Molting Hens

Hi there keepers of the chicken, we have a serious molting situation going on here,  3 of the shavers are losing their feathers, good old Gloria is the only one still laying, even if it is in next door’s garden, they are ok about me retrieveing the eggs, and of course I give them an eggs or two now and again. Thankfully Manualla has just started to lay, the cutest little white eggs, yesterdays one was almost perfectly round, like a giant white gobstopper, ( confectionary from uk childhood).

Renee our newest  recruit, looks like she was laying when we got her, but has stopped in the new enviroment, hopefully she will resume normal service soon. The coop le grande is almost finished, but that dreaded thing called work, has got in the way again of my plans and endeavours.

Thanks for tuning back into the chickenkeeper, hopefully I too have resumed normal service.

Maria could be a Manuel

Hi there keepers, the more I look at Maria, our Minorca ‘hen’, the more I think she looks like a rooster, however I’ve not had this breed before and so it’s hard to tell, others have commented on her sexuality before from a photo I posted.

She has got rather long in the leg and doesn’t seem to have much weight about her, and they are a heavy bird, yet she is still young, so it could just be that she hasn’t put the weight on yet, she/he does tend to frame up alot to the other chicks, but then runs a mile if the bigger girls come any where near, not to mention the very entertaining butterfly incident, scared of a butterfly, not roosters surely.

The breeder reakoned it was a she, and she has been breeding for many many years so I guess she knows, also she did say if any turned out to be roosters she would happily swap it for a hen, which is nice of her, but what just dawned on me yesterday, is that if Maria is a Manuel, and we have to take it back, that means getting a new bird, which won’t be freinds with any of the birds, at least the 3 new ones have each other for company and protection from the shavers, but it will be a nightmare trying to introduce another new bird to the flock.

Putting the new birds in the Run

Hi there reader,



Today I thought I would give Maria, our Minorca hen, a run with the big girls, as she is nearly the same size as them now, well feathers  wise, her body doesn’t have much weight about it at the moment, she will grow to be quite a bit larger than the shavers, so we’re hoping she’ll be able to cope with the aggressive nature of the shaver.

She didn’t cope to well today though, in hindsight it was a bad idea, as her first experience with the shavers has been, well , not ideal, as in they chased her around the run until they had her in a corner, then stood there looking menacing, frightening the poor wits out of Maria. She stood her ground with beak ajar in that defensive posture, but didn’t move for 5mins, so I thought it best to remove her back to the brooder.

Ofcourse the other angle which slipped my mind in my eagerness to mixed the birds in together, is that if Maria should pick up any little illness from the big girls, and then I put her back into the brooder with the young ones, she could past it on to them. As they are still very young their immune system isn’t quite ready for battle yet. Hopefully no damage done.


Today Sunday the 14th of September 2008,  we purchased our first chickens, 3 brown shavers from a lovely lady in Massey , West Auckland, sunbathersNew Zealand. We keep them in our home built coop, made from bits and pieces around the house, but had to buy new chicken wire from hardware shop. Wood shavings and dry grass clippings seem to make for nesting materials. A run was constructed from some bamboo, and left over chicken wire from the coop, which gives them in total approximately  50sq/ft, plenty for 3 hens.

We have named them Nancy, Gloria and Daphne, Nancy seems to be the top hen, Gloria is in the middle, and Daphne the reserved type. There transition to their new home in New Lynn, was easier than we thought it would be, they seem to have settled in nicely.

They took themselves off to roost, when it got dark. So we await with anticipation, will we have our first home- laid egg, in the morning.

We shall keep you updated with our urban chicken run.



15th Sept 2008

No egg, didn’t really expect 1 on the first day, after all, they have been put into a dark box, then driven through the waitakere’s twisting roads, car sickness perhaps, they definately made a mess in the bottom of the box, but i don’t think it was vommit. They were scared obviously. Chicken equivilant of being kidnapped. They all survived the first night, only came under threat by a curious cat, but when they charge the fence towards it, the cat soon ran off. I think Brown Shavers can hold there own in a cat fight.

Now they live in a pen, Guantanamo for chickens, compared to where they were. I’m sure in time eggs will come, that’s what hens do, lay eggs. So once they’re are comfortble in their new surroundings i’m sure we’ll get an egg.



16th Sept 2008

Have been away most of the day, saw the ladies in the morning , all well, had managed to find their way through my security net, obviously just a net then really. By the time time i got home from work they had put themselves to bed. Still no egg.

 the chickenkeeper

14th October 2008

Well so much has happened, firstly, there are two new hens in the run, Daisy and Nellie.

This has caused more upheavel, Nancy the top hen has had to lay the law down, again, but that’s all she seems to do, she spends so much time fussing and bossing, but has not to my knowledge layed one egg.

However, the four other ladies, are laying regularly now, Gloria by far lays the most perfectly shaped eggs, Daphne has been laying in secret, and has illuded me until today, what a bounty three eggs in the secret ( not anymore) nesting spot. Daisy and Nellie seem to be intermitent with their laying, probably depends on how much they get picked on during the morning, by the barren Nancy.

On the subject of escape, both Daisy and Nellie seem to be the leaders in this field, necessity, stops them being attacked by Nancy. 

It’s been one month or four weeks now, and i think they all know their names now, whether they actually know their names i don’t know, but they definately react to them, Nancy has a quick reaction to the word stick, and an even quicker one when she see me with a stick in hand, as i use a piece of bamboo as a peacekeeper, nothing cruel, just a tap on the bottom, if fact i only had to do it once, now when she see me with it, she’s off, like a roadrunner. beep! beep!.

06th November

Well as some of you may have read in the Running around like a Chicken post, they have had me on a wild, well chicken chase i suppose, ( shaking fist at the hens), even though i had retrieved all the girls before going to pick up my son from school, he still had to dropped at the corner to get Nellie, who was spotted under a bush on the way down the road, i fear all of these excursions off the property and across roads is going to end badly.

Between that and a sore head from last nights activities, there wasn’t much work done on the new coop, i did spot another pallet waiting to be rescued around the corner today, which will give me enough to finish the coop. Daphne has already taken to sitting in there, even though it only has half a roof at present. I feel however that i will need to focus on the fence situation, which will give me back all the time i spend retrieving them from the surrounding neighbourhood. Fortunately, i have a large stock of bamboo growing in the garden, which will i can hopefully weave/fashion into a fence, i shall let it be organic in it’s design.


01 MAY 2009

Hi there keepers, well I have just found this post again after several months, and realised due to the title people might be coming here looking for updates, or see the date of the last post, sometime in Sept 2008 ( before this one) and think that nothings going on,

I started this page when the blog was in it’s infancy, I so was I when it came to blogging, as regulars will know, I now post on the home page, and put various posts in the catergories like D.I.Y. Corner.

So Welcome to my Chicken Run, please have a look on home page for the lastest.