🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

My new chicken coop Episode 7 - Finally finished & the big move on 20th Dec 2012

Even though the actual work days on my new chicken coop was only 15 days, it took 2 months to finish - if it wasn't raining, the builder never pitched or there was a delay in the delivery of building materials. And, of course, Saturdays and Sundays in between when the builders didn't work.

But at last the coop was finished and Artemis and the girls could move in!

Early Thursday morning on the 20th December 2012, as soon as the girls were out in the garden, we moved in and broke down the old little coop - leaving a small, but obvious empty patch in the corner of the run. I wondered what the girls were gonna think of that when they returned to the coop late-afternoon!

I got Chrissie, my gardener, to select a few over-crowded Kniphofias (Red Hot Pokers) and Marigolds from the garden and we put in a few just to get the garden going.

First to go in was some straw bedding for the floor and nesting boxes, followed by the roosts. I put in two roosts at opposite ends of the room just in case there was some fighting, as everybody always wants to be right on the top rung.

As my day progressed, carrying in decorating items, a few of the girls popped in to see what was going on. Kiep, being the alpha-hen, was the first to inspect everything. She gave all the nest boxes a once-over and promptly settled into one of the top nest boxes which, to this day, is her favourite laying place, and beware anybody that dares to occupy it when she needs to do her business!

Hettie and Micky were next to come and have a peek, followed by Snooky and it wasn't long before they joined Kiep, also in the top next boxes.

Some Marigold and Nasturtium pot-pourri on the floor to keep insects at bay - stepping on this releases a lovely fragrance.

Evening time, with everybody getting ready for bed, was quite hilarious! First of all they milled around for a bit, but Artemis soon escorted them into the coop as dusk rolled in and with no old coop to return to. Everybody had a go at every rung of the ladder, waiting for Artemis to settle down and set the trend.

Positions kept on changing as everybody was josstling for the best roost.

Finally Artemis started ascending the ladder - he's such a gentleman, always giving the ladies first choice!

The front window from the outside - we used chicken wire for security, securing the wire with a wooden frame

The front window from the inside, looking out onto the garden. I placed a shelf in front of this window and if I'm a bit late in opening in the mornings, you will find two or three of the girls on the shelf, anxiously peering out to see when I'm coming.

A little duck and a 'peace' sign, ready to go up on the wall somewhere.

An old chandelier will supply lighting. We haven't laid on electricity to the coop yet, I'm having second thoughts, I've read so much about accidents in a coop with electricity that the chandelier might just stay as a decoration. I also put up one of my paintings of Mr. Chook, who no longer is with me, in poster form.

An old framed painting of some chickens adorns the wall above the roost.

Close-up of the chicken painting 

I still have lots more decorating to do - I want to put some curtains in front of all the next boxes for privacy - chooks just LOVE privacy when they're laying their eggs!

Image from "Fresh Eggs Daily"

A window flower box would also not be amiss!

The garden in the run is coming along nicely, the Kniphofias have taken well and so has the Zebra grass. 

The new coop is situated right next to my bathroom garden (that's the Wild Olive tree in my garden sticking out behind the coop's roof), so it's close enough for me to hear if anything should happen in the coop. The steel door closes snugly at night and enough air can circulate from the mesh-covered window openings. A safe haven against predators and the elements for my chooks!

Well, there you have it! But nothing is ever finished and this on-going project will keep me busy for a long time to come still

Like for instance this - how sweet is this?! 


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My new chicken coop Episode 6 - Days 12 - 15

Day 12 - Monday morning, and the girls were eagerly waiting to enter the garden. I fed them, opened the gate and excitedly thought that today was the day the screed for the floor was going to be done! Tomorrow we could start painting and then the girls could move in! The time was nigh!

At the end of Day 12, the floor was done and we were just waiting for it to dry so that the painting could start.

 Day 12

Day 12

Day 12 - floor finished

Tuesday Day 13 and the painting started inside

Day 13

 Early on Wednesday, Day 14, Solomon started painting the outside

 Day 14

 Day 14

Day 14 - The painting of the outside of the coop was finished and the workers ended the day by cleaning up, removing all their tools and now the rest was up to me!

Thursday, Day 15 - I was up bright and early and started preparing the inside for the girls, as I would like them to move in before the weekend. I prepared the nest boxes, filling them with some lovely fresh grass while Solly constructed a roost for me.

 Day 15 - the new roost with fresh grass underneath to catch droppings

 Day 15

Day 15 - Yesterday Solomon finished with the outside painting quite early, so I asked him to construct a divider wall at the one end of the coop as I needed some space to house tools, buckets, food and the like.

End of Thursday, Day 15, and tomorrow is the big move. I can hardly wait! See you soon with the last episode!


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Finally! Indian Ringneck up-date

Ever since I spotted the Indian Ringneck parrot in my garden on the 17th December 2014, FINALLY he has condescended to visit one of my bird feeders where I've regularly been putting some sunflower seeds, apples and peanuts for him, all to no avail. Then, yesterday, as I did my usual rounds, whistling and calling as usual and filling one of the feeders especially for him, as soon as I got back to the house, he flew down and greedily started devouring the seeds. Oh my, what a sight! I can't even begin to imagine why now, after two and a half months, but maybe, as winter nears and all the fruit and berry trees are empty, he was hungry.

I quickly rushed to get the camera but didn't go too close as I was scared I would disturb him.

He fed for quite a while and when he was finished, he retreated to his favourite perch, preening and cleaning with the best toothpick in the world, one of his toe nails!

I'm particularly pleased that he seems to have settled back into my garden because, when he arrived here in December, he seemed to be fairly tame, not minding me moving around under his perch at all. Then, suddenly, a couple of weeks later, he disappeared for a few days and when he came back he was extremely skittish and afraid, retreating right to the top of the tree every time he saw me, even flying away across the road into the blue gum bush. All I can think is that he must have had a scary experience, maybe somebody tried to catch him, but whatever happened, it left him wary and wild. But it seems my patience over the past two months has paid off and he slowly seems to be gaining his confidence back again.



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