Where have all the Eggs Gone!!!

Hi there keepers, it appears are girls are drying up, I feel for our chicken sitter who has only had the pleasure of two eggs all week, not much of return for 5 days caring for the girls, we knew Nellie had stopped before we left, due we now realise to moulting, big pile of Nellie feathers under the deck.

As we have been away for 5 days , I have no idea if they have moved nest again, or just gone on strike due to the re-introduction of the budget pellets? We just didn’t have the time to drive out to the rural farm shop for the tastier ones. I shall have to observe them in the morning to see what’s going on, other than that nothing to report really, I have a nice tan after 5 days in the sun in the north of the north island, a beautiful spot called Mangawhai Heads, but you don’t want to hear about me, so I shall report on the girls as soon as i know what ‘s going on.

General Update

mangawhaiHi there keepers, lots and nothing to report really, I think maybe I’m taking things more in my stride now with the girls, getting a bit more farmer like about it, rather than pet keeper. In that vein, the biggest news is that weve lost an egg a day, we at first suspected Daisy was laying somewhere else, however after a bit of spying, which takes some time and cunning, as they seem to be aware of you watching them, and don’t want to give away the location of the nest, I saw that Daisy is laying in the communal nest, so who is going elsewhere? No one as it turns out, the truth is Nellie has stopped production, not sure of the reason? it’s still summer, the diet is the same (varied), the only difference is the new chicks.

 I have my suspicions Nellie is older than the others, and may just have come to the end of her prime, as far as egg laying goes.

Dorothy the light Sussex is now slightly bigger than the shavers, and she is starting to become more dominant, her and Daphne were invloved in a tug of war over the end of a baguette, Dorothy won the larger piece, and there was no chase given by Daphne, which definately wasn’t the case two weeks ago. Manuella is coming out of her shell too, and is getting in amongst it all, fighting for her place in the flock.

I think the heat is getting to the girls a bit, as they seem to have wanted to roost outside the coop for the past two nights, which have been hot.

Going of on another camping trip, for a week this time, so the chickensitter ( Terry), will be in residence for the next few days, I’m sure there will be stories to report on our return.

Wanted !!!! Pied Piper. Pays Bad, Eggs Good.

Yes keepers, rats, so far I have seen the local stray cat take one from the garden, big enough to feed her family, i myself caught one that was burrowing under the black plastic that covers an area under the deck, to stop the weeds coming up, next bit not for the squeemish,close eyes now, I clubbed it with end blunt side of the axe, direct hit, not to sound too macabre, it kind of reminded me of one of those funfair sideshows,with the mallets and the strange looking clowns that pop out of the holes, and if you hit enough of them you win a cuddlely monkey.

I have set a trap under the house, on the path of a little vermin, I can see it’s little footprints,left in the dust that has gathered on the top of an old printer left by a previous tenant,( soon to be appearing on TradeMe), the printer that is not the previous tenant. The rat has not been fooled by the trap as yet, infact it has eaten all of the dairy lea slice off of the trap without setting it off, careful eating this rat. It now has a small smorga’s board of food, chick crums, laying pellets of two varieties, and dairy lea cheese, no wonder it’s quite happy to live under our house.

The hens are very good at alarming us to any prowlers in the garden, they wentt off at about 5:30 this afternoon, and sure enough ,when I went to investigate, the local bird catching cat Leroy, ( a cornish rex), had reappeared in the garden after a good 2 months away, probably run out of sparrows and blackbird chicks.

It was a bit of a day for returning animals, as if they had all been on holiday for a few weeks too, back from there summer hols and popped by to say hi, for not only did Leroy swing by, but a family of Mallards came back that had been visiting before christmas, Mum with her 6 ducklings all grown up, really lovely that they remembered us, as they came back to the front door as she has now with two sets of ducklings, and they came straight in through the front door and into the hallway demanding bread, at least I think that what they were saying, I gave then 3 slices, they left me 3 presents in the hall, maybe thats a formal custom in Mallard circles, I didn’t say anything, just incase I offended any of them, ( thank goodness for wooden floors) and off they went.

Order Has Been Established

Hello keepers, yesterday was a little bit wet and wild, the storm had blown through during the night, but the tail was enough to make the day a little dim. The hens needed more feed as they didn’t seem too keen on forageing, they even went for the budget pellets yesterday. they all seem to getting long nicely, as they have all been sharing the same coop now at nights for 4 nights, however I have still had to force the chicks into the coop, and lock the door behind them, that was until last night.

It had got dark a bit earlier than usual due to the stormy weather, I cooked dinner last night, then retired to the back room for a cuppa and a wooodbine, before I knew what time it was, it had grown dark, and i was just about to go out to put them all in, when the other half came into the room and announced they were all in bed of their own accord, sorted out their roosting spots, and all she had to do was shut the door.

Today they all seem even better together, the order has been established.

Due to Technical Difficulties

Hi there keepers, I seem to be experiencing some technical difficulties, due I suspect to the recent swap of my browser, I have changed it to Flock, which seems better in some areas, however I’m finding it frustrating in that it won’t do somethings without asking you loads of questions, like some descendant of H.A.L from 2001, ‘Are you sure you want to do that Rob?’ , ‘ I don’t think you should do that Rob ‘, I imagine it has the same condescending tones of a new age counsellor.

It seems to have some how stopped me from uploading pics, as you can see I’m still able to post text. If anyone out there has had experience with this and knows a fix-it, I’m all ears.

Meanwhile all the girls are getting along, I think the shavers are starting to realise that Dotty the Light Sussex, is going to be bigger than them, as they seem to not be pecking at her at all, now she is the same size as them, infact yesterday Dotty stole some bread from both Nancy and Gloria, with no reprise, they both kind of stopped in their tracks, in disbelief that they had just been mugged by the new chick, who really isn’t much of a chick any more, probably a rebelious teenager now, in terms of hen years. Which is why I’m so frustrated with the techy probs, as I can’t show you the progression of the Girls.

On another note, as I look at the visitor map, ( to the top left), I see that there are now 27 countries onboard, welcome to you all, Hola, Bonjour, Wilkommen, Cead mile failte, Kia Ora, G’day, Ciao, Salem, Shalom.

Daisy the secret Layer

Hi there, well I have searched everywhere in our garden for the missing eggs, somewhere in the region of 8 eggs should be in the new nest, I’m assuming there is a new nest, maybe she’s just given up laying.
This seems to make it more important that i build them a bigger coop again, with nest boxes inside, as one of the reasons they move the nesting spot, is the weather, two of their nests have been rained out.
I try to keep an eye on Daisy as I’m pretty sure it’s her who is sneaking off, as I have seen the other 3 layers on the nest that we do get eggs from, but not Daisy. She spends some of her day in Mani’s garden next door, as they have a fruiting plum tree, and the girls come back from beneath the plum tree, a bit drunk I think, well they get very sleepy after a few plums.

Trouble at Mill

Hi keepers, well finally it has got the better of me, I am talking about the civil engineering works, why they are called civil I do not know, is it short for civilian? as apposed to military?, I think it must be because, swearing alot, urinating in the stream ( when they have a portaloo),  leaving a mess around, leering at my girlfriend, and to top it off today playing their stereo as loud as a nightclub, is not civil at all, so i shouted at them, ‘ Do you mind, your stereo is doing my ******* head in ‘ , I wouldn’t have minded quite as much if it had been good music, I don’t wish to sound snobby, I from Hackney for starters, it’s just the continuous shriecks of a 14 year old’s pop song at 10am is not how i like to start my day.

I would like to remind them that this is our home, and not just a hole in the ground where a new sewer pipe is being layed, and how would they like it happening in their back garden, during their annual holiday. To keep the blog about hens, I should also say how it has effected the girls, well they have been laying less eggs, they have had to move their nesting spot, their coop has been relocated, and all in all they are sometimes frightened of the heavy machinery, a bit stressful all round really, but when I shouted across in my annoyed fashion, the worker replied, ‘ all you had so do was ask us to turn it down ‘, which I can only translate as  ‘  no need to swear at us ‘, seems only they are allowed to be uncivil?

In the Big House

Hi there keepers, as some of you may know we have 3 new chicks, one of which only just arrived three days ago, as we had to swap Maria the rooster, for Manuella the Minorca hen, which has caused more pecking and general trouble at mill, so in an attempt to force them all to get on, I decided to put them all in the same coop for the night, as they don’t tend to fight in the coop, probably because it’s dark and they wouldn’t be too sure who they were pecking, and heaven forbid they should peck Nancy(boss) by mistake.

Well they went to bed in a peaceful state, and all was well, but in the morning a different story, once they could see who was who they were off, i arrived down in the morning to hear much fuss coming from inside the coop, only Nancy had escaped the coop, she seems to be the only one who can push the door open. I think it helped though, as they seemed to be slightly more friendly towards each other.

We put them in together again last night, and there was less fuss in the coop this morning, so hopefully by tommorrow or the end of the week, they’ll be all be firm friends ( except Nancy).

Manuella Steals Cuddle Crown

Hi there keepers, one of the parts of keeping chickens, other than the beautiful eggs, I enjoy,  is having a little peaceful time on a chair in the garden with a hen on my lap, stroking their soft feathers is very relaxing, simular I suppose to what people get out of stroking a cat , dog or other furry animal. I once had a school friend who had a piece of velvet with him at all times, he would get it out of his pocket and stroke it when he became stressed, I wonder what became of him?

So I was as pleased as Punch, when we got Manuella (Minorca) home, and took her out of the box she had been transported in, I thought I’d just try to calm her down a bit with a few strokes,  well to the amazement of us all, she layed down on my lap with her neck stretched out down my leg, then fell asleep. She stayed there for some time, and it wasn’t a one off either, the next day I brought her inside to show the family in Ireland on Skype through the PC, and she did the same thing, she sat on my son’s lap while he played PC games, she really likes her cuddles.

Gloria, one of shavers was the cuddle queen, but she would only endure 5mins maybe 10 mins at the most, however I think that crown has been well and truely stolen by Manuella De Minorca.

Maria’s replacement

Hi there keepers, as some of you may have been following the Maria saga, well it come to it’s conclusion yesterday, it had got to the point where we could no longer ignore the obvious signs that maria was and is a rooster. Not having this breed before we weren’t quite sure, but in the end I think someone who had never seen a chicken before probably would have said ‘boy chicken’, so we drove back to the lovely breeder Raewyn, who exchange Maria for Manuella, yes that is the new birds name, as we had been calling Maria, Manuel for the past couple of weeks, we thought it only right that we called the new girl Manuella.

She is very different in mood, she was straight onto my lap for a cuddle, and even had a little nap, where as Maria(rooster), would run a mile if you even looked at him. Unfortunately the new chicks didn’t except Manuella, as I thought they might, I had hoped they would think it was Maria with a comb and tail trim, but no such luck, Betty(wyandotte) the smallest of the chicks, attacked her with a fuery, maybe revenge for the pecking dealt out by Maria, she jumped on her back and grabbed hold of her comb, and rode her like a rodeo bull.

So now Manuella is now living in the bottom of the welsh dresser on the deck, smaller than her previous dwelling but Betty free. It’s all going to be worth while as the Minorca chicken is a beautiful bird.