Thursday, April 26, 2007

Leia 'scape

When Abi and I arrived home today, we were in the lounge chatting when Abi's eyes became as large as dinner plates as she looked past me into the back garden shrieking "Leia, Leia, Leia!", pointing and jumping up and down. I was quite fearful of what I might see when I turned around. It turned out to be this:

After staring stupidly, glued to the spot, I did the next sensible thing ........ grabbed the camera to take a picture (Alan doesn't believe what these pesky chickens get up to when he's not here!).

There followed a breif altercation between Leia and myself comprising Leia looking defiantly at me (one eye at a time) and seemingly choosing which bit of our beautiful new lawn she was going to land on, while I danced from toe to toe in an attempt to achieve weightlessness on our newly laid turf, while simultaneously waving a wet suit boot (it was the only thing I had to hand!) at Leia in a bid to 'encourage' her back into Stalag Chicken. I am happy to say I prevailed.......this time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Without a perch to sit on....

Having deftly put the chickens to bed, Julie (hitherto to be known as 'The Chicken Consultant') then suggested that if we removed the outside perches, this might persuade The Girls to head inside for the night. We tried this today and Hey Presto! They have all taken themselves off to bed! (thanks Julie!)

All for one....

All three chickens are now staging a 'sleep out' protest, preferring to sit on the outside perch, rather than go inside the coop at dusk. As feared, this seems to be because the dreaded Red Mites are back, they are getting bitten during the night by the Red Mites and are therefore preferring to stay outside.

At the weekend we took the coop apart and got rid of the horrible little mites but the Chooks seem to need a bit more convincing and all three now need to be carried, bodily into the coop every night.

This weekend we had a couple of friends around who kindly offered to do the business and actually made a much smoother job of putting the chickens to bed than we do (they've got a bit of prior experience with chickens).

Relations deteriorating

Since fencing off the chickens to their own half of the garden, poultry/human relations have become somewhat strained, not to say frosty! Every time I am within eyesight of Molly she lets out an end-of-the-world type screech. With the lovely weather, I have been wearing open toed shoes and flip flops and now, every time I enter Stalag Chicken Run, Molly follows me round the run pecking violently at my toes! Today I had to fend her off with a plank of wood!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Big Fat Chook

Twice during the past week, rather than take herself to bed before the door closes as it gets dark, Kiev has perched on the high perch in the run and sat there like a huge feathered lump. On both occasions I have donned a pair of gloves and long sleves and lifted her off the perch and manhandled into the coop through the side door. Abi has a theory that Kiev is too fat to get in the door at the top of the ramp but she manages to get in to lay her eggs. This evening, I see Molly has decided to join her. I think they are cross about being fenced in and have chosen tonight for both of them to stay out because Alan is out and they think it will be amusing for me to deal with them on my own. Am beginning to feel like Mr Tweedy from 'Chicken Run', "those chickens are definitely up to something!"


This morning I was greeted by the back door of our house by Leia who padded hopefully around the corner in search of tit-bits. This is not good news. Leia is a Road Island Red and the most vertically-mobile of the three chickens. It has taken her a couple of weeks but she has obviously worked out that she can jump/fly out of Stallag Chicken Run! Obviously the new grass looked very green on the other side and she decided to investigate further! Can only hope that being on the 'other side' without Molly and Kiev was not all it cracked up to be for Leia and that she will not make a habit of it (or teach the others!).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Solar Success

The Solar Panel, powering the automatic door for the hen coop has been in place for over two weeks now and all seems well. Alan checked the power in the batteries today (he had to do this in the dark with a torch which was quite amusing to watch!) and it was fine. Hooray!

Operation Grass Reclaim #8

Actually, truth be told, there was a little bit of turf left so we have put it in Stallag Chicken. Can't think that it will last too long in there! Might use the chickens' turf as an experimental sample piece, to see if the 'Worm Wee' from the wormery works well as a grass feed for it (or just kills it off!).

Operation Grass Reclaim #7

Ta-da! Operation Grass Reclaim is complete! Shaun has done a fantastic job and new turf was laid today (on our side of the fence - not the chickens'!).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hop-along Molly

Molly has developed a bit of a limp. Examined foot today which showed no signs of obvious damage. Have so far managed to resist temptation to rush her off to the vet (they laugh when you turn up with a chicken in a cat basket!).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Operation Grass Reclaim #6

I think the chooks are beginning to figure out what's going on.....

Operation Grass Reclaim #5

Shaun has been hard at work in the garden this week creating Stallag Chicken Run. It is a very solid construction that would contain a herd of Yaks (well, miniature ones anyway!). Alan says we're not getting any Yaks and seems quite definite about this.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Battery Hens

Here it is, a solar powered chicken coop!

The small solar panel sits on the top of the sloping roof of the nest boxes and (hopefully!)...................charges the 4 batteries fitted in the automatic door unit.

Fingers crossed that there is enough sun for the chickens to get out in the morning!


Here is Alan running the wire from the solar panel, through the run, to the automatic door operating unit. NB chickens nowhere to be seen!

Solar unit

This is what the little solar battery charger unit looked like (before it got 'altered' for the coop).

Tell-tale signs...

A few tell tale signs to prove that Alan is indeed an engineer!

Alan's Renewable Energy Project (#1)

Alan has a plan. While attempting to reduce our energy use in the house, we are experimenting with a few things (solar re-chargable batteries, solar lights, LEDs etc.). During the course of which Alan has realised that it should be possible to power the 4 AA batteries that run the automatic door of the Hen Coop using a small solar panel. [For those who don't know us, this is probably enough information to enable you to deduce that Alan is in fact an Engineer]. So, this was today's project!