Saturday, July 29, 2006


Now I come to compare the two photographs of Molly below I notice (for the first time) that her pink bits around her eyes and ears are much brighter in colour too. I think this is a good sign (but really I don't know what I'm talking about!).

Molly's beak fixed

....that either she's filed it herself (on the patio slabs?!) or the upper part of the beak has grown to match the lower part.

I did wonder whether it was just the way that beaks grow (given that she's younger than the others) but friends with chicken knowledge hadn't seen this beak feature before, so maybe not!

Anyway, one way or the other, the problem seems to have sorted itself out.

Molly's funny beak

When Molly first arrived with us, she had a rather funny beak. The bottom part of the beak protruded further than the top part. This was really quite noticable and most people who saw her commented on it (poor Molly!).

We were contemplating having a go at filing the bottom bit down in case it inhibited her ability to eat. However, the other day, I noticed.....

Kiev's improved headgear

Today she is looking a lot more healthy with a larger, brighter (more red coloured) comb showing none of the pock marks that used to be present.

The comb of a healthy chicken (acording to my Chicken Health Encyclopedia - don't laugh!) should be bright full and waxy. I think this better describes Kiev's comb now than when she arrived.

Maybe that's why she's not so grumpy and 'savage' anymore!

I think the comb becomes more red when a hen is laying eggs.

Kiev's Comb

When Kiev came to us, her comb (the pink/red wobbly bit on the top of her head) was looking a little the worse for wear, as you can see, it was pale pink in colour and had black and white pock marks all over it.


Have noticed some changes in the Chickens in the time they have been with us. I think the changes are for the best but can't claim credit for them as we don't really know what we're doing! The notable changes are in Molly and Kiev.

Tight knit

The chickens seem to have dispensed with the bickering and violence that helped them establish the pecking order and are now a tight knit team. It's not a very large garden but they definitely 'hang out' together, where you find one, you find them all (with the exception of laying time, when they go off and do their thing).

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Auto door

So here it is, an automatic door raising/lowering system for the Hen Coop. We purchased this little gem on E-bay. It generally fits above the door but as we didn't have the space to fit it there, we had to come up with a diverting system as shown (quick trip to chandlers to ge the pulleys!).

This seems to work really well. It has a light sensor in it and the door opens some time in the morning (quite early I think, when it gets light) and closes at some time around 10pm. It is a really quiet and slow motion and the Chickens seem to be perfectly happy with it.

Hasten to add that this is not because we're too lazy to open and close it manually each day, we're thinking of weekends away!

Little Deuce Coop

This weekend Alan fitted the latest (and hopefully final!) modification to the Hen Coop.

As you can see, Leia was acting as Forhen on the project, making sure everything was carried out to the correct standards!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

BBC Radio 2 & chickens

I am informed by a very reliable source that chickens who listen to Radio 2 lay more eggs........I have searched on-line for verification of this fact but as yet have been unsuccessful. During the search though, I came across someone who claimed they had a chicken that had layed 7 eggs in one day!!! (those chickens must have been waking up with Sarah Green and going to bed long past Chris Evans - what's he doing on Radio 2 anyway?!). I thought they could only lay one egg a day (due to length of time it took to produce one) but a more credible website says they can lay 1-2 a day. Will have to look into this further.....

22nd century coop...

Our next coop modification will be a bit more sophisticated....

Modifications to coop

It has been very hot and sunny recently and aparently chickens don't cope too well with heat.

When we're out, the chickens are confined to the coop and run.

Have therefore installed a few metal hooks around the roof of the run so that we can put an old blind (found in shed) up on the appropraite side, (depending on location of run and sun) and save poor chooks from excessive sun/heat.

New perch for fat Oprington

I think I previously mentioned that we've never seen Kiev sit on a perch and wondered if it was because they were too high (as she is so fat she probably can't jump that high).

Have checked on chicken forums and aparently lots of Orpingtons don't perch, so not too bothered. However, thought we would offer Kiev a lower option (in fact it couldn't really get any lower!). Haven't seen her using it yet, but judging by the pile of poo underneath, somebody is!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cheeky Molly!

Came out of the study into the lounge tonight (Al was reading at the other end of the lounge) to find myself face to face (so to speak) with Molly who had obviously decided she wanted to check out what goes on inside the big brick hen coop. I shot a glance at Al who was still engrosed in book (phew!) and silently sort of herded Molly out of the back door, back into the garden. I thought Molly and I had got away with this but when I turned round, Al was peering round the corner with a big grin on his face!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Can now comment....

Have had quite a few comments from people who have tried to leave a comment on the blog but were put off by a long and tedious registering process. Using Blogger at work today, I have just found out that this is a setting that I can alter. I have therefore opened comments up to all and sundry, so please feel free to leave a comment (nothing rude please!).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Words of wisdom #1 from Al

"How can such small chickens do such big poos?!"

Friday, July 07, 2006

Three's a crowd!

Do you think that is a look of embarrassment or disproval on Molly's face?

I should mention that it was raining a little bit outside, the chickens normally give each other a little privacy at laying time.

Maybe Kiev was asking Leia for a few tips?

Up close and personal

As mentioned previously, the chickens have a nest box each. When we found two eggs in one nest box I had (perhaps stupidly!) assumed that one chicken had layed an egg and later, another chicken had come and layed an egg in the same nest box. However, having seen Kiev and Leia sharing a nest box at laying time today, I now wonder!

Actually, only one egg was layed in this box, the other egg was in the other end nest box.

Am starting to feel like poultry paparazzi, hangining around outside coop door and siezing perfect opportunity for 'two in a nest box romp' photographs! Perhaps I should seek help!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Two eggs!

Guess what? Today there were two eggs in the nest box!

Apparently it takes 25 hours for a chicken to lay an egg, so one chicken can not lay 2 eggs in the same day.

We are pretty sure that it is Kiev who layed this one as Molly is still a bit young (we think).

This egg (lower one in picture) looked different to any we have had previously in that it is slightly speckled.

Interesting to note that even though they have enough for a nest box each (they are very spoilt chickens as the suggested ratio is one nest box for 3 chickens!), they chose to lay their eggs in the same nest box.

Can't help wondering if Kiev knew what she was about to do or just felt 'a bit strange'......

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Guinness explores

When we clean the coop out at the weekend, the whole family likes to get involved!

I don't think the chickens saw him in there!


Friends Julie & Steve came to visit chickens this evening and brought a prezzie for Abi.

I'll bet you didn't know that you could get egg mashers (especially ones that look like this)! Isn't it fab?!

Just Leia laying

No, we're pretty sure that Leia is the only one laying eggs. Have noticed that Kiev never sits on the perch, posted this fact on to chicken forum and it seems that most Orpingtons don't sit on perches (they're probably too fat to get on them or too lazy to be bothered!).