Archive for November 26th, 2008

Moving the chickens

About a fortnight after I probably should have shifted them onto new ground, I finally got round to moving the chooks and their Eglu and Cube yesterday.

Spot the difference between old and new! 25 November 2008

Spot the difference between old and new! 25 November 2008

It’s harder than you might think. At mum’s, the hen house was attached to the side of her old aviaries which meant that they could come and and out of the house as they pleased but at night were restricted to a fully enclosed concrete run measuring about 15′ x 12′. So, whenever we rotated them onto fresh ground, they had to stay in the run until we were done. As this was a simple matter of opening one gate and closing another, it took a matter of seconds.

Moved the chooks, now got to move the houses - 25 November 2008

Moved the chooks, now got to move the houses - 25 November 2008

Now, however, they’re in an orchard, enclosed in a run using 50m of electric netting. Readjusting the run by a few feet is simple – you just pull up the stakes and put them down somewhere new. But a full scale move means distracting the chickens long enough to pull up the majority of the stakes and netting and move them to roughly where you want to go (making you you don’t wrap yourself around immovable objects like ancient apple trees), make sure they can’t get out and then shoo them towards the new grass. you then get a second window to move the bits of netting that haven’t yet been moved and to untangle the inevitable knots and chaos. When it’s set up nice and tight, move the Cube and Eglu to their new sites (if you’re smart, you will have put the end stakes somewhere handy so you can open and close the “gate”. If not, you’ve got to lift up the netting so they can go under it!), replace the roof, litter trays, water bowls, feeders etc and remember to open the doors if you closed them to stop the chickens “helping” as you shifted it back and forwards to just the right place.

All done! 25 November 2008

All done! 25 November 2008

It gets a little bit more complicated if you have a hen and chicks as they need somewhere safe to go while you move them about. Luckily, the move seems to have put the second Silkie off her sitting duties (helped by the fact that her egg ended up in the run and was stone cold by the time I found it) so I decided to move Mother Hen and chicks from the old wooden ark to the Eglu. This made their move very easy – I scooped up two of the chicks and carried them over, hoping the cats weren’t in earshot, then went back for Mother Hen and the remaining two. She was furious and has decided to make her point by making their nest right in the doorway…

What a silly place to make a nest! 25 November 2008

What a silly place to make a nest! 25 November 2008

Doesn't the proper nest look warm and cosy? Daft chicken! 25 November 2008

Doesn't the proper nest look warm and cosy? Daft chicken! 25 November 2008

Still, at least the chicks will be nice and toasty as they nestle right underneath her. So much so, that you have to be careful when you pick her up as at least one will plop back down to the ground after a few seconds of being in mid air!

The remaining three eggs didn’t hatch, which I’m quite pleased about, really, as four seems like the right number going into winter. And she’s such a good mum, showing them how to peck away at the bread I gave her as well as eating the grass!

The whole thing took a lot longer than I thought so I left the farm a bit later than anticipated. Which was fine, as for once I got to enjoy sunset from terra firma instead of behind the wheel of the car:

Sunset at the farm - 25 November 2008

Sunset at the farm - 25 November 2008

Six ‘interesting’ things

I’ve been tagged by Welshpurpletree to tell you six interesting things about my good self.

  1. I have three tattoos.
  2. My mum’s side of the family are ex-pats in Argentina. I believe the family history goes something like this: my great-grandmother’s grandfather and his brothers were told by their father that their ranch in the US wasn’t big enough to divide between all his sons after his death so he gave the youngest sons thousands of cattle and horses and told them to ride south. Some of the brothers made it as far as the northern parts of South America but my great(something) grandfather kept going until he hit the southern Atlantic Ocean. My great-grandmother was born and raised on the most southerly inhabited house in the world! Of course, this may just be something I misheard when I was a kid and have clung to ever since, but I think that’s the way it happened.
  3. I chopped off the top of my thumb when I was four and it never grew back properly.
  4. Since graduating from university eight years ago, I’ve never lived in the same property for more than 12 months.
  5. In that same period, I’ve had eight jobs, though four of them are / were different jobs for the same organisation / company.
  6. I used to have long hair. I mean long hair. Almost butt length. My friends were horrible and never told me to get it cut – even though old photos stand as proof that they really should have!

I tag ……………… anyone who fancies a go!