News from the coop: Entertainment!

The chickens were being very noisy girls yesterday, there were some birds flapping around  in the hedge next to them and they were responding with some very loud “Boc Boc Bocing!”. I usually find a nice treat distracts them and quietens them down so set of to the fridge in search of chicken yumminess!

I found a cabbage which needed using and remembered I had read somewhere about hanging a whole cabbage up for chickens to peck at, so I thought I would give it a go.

First I used an apple corer to make a hole through the top of the cabbage:

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Then I used a spare chain (which I used to hang the water from until they started sitting on it and tipping it!) and threaded it through the hole:

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Initially the girls ran off and hid as there appeared to be a big purple alien hovering in their run! Then I broke off a bit of the cabbage so they could taste it and Henrietta had a closer look to see what it was…..then ran off.

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I left them to it for a while and then when I returned there was an absolutely frenzy going on, chicken and cabbage flying about everywhere and half of the cabbage had been eaten!!

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I am now trying to thing of other things I can hang up for their entertainment! Any ideas?

News from the coop: “Squaaaaaaawk”

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We are so lucky our neighbours seem to like the “sounds of the countryside” that our hens are providing them with. Scramble our Amber Link has taken to making the loudest ever squarky/combined with goose type honking noise each morning when they have all finished laying! Very handy as we know when to go and collect the eggs but I can imagine it being quite loud and annoying if we have popped out as she goes on and on and it can be heard in the house!!!

Any one else have hens who do this???

 

News from the coop: A tour of 57a!

Well here we have a very much over due post showing 57a our new coop!

I mentioned in a previous post that we got a bargain playhouse and decided to convert it into a coop….J and A took it quite well and helped us with getting it all put together.

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It all went very smoothly. The playhouse was easy to put together and all we needed to do then was add perches, wire mesh at the windows, cut a hole for their door and add a sliding door.

We had all of the additional materials and used an ikea shelf for the laying boxes! All in all it cost just under £100 for a 4ft x 4ft coop.

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I painted it Willow green and cream and couldn’t resist fairy lights around the roof! Henrietta was the first to inspect it and they all love it! So much more room than they had before, which will be much needed come winter when they spend more time in there.

I am really pleased with the signs I made, I think they are a nice finishing touch.

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Next job to sort out the small coop (57b) for the new bantams 🙂

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Photography: #lowdownground

I often take part in the instagram weekend hashtag projects as I enjoy the challenge. This weekend I have really enjoyed the #lowdownground one which meant turning my phone upside down and putting it on the ground mostly in the coop! I love the results:

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Scramble as curious as ever.

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Bottoms up!

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A lovely blue sky for a change 🙂

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In the Kitchen: The worlds quickest pudding!

Yesterday was spent looking at bantams! We found a lovely breeder who had a huge selection of bantams for sale. We weren’t going to buy, just ask questions and try and choose a breed so as in a month or so we can get some. We didn’t manage to choose though as we loved them all. I think my very favorite were the Lavendar Pekins, but there was a hybrid breed there that were lovely too.

We need to get a roof put on our run and get some sand and also brick around it to fox proof it.

Anyway, we ended up rushing back via the shops as we had nothing in suitable for dinner as we had big J with us and unlike J and A, he is a fussy eater! I got ingredients for a cottage pie and made it while my dad was here so I never considered pudding as I was distracted.

It was 7pm when we sat down to eat and I realised there was no pudding and the boys were all expecting something yummy! So I made a steamed fruit pudding….without steaming!

I got a small cassrrole pot and put a few handfuls of mixed frozen berries in the bottom (enough to cover the bottom) I then lightly sprinkled with caster sugar and a few tablespoons of strawberry jam – the exact amount would depend on your dish size, it needs to be enough to make a sauce with the fruit. Next I made a sponge mixture using 2 small eggs, 100g of flour, 100g caster sugar, 100g of butter and 50ml milk. I mixed all the sponge ingredients in a mixer until smooth and fluffy, then poured on top of the fruit.

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Then cook in the microwave for 5-10 mins until the sponge is firm and starting to come away from the sides of the dish. The exact time will vary depending of the dish used and the power of your microwave.

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This was a huge sucess with the boys they loved it! It was yummy served with custard 🙂

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Tutorial: How I made name signs…

I have lots of exciting photos of our new coop to share soon, but not until it is completely finished.

In the mean time I thought I would share with you the process of making the name signs. I am not neat enough to write free hand and wanted a different font for each hen.

I bought some blank plaques from Bluebell Woods ebay store, and painted them with two coats of the wood preservor which I used for the coop. I then used word and some fancy fonts to print off the hens names.

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I cut each name out into a rectangle and traced the letters on the reverse…I used thin paper, but if your paper was too thick you could hold it up to a window to trace.

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Next I taped the name onto the sign in exactly the place I wanted it and coloured over each letter pressing quite hard.

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I was left with a print of the name on the wood.

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Finally I went over the letters on the wood with a black paint marker (also from ebay).

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I am so pleased with the results! I have two more to make, plus a ‘Home Sweet Home’ sign to make. Then they can be hung up on the run.

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So much easier than attempting free hand!

I decided to finish off with a coat of spray varnish to protect the lettering. I am undecided whether or not to attach them individually to the run with wire, or to hang them from each other with either garden twine or chain. Final decision to be made tomorrow if it stops raining enough to go outside and see which looks best!

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News from the Coop: All Change!

Well today I purchased a new coop having only had the existing one 2 weeks!

I all honesty the one I have bought today wasnt exactly spur of the moment…we have been disappointed with the original one since it arrived and only kept it as the hens were due the next day and there was no time to change it. It would be perfect for two hens but we have four and want two more so it’s just not a long term option for us really.

So this is what we got:

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Yes its a place house but it was on offer and we have a plan to adapt it. Unfortunately due to problems in the store which took an eternity to sort out, we had no time to get our other items: 4 slabs, anti weed membrane, forest bark, timber for perches and door and 3 cans of woodstain!! Quite annoying as we both finished work early to get all this done in one go!

Oh well! At least now I can sit and have a good think about woodstain colours, I cannot believe there is so much choice. I plan to do the shed/coop/run all matching colours, either blue and cream or green and light purple I think.

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We only just got home in time to get the boys from the childminder, A was so excited as he had been on his first school trip!! He is only 3 and spent a full day at a farm and now wants a goat and a peacock 🙂 We will have to add them to the list forif we ever get our dream house in the countryside. He has gone to bed with a selection of their farmyard animals which I knitted for J’s 3rd birthday. Its nice to see them still playing with them after 3 yrs, especially as they took so long to make (Alan Dart pattern).

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If anyone in the west mids would like to buy a nearly new coop like this one:

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email me! boysandchickens@live.com. – actually we may keep it for Bantams or a rabbit! Exciting!

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Out in the garden: Weekend washout

I had big plans for the weekend, however due to rain not a lot got done.

On Saturday we took the boys to see the Olympic Torch relay and despite the rain we all enjoyed it, there was a lovely atmosphere.

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I loved the neon queen posters as well! Not sure if they had been put up for the torch or if they were left over from the jubilee?

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On Sunday afternoon we took the boys to their Nans and went to fetch some trees/bushes. We chose an apple tree, a plum tree and a loganberry bush. We came home and planted them behind the coop…I am regretting not buying a raspberry and blackcurrent bush as well now!

 

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They hens were very inwuisitive and looked like they couldn’t wait to get out and pinch all the berries!!!

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I am considering getting one of those omlet moveable fences to keep them away from the top part of the garden…does anyone have any experience with them? They are £99 so would like to hear some real life stories about pros and cons before buying!

Yesterday we had our first 4 egg day!! Clever girls 🙂

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I have ordered a few bits and pieces to decorate the coop and run so will update you all when they arrive.

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News from the Coop: A place for everything….

Today has been a tidy up day as far as the coop and run go. When we got the hens it was constant solid rain so we did the basics and made it fox proof and functional!

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The food and water were hung up with wire tied to the roof which was a bit if a pain, as taking it down at night took forever….I decided chain and clips would be best, but not cheap at £3 a metre as I needed 4 metres….plus clips….then in our local discount warehouse I got 2 hanging basket chains at a bargain 80p each…and they had the hooks on…I just unclipped them so they were a long chain. I had enough to do the food container, the water container and make a chain to clip the inner coop door open.

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The ground was getting boggy and muddy so we popped over to a lovely little local nursery on the edge of the forest and got a back of bark and layed it on the floor of the big run. The girls love it! They have been entertained all afternoon and it looks so much tidier out there.

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I still have plans to make it prettier on the outside but that will have to wait for another day.

Am now off to shred some paper as I have been doing a bit of research and apparently it is ok to use in the laying boxes as long as its changed every day…we are changing the sraw every day at the moment so it won’t make a difference to us and a good way to recycle our paper.

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Ooh! Those three eggs we got yesterday? Well two of them were double yokers!!!

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