Moving Chickens

Hi there keepers, it’s been a while since I posted, there has been alot going on. Our landlord moved to Australia leaving our house with a property manager. She immediately put the rent up by over 10%, (her fee), and then instructed us we had ten days to remove our chickens from the property, quoting some tenancy act.

Rubbish, we had an agreement with our landlord about our hens from the beginning nearly three yeears ago. Waiakere council allows twelve hens on an urban plot, no roosters.

So we have moved, lock stock n chicken coop. The girls found it all a bit confusing, and are settling into the new garden slowly, I had to cut their coop in half to transport it, and then realised it was far too big for them, now that there is only four left, so I just reconstructed the coop half the size. We didn’t give them their afternoon feed to make it easier to  catch them when we moved,using the food as a lure to the box, it worked just like you see in the cartoons.

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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

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.

Moulting or Molting’s Over

Hi there, well the hens have all but finished renewing their feathers, save for a few small ones here and there. By my calculations, it took about 6 weeks. Only Renee, the first one to start the process, has gone back to laying eggs. I have noticed an attack of scaley mite of 3 of the girls feet, it has gone quite far on one of them as I failed to noticed it sooner.

 Hopefully remedied with the homemade  cure,1 part turps 2 parts linseed oil, and applied with a stiff brush, an old toothbrush is ideal, coat liberally over boths legs of the bird, of the effected and non effected areas.

Winter is closing in here in New Zealand, so I have been checking around the run and coop for leaks, and patching up a few holes, just a

99% complete, just some finishing touches, it's no master piece i know.

 general maintainence, in an effort to keep the hens a little warmer on these colder night, I don’t go as far as putting any heating in their coop, I have seen some coops on the internet that look palacial, resembling a country retreat, I’m afraid my hens have to contend with a home made shed.

A Happy New Year

Hi and a happy new year to those following the christian calender, or gregorian as it’s refered to, I hope all went well with the start to the new decade. The hens have started 2010 contained finally, it seems, in my patchwork run made of wire, bamboo, string and pieces of pallet wood.

Renee our Light Sussex has seen the new decade in still sitting on the eggs that will never hatch, yesterday when I removed the nest box to change the hay, she went back into the coop, saw that the box was gone, and then came back out to look at the coop,  then went back in to check again, like she was checking if she had the right house, on the second visit convinced she was in the right coop, she just sat on the floor where the nest box had been.

Good fortunes in the new year..

Camp Tenko on Full Lockdown!

As some of you may have read on the chicken update page, the girls have been locked up. Our very patient neighbour came  to the door this week and said something had to be done about the hens, they had eaten all his silvet beet (spinach like), not to mention the droppings left around his property, I’d say they have been going over to his garden for a good ten months or more. 

 Camp Tenko on full Lockdown

Tenko for chickens

The chicken run had fallen into a bit of disrepair as it wasn’t really in use other than first thing in the morning at last thing in the evening. So when the hens were put back in with the gate shut, they soon found holes in the bamboo fence big enough to get through, which was helpful to me for patching up the right places, it was a bit of a process, patch up one hole and wait for them to find the next way out. They made quite and effort in one case pulling back the wire fencing in one corner and wriggling under it, once that had been repaired they then searched for the next chink in the fence. After two hours of this, it seemed like I had found all the ways out, only to get up the next morning to find them all out, they had pushed the wire on the gate out at the bottom and crawled underneath it,  honestly they make David Blaine look like an amateur, that’s David Blaine now not David Bain, don’t what to get those two mixed up.

After day two of observing them escape and patching the gaps, they seem to be contained, however they are intent on escape, so I imagine I will ahve futher work to do yet, well it’s hard to see them locked up in a space about one twentieth of what they have gotten used to. As I type this Nancy has escaped, she just wants to get to the old nest which is at the front of the house.

The others seem ok about laying their eggs in the new nest areas I have provided for them, mainly though they look a bit bored in the run, I have been trying to find things to put in the run to keep them occupied, yesterday a put a grapefruit in for them, it was amusing to watch them peck at it, then shake their heads, simularly to a child given something bitter for the first time, but they went back for more, with the same result, which made me wonder about their memory time frame.

Hopefully they will get used to their new situation and so will we, it will benefit us in the long run too, as they would eat our vegetables too and the mess they leave around the house is undesirable, the garden should get a chance to recover from the constant pecking from the hens, maybe we can get some kind of lawn happening at the back now. I sign off  heavy hearted.

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion.

Hi there reader, well as tomorrow I leave for the UK, for 4 weeks, I have been getting everything in order, the feeder is working well, although as it’s outside the coop, it’s feeding half the suburbs sparrow population too, which is a bit disconcerting, I think I should move it into the coop, although it may be a bit cramped, it would stop the possible disease threat from the sparrows and stop them eating the feed too.

The chicken minder came around yesterday, he’s a friend Noel who happens to be Welsh, and has a slight fear of hens, as a boy his mother had 200 hens or more on the allotments, I think the flock all rushing towards him as a boy scared him so much it has stayed with him. Hopefully this much smaller and quieter hens encounter will help him overcome any woes. I assured him that the girls will run away from him, as they do with us, unless you have food in your hands.

This is the longest time we will have been away from the hens, to be honest there is a part of me that is worried for them, but the most part knows they’ll be able to scrounge of the neighbours if  it comes to the worst . So I’ve cleaned out the coop, scrubbed down the decks, stocked up with 40kgs of pellets, everything is, as they used to say, in ship shape , and Bristol fashion.