Chicken Day

I have been awake since 5am this morning, because today was the big day the I collected my chickens. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so excited and have been all day.

I started working alone on the coop at about 0630, just doing the finishing touches, all easy and not too taxing stuff. I had to make sure that everything was secure, I put on a little door with a catch to secure them in the house at night, boarded up some gaps, and spread the straw around their house and run. I managed to get all of that done by 0830, which is when Adam was supposed to turn up to help finish off the wire on the last 3 panels. By 0850, I started getting worried and gave him a ring. He had slept in, and was suffering from a big night on the town. But like a trooper, he jumped on his bike and rode here, arriving at about 0930. We got stuck into the wire for the roof, which we put on the outside of the frame, in case any predator tried to jump through it.

Kim then called us in for a full English breakfast, which as great, and I hoed it down. After a nice cup of Earl Grey, it was back to work. We had two panels to go, which we finished in about an hour, so by about 1100, the chicken coop was finally finished. Thank goodness for that. Talk about finishing just in time! Here is the final result and the proud workers (plus the dog).

A chook cam shot of in the house. Note the two nesting boxes at the back. The ladder is their roost, if they so choose to use it.

The run and house with feeder.

A view from the front.

And the proud workers! Yes, I have had a beard trim, and Adam is trying to grow a goatee.

We were scheduled to pick up the chooks from New Gisborne at 1400, so we had another cuppa and relaxed a bit. I was so very proud of the work, I just couldn’t stop staring at the coop. To see the completion of a long project is a very rewarding thing indeed.

We departed at 1320 and Adam, Pam and I grabbed two big cardboard boxes, we jumped in the Hybrid and took a lovely trip towards Mt Macedon. We arrived at Sue’s place, which was a huge bush block, and Sue was waiting with her kids at the main gate. She took us down to the chicken houses, where there were about 50 chooks of different breads. They were all very friendly and inquisitive and we nearly had more chooks than we bargained for, because they surrounded the car! Sue showed us the ISA browns that we asked for, and I picked 4 hens that had very distinct and different markings. That way, we could tell them all apart, and give them names. I paid $17 each for them, and two of them started laying yesterday, so we are just at point of lay. We had a tour of the block, and then said our goodbyes, with the chooks safely in boxes tucked tightly into the boot of the car to stop them from moving. I took it easy on the way home, so as not to upset them, and we didn’t hear a squawk out of them all the way home.

So allow me to introduce the girls to you. Here is a group shot of all four, scratching around in their new home.

This hen is Edwina. She is wearing a scarf of feathers!


This hen is Bunty (in front of shot). She is a wide girl.

Here is Polly. She was orignally called Pocahontas, but we shortened it to Polly because Pam wanted to call her Molly, and Megan wanted to name her Pocahontas!

And finally, allow me to introduce Ginger, who is a bit shy. I think it is her, as they all look the same to me.

They had their first dust bath after about 3 hours of scratching around, with Butch winding them up by trying to round them up. Here is Polly, Bunty, and Edwina having their dust bath.


Ginger was scared of Butch, and stayed in her house for quite a while. After a few hours, none of the chickens gave two hoots about the dog, and must have figured out that he couldn’t get to them. Butch did try and get into the cage, and Adam had to reinforce the wire with some more fence staples. I wish I had put the wire on the outside of the frame! I thought the chickens were going to be noisy, but they were nothing in comparison to Butch and his excitement.

The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to get the dog to stop barking at the hens, and in the end Kim had to resort to squirting Butch with a spray bottle of water. He soon got the message and calmed down. The girls figured out where their feed and water was, and demolished the few weeds that were growing in their run. I threw in some nasturtium and they got stuck into that as well. Near sunset their moods began to change, and they started to get docile. Bunty decided to retire for the night, and climbed the ramp and sat in the doorway, so that the other hens couldn’t get in. They started making some very loud noises, and obviously were distressed at Buntys choice of sleeping arrangements, so I had to step in and sort it all out, shoo Bunty out the way, and show the other girls how to get into the house. Then I locked the catch on their little door, and waited a few minutes before having a peek from the nesting box end. They were all snuggled together on the floor of the house, and very, very quiet. Asleep at last.

What a day, and one I shall remember fondly for a very long time. I have not laughed so hard and for so long in quite a while. Laughter certainly is the best medicine, and it felt just like Christmas as a child. Everyone else in the family were just as excited, and Kim told me so many times that she was very proud of me, and that she shouldn’t have been so resistant against getting hens over a year ago. I forgive you honey, we made it after a long wait!

Their antics are to be seen to be believed, especially when Edwina pecked Butch on the nose. Payback is a bitch, Butch!

We also took some video that I will process in tomorrow morning and make a small movie out of the various clips. Stay tuned for Chook TV!

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Comments

  1. says

    Sensational Gavin! I love your chookie house, and I’m so jealous of your gorgeous new girls. Fingers crossed that they are all laying well for you soon :-)

    Cheers, Julie

  2. Anonymous says

    the girls look great and look like they have settled in nicely. About the comment about the lean green machine I agree the green and machine bit but Im not sure about the lean bit anyway love to all MUM

  3. Anonymous says

    Although the excitment of gettng your chooks was high, I was very impressed at how you felt about your new girls. But naming what you did is so not in the tradition of the farming life. Their names should be things like fricasee, roast, stew and/or parmingana. LOL They will behave much better than the daughters and they will provide you with eggs as well. And not one grumble will be forthcoming. If only we could do with our kids what we do wth our pets. Lock them up OUTSIDE. Give them a wink for me. Stacey.

  4. Anonymous says

    Gavin, please forgive me for being a tad critical, The only problem is the ladder, chooks need a flat piece of timber to perch on, like a piece of 3X4 timber. Their feet are not designed to grip a round perch. They squat on their perch with their feet flat for maximum comfort, unlike a bird that flies and perches in a tree, they are ground dwellers. Otherwise it all looks AOK !!
    Enjoy the taste of home grown eggs, they will be laying before you know it

  5. says

    Thanks everyone.

    Kim, Pam, Ben, and I have spent the day bird watching chickens. It is better than going to the movies and this Real Life lark is a far better game than any other game I have played so far!

    Also, I did swap out the roost in the house this morning, with a bit of 4×2 wood with rounded edges. I found them all on the floor of their house this morning, so figured out that the ladder was not working as it should. Thanks anyway Anonymous for the tip.

    They have had a great day, settling in well, and Butch has calmed right down and accepted the fact that the chooks are here for good. They all have distinct personalities, and I shall write another post about them when I figure out who is doing what!

    Gav

  6. says

    Looks great. I must say watching the chooks with a glass of wine in hand is a very nice way to pass an hour!last time i had chooks i had 2whippets and the chooks drove them NUTS, subsequently the dogs then drove the neighbours nuts. Well done you guys.

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