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.

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.

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.

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?'

New Nest Found

Hi there readers, today started with leaving the girls locked up til 10am, by then they are gagging to lay their eggs. It sort of resembles a greyhound race when I open the front door of the coop, they scramble for a few bits of feed, then it’s off to lay, Daphne is still laying in the old spot, whereas Gloria and Daisy seem to be going next door.

The two secret layers split up in what looked like some kind of diversionary tactic, they went in totally opposite directions, but then both ended up in Mani’s garden to the right of our place, Gloria’s nest was quite easy to find as she made her new nest just on the other side of the bamboo fence, and I was able to reach over and grab the eggs, however Daisy seems to be a bit more secretive, plus she tends to lay in the afternoon, so it’s a bit hard to watch them all day. I followed her into next door, but then found she was just stratching away in their compost heap,, no nest to be seen.

I can only think they must be annoyed by the fact that a new person is taking their eggs, because this has happened both times we have been away, maybe they put up with us taking their eggs, but when they see Terry taking them aswell, they just think , ‘ oh right that’s it, now another geezer is robbing our eggs aswell, i’m moving ‘.

So alls well, we found four eggs in Gloria’s new nest, left 1 behind ofcourse, so she won’t move again, still to find Daisy’s new spot, only a matter of time.

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.