Coop Building

Hi there keepers, I’m currently working on building yet another coop. I’m taking a bit more time over this one, using all the lessons learnt from building the first three, hopefully this one will last a few years. 

I went to find some  wood today at the local refuse centre, where you can get free fire wood, however a guy working there asked me what I was looking for, when I replied ‘ Long pieces to build a chicken coop.’, he led me away to a warehouse, which contained a large pile of long crates, previously used to store soil core samples, all made from decent solid timber.

If you click on the pics, it will give you a close up, you may notice I’ve over lapped the wood on the sides, like weather boards to allow the rain to run off, you may note from the pics, I haven’t done any fancy wood work, just butted the pieces of the frame and nailed them together, I used thicker wood(4 x 2) for the bottom frame and legs at the front. It’s important to have the structure raised off of the ground to prevent it rotting from moisture.

I will endeavour to take pictures along the way, incase anyones interested in making one themselves

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Fertile Eggs

Hi there keepers, exciting times ahead for our little flock, we have been out to see the lovely Raewyn and Gary to get some new additions to our flock, this time we’ve gone for some fertile eggs, as Renee our Light Sussex is broody at the moment. As I mentioned in an earlier post, she was broody for about two months last year,  she became poorly from sitting on the nest box too long, even though I had removed the eggs, she still sat there day after day, eventually I just threw her out every morning, until she got the message.

Renee

So this year we thought we’d give Renee some eggs to hatch, it’s the first time we’ve try this, and possibly a first for Renee. We got her as an adult so not sure. She is currently sitting on three Wyandotte Silver Laced, three Barred Rock ( Plymouth), and two Dorkings, it was quite simple to just slip the eggs under her, I left two of her eggs in with them, just so she didn’t get worried about her own eggs, I don’t know it’s all guess work for me,  here’s hoping they all hatch. I think Renee will make a good mother hen, I just hope the others are ok with little chicks, and don’t get aggressive towards them.

I will let you know how it goes along the way, Happy Keeping.

Changing Seasons

Hi there keepers, the seasons are a changing, we’re in springtime down here in New Zealand, the Daffodils have been and gone, the Bee’s are swarming, and the hens are aware of the new year, Renee has already started to brood 2 days ago, we want to get some fertile eggs to put under this time, as are small flock has been depleated with the loss of Nelly and Daisy, and also last year Renee sat on the nest box for 2 months of more, and became quite dirty and thin, we thought if we give her some chicks to rear, she be off the nest quicker.

Another feature of the warmer weather is flies, this hadn’t been much of a problem in the past, other than a few extra ones in the house on occassion, however this spring I have encounter a nasty side of flies, one of our Shavers or Cinnamon Queens as someone described them the other day, had an infestation of maggots, I had heard of fly blown cattle before, mainly sheep, but  didn’t realise chickens were suseptable to them, since making a comment on another forum, I had several accounts of lots of different animals being attacked by fly, kittens seemed to be the most disturbing.

What I found was an open wound just below her vent, with 30 – 40 maggots wriggling around, quite digusting, as it was just below the vent it got very dirty, from the look of her comb, I’d say she got a touch of blood poisoning, I noticed a slight darkening to the tips of the comb.  So it was into the operating theatre ( laundry room), hot bath’s and cut away the dirty feathers around the wound, alot of the maggots came out in the hot water, but some needed prizing out with a cocktail stick, it wasn’t pleasant, the smell of the wound added to the whole experience. After ensuring all the maggots were out, and the infected flesh had been removed, I just scrape it away with wooden skewer, once this had been washed out with warm water using cotton buds, I applied some antiseptic cream. I repeated this for 3 days, and she seems to be on the mend, although she’s not out of the woods just yet, she’s very weak from not eating properly.

I’ll let you know how she gets on of course, and any other bits that crop up with the changing seasons. happy keeping.

Fox is out Foxed by Chickens.

Hi there keepers, while chatting on the phone with my Mother in the UK other day, she alerted me to a story that broke a few months ago in the UK, now I normally don’t copy and paste, I write all the contents on here myself, but on this occasion I thought i’d share two articles from two very different UK newspapers with you.

first this is from the Guardian, a broadsheet newspaper.

Michelle Cordell, 43, was amazed when she went to collect eggs from her garden brood on Saturday morning and found the dead fox lying in their pen.She said: “I was so shocked. When I opened it up, the chickens came running out, happy as anything. I went inside and the fox was laying there. “The little table in the corner of the coup, which the chickens perch on, had been kicked over and was lying next to the fox’s head. It seems they kicked over the table and knocked the fox out and then pecked it to death. It had little blood marks on its legs that look like they had been pecked.”

Mrs Cordell, who lives in Langdon Hills, Essex, with her partner Gary Howell, 45, said foxes had often broken into the coup and killed their chickens in the past. She said she had shut up the sliding door of the shed on Friday night when she put the chickens to bed but thinks the fox must have nosed its way under the door. When she went out the next morning the door was still shut but the fox was trapped inside with the birds.

Now from a tabloid newspaper, ‘The Sun’

A GANG of four plucky chickens hatched a murderous plan to take revenge on a fox terrorising their coop — and pecked him to death.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2874450/Fox-comes-last-in-pecking-order.html#ixzz11j2tXcZx

I hope you enjoyed both accounts.