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?

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Nikki News: Day One

So yesterday was the day we had been waiting for, for so long “Nikki Day”!

Everyone was up extra early for a weekend, we had breakfast and set of for the Hall Green Retired Greyhound Trust  . When we got there it was very busy, people and greyhounds everywhere 😀 We filled in the paperwork and then they bought out Nikki! It was so good to see her again, like last time she was a little bit nervous, but that’s to be expected with 5 excited faces all wanting to stroke her! We had Nikki weighed and she is 29kg, heavier than both J and A, we also picked out two coats for her, a waterproof summer one and a nice cosy winter one 😀 Then it was time to say goodbye and get Nikki in the car for the journey home.

Nikki seemed to love the car and was having a good look at everything going and resting her head on the boys shoulders!

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On the way home we stopped at Baggeridge Country Park for a walk, it turned out to be a very short walk as there was a storm coming and Nikki was a bit spooked by the thunder so we thought it best to get her home. On the way back to the car she was sniffed by a big Beagle who was of their lead, she wasn’t too keen but was very good and just stood still until the other dogs owner came and got him!

When we arrived home we took Nikki into the back garden first and she went to the toilet on the grass straight away! We were very pleased and gave her lots of fuss. Next we introduced her to the chickens, but she didn’t seem very interested, although there was a lot of unsettled clucking in the chicken run! Then back inside and we gave her a tour of her new home. The toys we have bought were a huge hit especially a big pink squeaky strawberry cake, after lots of squeaking it Nikki decided to try out her new bed and seemed to approve of that as well. Nikki was definitely quite nervous but was still very friendly and was enjoy fuss and cuddles. We had a visit from her new Nanny and Grandad and she got up to greet them and have more fuss!

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After a busy afternoon of meeting new people and learning how much fun toys are that squeak Nikki had a well earned nap whilst we ate our dinner, unfortunately she didn’t seem to want any dinner herself, but we were told to expect this on the first day.

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After dinner Nikki was back up and about so we decided to take her for a quick walk (as it looked like rain) in her smart new blue raincoat (no photos as my battery went after taking too many photos). Walking on pavements next to busy roads is an obvious new thing for Nikki and she was glued to my side for all of the walk, I think it is going to take a lot of reassurance until she gets used to it.

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We came home and put the boys to bed and had a lovely chilled out evening with Nikki, I expected her to be scared of the television, but after her initial bemusement she really didn’t take much notice.

At bedtime a huge part of my wanted to take her upstairs, as I didn’t want to leave her alone, but I managed to hold back and we left her cosied up on her own bed downstairs and went up to bed, fully expecting to be woken up by her in the night.

At 06.30 this morning we both woke up and hurried downstairs to a fast asleep Nikki and no mess!  She woke up very happy and we let her out for the toilet and were so proud that she had, had no accidents over night 😀 So far today Nikki is a different dog, much more happy and lots of tail wagging and following us around from room to room. Breakfast of her greyhound food mixed with sardines was a huge hit and disappeared in seconds.

Our plan today is to meet up with Nikki’s new cousin Dylan dog for a nice walk in the park. We are looking forward to seeing them together again as Dylan helped us choose Nikki when we first went to Hall Green RGT and they seemed to really get on well together 😀

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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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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