It’s all over the place

Hi there readers, well you know, I try, I keep upgrading the facilities, however on occasion I have to go and earn some money, which of course means being away from the hens for the day, as it turns out I’ve been busy the past 2 weeks, and in that time the girls have moved nests, were down to 1 egg a day, Nancy is still broody but not laying, the coop le grande has come to a grinding halt, and the garden is in need of some t.l.c., it is frustrating to say the least.

I feel caught in a Catch 22 ( great book by the way), if I work from home I get a bit stir crazy, and if I work away from home, I end up with twice as much to do when I am here. This may sound like I’m complaining, well it isn’t, this is just one way I find useful to make it all seem better, ranting about it, seems to lighten the load, getting off your chest so to speak, or should I say breast as this is a chicken blog.

Manuella put her self into the coop last night, seems they are all friends now, well to a degree, not as pecky since Nancy has been absent. The rat seems to have disappeared, not in a David Copperfield way, more in a eaten by a cat way I think, as a stray tabby has been lurking around over the past couple of weeks, not really a threat to the girls, as she is smaller than most of them, and I’ve seen them fight off  ‘Leroy ‘  the Cornish Rex cat, known by some of the neighbours as ‘ the bird killer ‘, very sharp claws indeed, as he is brown, we have nicked named him, ‘ the  baddest cat in town ‘ .

All’s Quiet On the Western Front.

Hi there, we live in west Auckland,  any one living in these here parts are coloquilly known as Westie’s, nothing like the small terrier with the same name, as the dress code for a ‘Westie’, is black jumper n jeans, with a goatee beard. Any how all is quite of the chicken front really, I’m slowly building the new coop, just returned from Spa n Pool shop , where there was a stack of pallets for removal, the mear mention of free range eggs, and the pallets were mine.

The girls are all pretty much settled, not quite sure where they are all laying at the moment, but once the new coop is complete I can try to rectify that,with built in nest boxes, Nancy is still broody, but has stopped laying again, the chicks are all grown up now, not pullets anymore, but no eggs yet.

Summer is drawing to a close, so the lean months are ahead, as far as eggs go, otherwise nothing else to report, but never fear as soon as there is , you’ll be the first to read about it.

Le Coop De Grande

Hi keepers, well the time has come for me to expand the coop again, for those of you following the trials and tribulations, you will know that the girls are already living in the second home built coop, but now they are out growing that one. Now that the eight of them are living together, it’s not the size, I mean they do have enough space, it just the mess they make, after all they just roost in it, they don’t lay there, as the coop is a cosy size, it doesn’t take long for it to be dirty, also the main hinderance to me cleaning it is that i can’t get inside it, therefore I am building mach III, almost half shed size.

Ofcourse I shall be using the trusty pallet as my main building material. I have already constructed part of the frame from some 4 by 2, ( that’s wood that is approxiamtely 2inches thick x 4 inches wide, in old speak) which has been left under the house  by previous tenants. This time however I am going to build nest boxes inside, and encourage the girls to lay indoors. I don’t really work to any plan with these projects, they just sort of organically grow as I find the pieces of timber I need.

Therefore it makes it harder to give you details of how I’m constructing the coop. I’ll try.

 I started by making two rectangle frames of equal size ( depends how big you want your coop to be), using the two frames as the sides, I then joined them with more 2×4,(again length of these pieces will determine the width of your coop), at the top, with just nails, once this has been done both top and bottom, you should have and open cube, if that makes any sense. Then using the flat pieces from the pallets make your roof and sides, leaving the necessary gaps for doors and or windows etc. It sort of ends up being a bit of a patch work of wood.

It will save all of the jumping the neighbours fence, to retrieve eggs from nests next door, although it might not give me so much to write about, perhaps if I get things in too much order it will become boring, something tells me that won’t happen, it’s not my nature.

I will try to take a pictorial diary of the construcion of Le Coop De Grande.

I Hit The Jackpot

Hi reader, well just to fill you in on Nancys’ broody phase, I saw her today out of the nest, so I quickly jumped over the fence and fished out as many eggs as I could before she spied me, there is an abundance of eggs, I took nine, there were four more I couldn’t reach in time, all very good eggs, I must say she has taken her time getting around to the laying process, but she is definately making up for it now, only one of the eggs so off, I put them all in a spacepan of water to test them, as there were so many, no way of knowing what day they may have been laid.

The basket is full once again, time to start selling more, as the feed is running low, that’s all for now.

Nancy’s Secret

Well hello there readers, firstly I must say, I was bowled over by the response from the ‘ thankyou for your support ‘ note,  thanks again, but on to the serious business of the broody Nancy.

As some of you might read nancy has been disappearing for days on end, only breifly coming back on some days for about twenty minutes to grab a snack, this behaviour to the experienced chicken keeper, would lead to only one conclusion, however as we are  novice chicken keepers, we thought she had just had enough of the new chicks, and was losing her place as top hen, so decided to ‘ fly the coop’, ( first time I’ve been able used that expression in it’s proper place), when she returned a second time, I started to think that she is laying somewhere secret, as Nancy has only ever layed one egg before to our knowledge, it seemed unlikely.

She turned up for the third time on Sunday, which meant as I was at home all day, I would be able to follow her when she left. They know when they are being watched, so I had to potter around the garden pretending to do something other than watching her, always looking out through the sides of my eyes. 

Eventually she made her move, down to the bamboo fence, one last stratch around to make it look like she wasn’t doing anything, then she popped through a hole in the fence and heading from the neighbours back porch, where they have their outdoor furniture arranged under cover, I lepted the fence, and hid behind a shrubery, I’d cleared this with the neighbours first, I don’t just go leaping into people’s garden willy nilly, might look strange, well from behind that bush I saw Nancy doing what looked liked something from mission impossible. She goes into the seating area, flies up over the back of one of the sofa’s, lands on the shelf with the plants on, then works her way along the shelf, going around the pot plants, jumps off the end onto a small wall, and then squeezes in between the shed and trellis fence, which is covered with ivy, talk about effort.

As she was in such a tight space she could not turn around, I was able to remove four of the eggs that had slipped out the back of her, I’m sure she is still sitting on at least 3 more, at least I know where she is now.

The Grand Deluxe Coop is under construction, this time with nesting boxes, all this sneaking around the gardens following chickens is,  A . Very time consuming and, B . I look silly doing it, if you didn’t know, I probably look like a peeping tom, sneaking around hiding behind neighbours bushes.

2000 Visitors

Hi Everyone, just a quick note to say thankyou to you all for visiting the chicken keeper, the site got it’s 2000th visit today, quite pleased, as I’ve only being concentrating on it since november last year. I hope you enjoy the continued ramblings on the lives of my small flock. Thanks again.

Has Nancy Gone Broody?

Hi there reader, low and behold as I looked out of the window down into the garden this morning, there she was, I called to her with the same sort of tone you would use after loosing a friend at a festival , ‘ Nancy!!! , there you are ‘. It was great to her well, if a little hungry.  What struck me straight away as I went out into the garden, although Nancy had returned there was no sight of any other bird, all seven were hiding, as it turned out not so much hiding, just away from Nancy, it really seemed as if she were being ignored by the others, the three newbies were down in the ginger bush,  with Nellie, the shaver most pecked by Nancy, and the other three were down in the bamboo by the edge of the creek, both groups had that look about them, you when you come into a room and the conversation stops, and everybodies pretending to just be talking about the weather.

There they were the two factions of hens in their hides, discussing Nancy, ‘ I see she’s back then! ‘ , ‘ I thought we’d seen last last of her ‘ , maybe the chicks were consouling Nellie, ‘ I know, she pecks us too, it’s not very nice, hmm ‘.  Well all their ignoring her payed off, I noticed she was starting to squeeze her way through the bamboo fence again, into Mani’s garden, so I watched her, unfortunately I had to go the post office, early closing Saturday, by the time I had wrapped the parcel, she had disappeared from sight, I look in the neighbours garden, racing her last movements, no sign. So I think she has gone broody and is laying in secret somewhere nearby, sitting patiently for eggs that will never hatch, bless her.


Hi there keepers, well grave news I fear, Nancy has gone it seems, she has not return to the coop now for two nights, she came back breifly the first day, but no sign of her at all yesterday, she didn’t leave a note or forwarding address, quiet rude. It has been suggested to me that she has gone broody, however she wasn’t laying before hand, infact as far as I’m aware she has only ever layed 1 egg while she has been in our keeping. Is it possible that she is starting to lay , but wants to do that away from the others?

The other reason I thought might be at the bottom of this behaviour, is that now the chicks are growing up, she may feel her role as top hen is under threat from Dororthy, who is now bigger than the shavers, and still has some growing to do, she’s definately not scared of the older girls any more. Also I’ve realised that the coop needs to be bigger, there’s enough room for the 8 to sleep, but there are on top of each other a bit, usually 3 up 5 down, but it gets messy alot quicker with 8 in there.

My initial reaction when Nancy went missing was, ho hum, she doesn’t lay, she pecks all the others to distraction, and costs us to keep her, however it’s hard not to feel attached to her after 6mths, now I’m starting to feel a bit sad that she might not come back again, it’s a big bad world for a lonely chicken.  So if you are reading this in an internet cafe nearby please come home Nancy.

Dirty Stop Out

Hi keepers, there seems to be something going on with these girls, maybe it’s the heat getting to them, two weeks of constant 30 + days, one’s moulting, two have moved nests, and now Nancy the Boss,  who doesn’t lay, seems to have gone ‘ walkabout’, she left the garden at about 2pm yesterday and was no where to be found. I searched in the usual spots, and was getting a little concerned when she hadn’t returned by lock down.

I was sure she would be there this morning for breakfast, but to my surprise no Nancy, I even thought she would emerge from her overnight roost when I threw out the feed first thing, but no. I decided to take a look around the area again, met a couple of neighbours on route, no sightings to report, so I gave up. She reappeared as casual as you like at 2pm, same time she left, strange, she was very hungry, no food in her gullet at all, maybe she discovered a rip in time, and was in a parallel universe for 24hrs, or abducted by aliens, if only they could talk.

' What's that for?'

' What's that for?'

Feathers Everywhere!!

Hi keepers, well this is a first for us, one of girls , Nellie, is moulting, we have’nt had experience of this until now, at first I thought one of them had been attacked by some beastly creature, then we started to notice that Nellie was looking a bit different. She has started to grow the new feathers, so she is looking a bit messy at the moment, a bit like when you pop in to see the other half at the hairdressers and she’s in the middle of the hairdressing process.

The new feathers are so soft, and have more colour to them, that’s color to our American friends, the result of which has made her more ginger, real copper coloured, unfortunately one of the side effects of this is that she is off laying at the moment, however I have tracked down the remaining layers now, so should be back to 3 eggs a day, Daisy must of been having her day off when we returned, and maybe she just stopped while we were away as someone suggested.

Dorothy the Light Sussex

Dorothy the Light Sussex