are bigger you can double that but it's worth considering your chances of winning in a bigger club.
There is also the national game which is played by all clubs and this is a full house game that the payout is up to £20000, with regional prizes of around £3000.
Personally I have won £1000 twice, lots of £200 wins and £400 wins as well as a lot of smaller amounts. Generally I at least make my money back and have had 5 hours out of the house socialising. My last visit was a £200 win, the week before £180.
~How much does it cost~
This depends on the night that you go as book costs vary as do winnings. Crown Bingo also has free book nights, but there are other games that you do pay for so if you buy these too it actually does not work out a lot cheaper.
Our favourite night is a Wednesday where we can get 6 of all games for just under £20 and the winnings are good. All bingo halls should have a sheet with the games, promotions and costs so that you can decide on the best night for you.
~What sort of people play bingo?~
Long gone are the days where just older people played bingo, you will see people as young as 18 (the legal age to play) up to those in their 90's and every age in between. Most of these people are pretty fun, a few are *moany buggers* who get a bit narky when they don't win. We just go to have some fun and if we win then bonus. Remember that if you cannot afford to lose then don't play.
~What about food and drink?~
Most if not all clubs have a bar and a food counter, which sells snacks and meals, prices in ours around the same price as a cafe.
Thank you for reading,
Miles earned from this review will go to The Battery Hen Welfare Trust
There are many things which really *get my goat* So here goes.
1~Battery Hen Eggs..most of you that read my reviews will know that hens are one of my biggest passions and I cannot for the life of me understand why the govenment deem this practice ok..its not. Now I do not blame the farmers as such, they are working within guidelines and need to make a living, that said they made a choice. The consumer has the power to stop this industry. Please help that. PLEASE read my battery hen review if you would be so kind as money from that will go to the battery hens welfare trust.
2~Parents that can't or won't control their children in public places like supermarkets where they are running around into peoples trollies and baskets getting nasty knocks on their heads. I go to shop not watch out for kids. Not to mention the danger of getting seperated from their parents and taken off. Keep hold of the little *darlings*
3~Bad manners, a please and thank you goes a long way, what annoys me even more is when its an older person who should really know better then to push and shove there way around without so much as an excuse me!
4~Mopeds, young lads (and laddetes) revving up those *sewing machines* like they own a harley.
5~Spitting, dirty vile habit!
6~Littering, the times that I have watched someone drop their rubbish on the floor when the nearest bin is a few steps away.
7~Bad dog owners, those that will not pick up their dog waste, so need a leg slap! Also owners that feel the *keep your dog on a lead* sign does not apply to them.
8~Cold callers, especially ones that phone up, they drive me mad! The last one wanted to *save me money* by having me change energy supplier and was quite put out when I said I was happy with the supplier I had, thank you and bye..he then told me that I obviously was not interested in saving money. The one before said congratualtions you are going to receive all funds back into your account from your PPI claim...what PPI claim? I didn't have one, again I said no thak you but these people will not take the hint, I have to resort to being rude myself and hanging up.
9~Traffic wardens...have you ever watched one when they have scored themselves a car worthly of a ticket?? To much pleasure taken for my liking.
I have just realised that I could go on and on but then I might look like my last pet hate of *moany buggers* lol
Was not really sure where to put this I apologise if it's in the wrong place.
As an owner of 3 ex battery hens and very passionate about their plight I have decided to write this in the hope that it may do some good and save a few hens from suffering.
Battery egg hens live in a tiny cage made of wire, the space they have is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper, so they hardly move. All they can do is to eat, drink and lay egg after egg. Deprived of normal chicken behaviour they will pull out the feathers of hens in nearby cages.
Lights are kept on for longer to encourage them to lay more, this puts a great deal of strain onto their bodies and causes more health problems.
Injuries are common and often not noticed or treated. Broken legs and torn ligaments are not uncommon.
Without being able to scratch around their nails grow long causing more discomfort.
Between 14 and 18 months the hen is of no more use because her egg production drops. At this stage one of 2 things will happen, either she will get lucky and end up being taken by a hen rescue organisation or she will be taken to slaughter and end up in dog food and baby food...yes that's correct baby food!
Hens can live for up to 10 years and lay for around 4 years. Their natural instinct is to scratch around for food, to perch, take dust baths, stretch out their wings and take some sun and even fly a few feet. All of this is taken away while in those tiny cages.
My profile photo is an ex battery hen.
~What can you do?~
The first thing that you can do is to stop buying eggs from caged hens. Some of the boxes look very attractive and unless you take a close look you might not even realise that they are from caged hens. I know that free range are more expensive but is the few pence really worth the suffering that these poor birds have to indure?
Write to your supermarket and ask them to consider stocking only free range. Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer already have this policy. M&S will not sell anything that contains egg unless it is free range. The Co Op have also stopped selling caged hen eggs. Tescos and Asda still do, not sure about other supermarkets so if anyone can comment on those please do.
Write to the government and express your views and urge them to stop this awful trade.
Maybe you have some room in your garden and could adopt a few ex battery hens yourself.
If you have any cash to spare then consider a donation to one of the ex battery hen organisations. They are not funded in anyway and everyone involved in hen rescues do it out of compassion for then hens. Volunteers are always wanted so again if this is something that you could do then contact them.
Two organisations that rescue hens, next recue date is May 22nd
I am particularly sensitive to the ex batt plight today because one of ours is ill. Her body abused from intensive forced laying has taken its toll and we are doing our best to stop her laying but this will take time. She has oedema and her organs are struggling to function normally. She has laid so many eggs in her young life that when she does lay she bleeds.
She has had a wonderful year doing what chickens should be doing and we hope to have another summer with her but right now its one day at a time. We have a no suffering policy so if we have to then we will have her put to sleep, which will break our hearts.
~ALL MILES EARNED FROM THIS REVIEW WILL BE DONATED TO THE BATTERY HEN WELFARE TRUST~
Please help end the suffering.
17 April Update on our poorly hen.
Sadly we lost her this morning, her poor little body could do longer function due to the stress put on it in her life before we gave her the freedom she deserved. R.I.P Little Red :-(
Please everyone that reads this do what you can to help end this cruel industry
OK let me start by saying the writing film reviews are probably not my forte, which I am sure you will agree when you read this one. I'm a bit of a wee taking bugger, finding fun where other people probably do not (with the exception of my daughter who while watching one of the Hostel films kept replying a certain horrific part and laughing her head off)
While browsing blockbusters for some evening entertainment my girlfriend and I came across Antichrist and decided to give it a go.
We took it to the counter with another DVD only to throw the guy serving into a bit of a panic. Are we sure we want to watch this film? Have we heard anything about it? These were his questions, we had heard that it was a little on the *nasty* side but had watched many other blood and gore films so were not concerned about what we had heard. The chappie continued to stress his concern at our choice especially as the other film we had chosen was The Time Travellers Wife. Him pointing that out made the guy in the queue next to me burst out laughing and shake his head as he looked at us. This just made me more inclined to see the film and we again told the guy serving us that we were sure. (Ok I did check with the girlfriend first that she would accompany me to the bathroom if needs be.)
We decided to watch this one first just in case it gave us the willies. So settled down on the sofa along with the dog and a cushion to hide behind.
Antichrist tells the story of a couple played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg that lose their son and this is how it begins, all slow motion, black and white (just the beginning) and during a hefty passionate sex session (real sex, which you are warned about on the back of the DVD) It switches between the sex and the child's journey to his demise, both scenes *climax* at the same time. I must confess to having a little giggle at the *feel like God but look like goofy* expressions on the couples faces, (I'm such a child)
The couple have different ways of dealing with their grief, he is a therapist and goes through all the natural stages of grief, she on the other hand has medication to numb her so that she doesn't have to face it.
He manages to convince her that therapy is what she needs and that he will give it to her. She agrees and they go to Eden to stay in their cabin. What follows is a rollercoaster on her part, one minute being sane the next turning into some vicious devil woman
The film contains copious amounts of sex, which is one of the ways that she deals with her grief. This often happens during a panic attack which looks very distressing but the husband always manages to rise to the occasion which amazes me as one would assume that seeing your loved one so distressed would be the last thing to provoke the necessary (you have no idea how many times I am replacing words here!)
He finds stories and drawings that she has done which show women as being evil, also some photos where she has put her sons shoes on the wrong foot causing a slight deformity which showed up in his autopsy, which begs the question as to why he had never noticed this.
She goes from being *normal* to accusing him of being a bad father, neglecting her and their son (maybe that's why he didn't notice the shoes on the wrong feet) to jumping his bones all in a matter of minutes.
He on his little adventures around the gorgeous greenery comes across the 3 beggars, which are a slightly mutilated fox that talks, a bird that will not die no matter how hard he smashes it with a rock and a deer that has a baby deer hanging out of her...can anyone say BIZZARE!
There are just a few violent scenes when she decides that her husband is going to leave her and comes up with a way to immobilise him. He is rendered unconscious and again manages to *rise* something she takes advantage of, this again is another *eww* moment. The most extreme part (for me anyway) involves a pair of scissors and her *lady button*, Ok I'm going to fess up here and admit that I closed my eyes!
I'm not going to give away the ending here, but will just say that when it finished my girlfriend and I just looked at each other, said "Right then* and then shoved the next DVD in.
How much you will enjoy this film depends on what you like, if you want to be gripping the end of your seat then this is not the film.
I have read reviews where people have said that Antichrist left them thinking, for me that thought was, what was all the fuss about.
Maybe it had something that I missed (being only of average intelligence). Or maybe it just was not what I expected and got myself prepared for, either way I won't be adding it to my collection.
Antichrist is rated 18
I tend to find the simple things in life those that make me happy.
1. Hearing people say nice things, the other day I overheard a young mother talking to her daughter, the part of the conversation I caught was *because you are beautiful, funny, clever, caring and wonderful*. That made me smile all the way home.
2. Watching my hens scratch around the garden, I find it relaxing and amusing.
3. When a member of my family makes me a cup of tea out of the blue or some other small gesture that lets me know they care.
4. Bingo..win or lose its 5 hours a week that Im away from home, work, computers, phones and gives me a chance to have fun with the other members there, if I win then bonus!
5. Playing with my dog, the unconditional love that she shows warms me.
6. Cooking, usually involving music and a wooden spoon as a mic (resulting is some sauce or other splattered up the wall)
7. Growing things, I love growing what food I can and gain a lot of pleasure seeing them grow.
8. Summer storms, the smell of rain on a warm day to me is intoxicating, and the clearing of the air which often clears my head too.
9. space clearing, my bells can often be heard by my neighbours as I use them to *clear* my home, when thats all done I feel very calm and peaceful, a lovely feeling.
10. Spring..getting through a cold winter and watching nature come back to life.
11. A smile from a stranger, a smaile can make a world of difference to someones day.
12. Spring cleaning, the satisfaction of a good clean up and clear out.
13. A good musical, I love a good sing along!
Gumtree is a free online advertising service covering England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Navigating the site is easy; it seems to have London as the default area (when I use it anyway) so the first thing to do on this site is to change city to the one that you want.
There are many categories to choose from;
Flat and houses
Cars vans and motorcycles
Each category is then sub categorised making it easy to find exactly what you are looking for.
I normally look at the job sections which I have found has too many get rich type schemes in it, and the usual betterware type thing. That said there do seem to be a lot of genuine job offers. You can see how many times each ad has been viewed.
Answering ads is very simple, just a click of a button , you do have to prove you are human by entering two words, something I often have trouble seeing so I end up refreshing it a few times to get new ones.
Placing an ad is again very simple and you have a choice of how you want responses. You do not have to put your email in the ad as they forward responses to you which is a good thing in my opinion. Gumtree do ask for your name, email and telephone number as well as postcode. These details are not shared with anyone though. It takes around 4 hours for an ad to go live and you can save your ads and change them if you need to.
There is an option to make your ad featured at a cost of £6.95 a week, other than that I assume that Gumtree make their profit through the sponsored links.
I have only used it twice to place an ad, one just now actually looking for a handy man (or woman) to hang a few doors with me so depending on what happens there I will update this review.
I have replied to a few job offers in there, a few responses directed me to some scheme or other, others I have yet to hear back from.
I do check it most days just to see if anything interesting comes up and also if Im looking for a bargain of which there are plenty of in there.
If you only eat one vegetable then make it broccoli, full of nutrients this superfood has many health benefits. It boosts the immune system, system, supports cardiovascular heath, builds bones and is full of antioxidants.
Parsley is another nutrient packed herb that should be used for more than decoration. benefits include blood building, parsley is very rich in iron, its also full of antioxidents, its high vitamin C content makes it a good immune booster.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
Packet parsely or white sauce or make your own white sauce.
Chopped fresh parsley, about 2 good tablespoons.
Potatoes, around 1kg depending on how much mash you like.
Cheese, grated for topping, again depending on how much you like.
Steam or boil the broccoli untill just tender and place in an ovenproof dish.
Boil and mash potato.
Make parsley sauce either by adding chopped fresh parsley to a packet mix or to white sauce made from scratch.
Poor the sauce over the broccoli then put the mash potato on top, sprinkle with grated cheese and arrange sliced tomato on the top.
bake for 30 minutes on 200 (fan oven)
I like to serve this with a small salad, baby leaf spinich and tomato and some sweetcorn. This provides 4 of the 5 a day veg/fruit recommended. Add a fruit for pudding and you have your 5.
Ok there are many reasons why people think Im strange five of which are:
1. I enjoy placing cold objects on my body, usually coins, its something that I do every day and no matter where I am. During bingo or anywhere that Im sat for a period of time I can usually be found with a necklace of cold coins around my neck or up my arm.
2. Five times out of ten I will turn something said to me into a song, either a known one or one that I will make up there and then. (never fails to make my daughter tut at me)
3. Once a week at least I will blurt out as many *naughty* words as I can till I get the urge out of my system. I do need to work on timing with this though or at least lower my voice.
4. I not only have 2 way conversations with my pets but then tell people what the conversation was about.
5. When in a car (not driving) or walking down the road I hold my left thumb.
This is quite a long review so you may want to grab yourself a nice cuppa.
Keeping hens as pets has become more popular following the recession. This review focuses on those who wish to have a few hens in the back garden rather than on a larger scale, those that intend to treat their hens as they would any other pet.
Hens will steal your heart in no time and you will spend your days watching every little thing that they do. They make fantastic pets with the added bonus of the most delicious eggs that you have ever tasted.
There are many things to consider BEFORE you get your hens and I will cover these first.
1. If your hen needed vet treatment is there a vet nearby that has experience with hens?
All vets would have avian training and should be able to treat your hen, however if you can find a vet that has hens on the books it is a definite bonus.
This will be one of the most important decisions you will make and one that will cost you more in the long run if you make the wrong choice. There are many small coops with built in runs. All very pretty but even though most claim to be able to house 4/6 hens they are way too small. Also felt roofs and lots of nooks and crannies on this type are red mite haven. These do look tempting especially with costs of around £150 but I can almost guarantee that you will be buying a new coop within 6 months.
Arc type coops and runs and easy to move and easy to clean out but will require weatherproofing every year. Cost for these type average around £300.
Omlet do a plastic coop with run which are the most expensive type to buy (around £600). The main advantage of these is being easy to clean out.
Make your own..if you are handy with pieces of wood and chicken wire you could make your own. Many people actually use £99 sheds as their coop and built runs off it.
Which every run/coop you choose it is important to give the hens as much space as possible, especially if they will not be free ranging too much. Also make sure that the run is fox proof.
Another thing to note here is that sooner or later you may find yourself wanting more hens so plan ahead space wise.
They will totally destroy your garden so if possible fence some off just for them.
There are many choices for bedding around, easibed, sawdust, straw and hay are also used although I would avoid straw and hay if possible because sometimes the hens will eat it and can become crop bound. They also encourage red mite. Sawdust should be dust extracted.
The latest material being used in the runs is recycled rubber which can be hosed off at regular intervals so no waste.
Hen houses need cleaning on a regular basis, poo picking from nesting boxes will need to daily, runs at least weekly and every few months a really good clean out with some hen friendly disinfectant.
Chickens can be fed from kitchen leftovers and can eat most things. (avocados are poisonous to hens)Personally I recommend either layers mash or layers pellets, a 20kg bag will cost around £7 and will easily feed 4 hens for 3 to 4 weeks. If hens are not point of lay then growers pellets is used till they are ready to lay.
Hens love greens, to prevent boredom and give them valuable nutrients hang cabbages, broccoli, kale etc in the runs.
Treats include mixed corn and meal worms (dried) This is a good way to get the hens to feed from your hand.
Oyster shell and grit is also required, to aid digestion as hens do not have teeth they use the grit to help grind up their food.
5. Health problems.
Chickens are very good at hiding illness and often by the time you have noticed something is wrong it can be advanced, therefore it is important to get to know your hens and watch out for anything that indicates that they are *not themselves*. Without turning this review into a book I have listed the more common illnesses that a hen may get.
The tail is a good indicator that all is well. It should be sticking up and a hen with her tail down is often the first sign that an owner picks up on. If she is standing around all hunched up, eyes closed and not wanting to move then it's time to look for the cause.
Chickens can become egg-bound and this is a VERY painful condition and not one that should be ignored for long. Bathing an egg-bound hen to relax the vent area can help. You will come across books that suggest holding the hen over a pot of boiling water to relax it but I STRONGLY advice against this for obvious reasons. If bathing fails to help the bird pass the egg then the vet will be needed. They will give and injection to stimulate the contractions.
Sour crop and impacted crop are two other conditions that hens will probably get during their life span. These conditions can be helped by feeding the hen live maggots, yeah a big EWW factor there but the maggots do a great job of clearing the crop.
Chickens can get colds but more often than not this can turn into something more serious and antibiotics will be needed.
Another quite serious problem that can arise is a prolapse, there is plenty of advice around for treating this at home but personally I would take the hen to the vet.
Those are the most common possible illnesses you may come across.
There are many different types of hens and you may wish to do some research into them before making your choice. Personally I have 4 *posh* hens, which are a goldline, light sussex, black rock and speckaldy, at my partners we have 3 ex battery hens. With so many breeds to choose from it would take forever to list pros and cons for each. Some are more docile than others, some will lay less but for longer. I would suggest that you visit a few farms and take a look for yourself and ask questions. Another option is ex battery hens, see point 9.
7. Egg laying.
Hens live between 5 and 11 years, depending on the breed but as each year passes so does the amount of eggs she will lay so you will need to decide what you will do when the eggs run out. For me it's very simple, she becomes my retired hen and I continue to love and care for her just as I did when she provided me with delicious eggs. My light sussex lays most days, taken off a day every couple of weeks, the same with my goldline. My speckaldy and black rock lay 6 days out of 7. Again with so many breeds it is important that you do your own research to see which breed is most suitable for you.
8. Hens and other pets
I have many animals including dogs and cats. Cats do not seem to be an issue for hens. One of mine went to check them out only to be jabbed with a beak, she now lays a few feet away from the runs and just observes.
Dogs should NEVER be left with hens that are free ranging.
9. Ex battery hens.
The plight of ex battery hens is heartbreaking and I hope needs no further explanation. If you are not aware of the conditions these poor birds are living in then please take the time to do a little research.
If eggs would just be a bonus to you then I urge you to consider re-homing ex battery hens.
At my partners we have 3, Rheats, Rosie and Red, collectively known as the 3 Rs. Below is a brief story of their life so far.
May 2009. 3 half feathered, sore, limping terrified hens arrived. They were pulling what feathers they had left out of each other and it was all that we could do to stop ourselves from crying at this terrible sight. It was evening when they arrived so within a few hours they went to bed and we spent the night worrying that something would happen overnight. Next morning out they came and started tucking into their breakfast.
Days turned into weeks and in time they became more and more friendly, eating from our hands and stealing cheese and tomato sandwiches off our plates.
One day we forgot to shut the conservatory door and the 3 Rs ran in the house and jumped up on the sofa, something they will now do every time they get the chance, cheeky little hens.
10 months on and all 3 ladies are doing well, Rosie and Rheats have all their feathers, Red has yet to cover her bum and neck, she still limps but is a very happy hen. Rosie has taken to wanting to get up extra early on a Sunday morning to do her Sunday sermon, as loud as possible! Red likes the hymns and Rheats quietly mumbles to herself that Rosie is talking out of her vent.
All 3 still lay around 3 eggs each a week.
There are many organisations that rescue ex battery hens that you can contact if you feel you could give these ladies the life that they deserve.
www.henrehomers.net and http://www.bhwt.org.uk/ are a couple of places you can try.
I hope that this review has given you an insight into the delights of chook keeping.
If you would like a look at my hens and the batties you can find pics here
I live 2 minutes from the local co op and I must say that it's come a long way over the years. One of the things that I like most about it is the range of fair-trade products and eco products both of which I am willing to pay a little more for but often it isn't the case.
There are many bargains to be had if you are prepared to look around; these offers are on things that you would buy regularly like toilet roll, milk, fruit and veg. There is also a small vegetarian section which I'm happy about. I know that if the cupboards are empty then I don't have to go far to be able to get what I need to make a good meal. The latest offers that I have found have been Alpro, normally around £1.46 on offer at 2 for £2. Eco dishwasher tablets are a BOGOF at the moment. Toilet rolls are 2 for £3 (4 pack rolls). Drinks are always on offer as is beer; last look was 8 Carlsberg for £6
The fridge section has a good selection of all the usual things you would need to buy, various types of cheese, yoghurts etc. Sandwiches from 99p, including free range egg which I would like to think is most people's preference if they were buying an egg mayo sandwich.
The freezer isn't huge but there is something in there for most peoples taste.
It doesn't have the largest selection of products but what I does have I feel is more than adequate for in between supermarket trips.
Around 8pm is a good time to check out the reductions, everything close to its sell by date comes way down in price, many a bargain to be had there.
The staff in my local store are always friendly and helpful, I enjoy the personal touch of a smaller shop, and it's nice to know a little about the people that you see every day.
They also have a loyalty card, unlike major supermarkets this card actually pays out cash twice per year. What you get depends on their profits for the year and what you have spent.
You can get more details and sign up online
Personally I like the whole Co Operative concept; I feel they are moving forward and care about the community and the environment.
Reading through a few of the reviews on pets at home I have decided that I must be lucky. My nearest store is just 15 minutes from me. I have been using it for so long that most of the assistants know me.
I have found the staff to be very knowledgeable about the various kinds of animals they sale. I have 5 guinea pigs, a few gerbils a rat and a chinchilla from there and felt they gave good advise
Whatever animal they sell you will find a start up pack for it which is often very good value.
They cater for pretty much everything now and their newest residents are sea dragons and iguanas...WANT ONE!
The last thing we bought from there was a few fish and the guy that was dealing with that asked quite a few questions about the tank we had, the fish in it which I was impressed about.
They have recently got in a new line of chicken products which I was most happy about.
I'm always asked if I found everything that I'm looking for and the answer to that is yes because they very rarely move anything around which for me when I sometimes don't have time to brush my hair yet alone run around trying to find food for 4 different animals at least is a good thing.
The store is big, clean and looks neat and tide. You are never watched as you stand around for hours chatting to the new additions; baby guinea pigs are so darn cute!
I had suggested a loyalty type card but not sure they were that interested, perhaps that suggestion needs to go further up the chain.
The one thing I was sad about with our particular store is that they used to have birds, but now in their place is doggie fashion, which seems very overpriced. I preferred the birds.
I usually have a ton of stuff at the checkout and every time I have been asked if I would like a hand getting it to the car.
I will continue to use Pets at Home and recommend it.