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).
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.
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!