Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kiev's comment

The previous picture shows an expression on Kiev's face that suggests how she's feeling about the whole thing. When Alan had put the lid/roof on, she made the following unambiguous comment:

Custom built Sin Bin

Alan has spent the best part of the day hand-crafting a bespoke Sin Bin for Kiev. Lovingly crafted from the best materials that B&Q can offer (2x4 batten & chicken-wire), this Bowens original boasts a unique design based on tried-and-tested designs from all over the world (hooray for the Interweb!).

Features include:
  • made-to-measure - just big enough (bigger than the Chimenea!) but not large enough to offer any degree of comfort.
  • wire flooring (not very comfortable)
  • raised flooring (encouraging a draft around the bum)
  • securely fitting removable lid/roof
  • newspaper beneath to catch poo
NB: water and food was added after this photo was taken. This photo reminds me of something.......what is it now.........

Shut her out

Another technique to try and persuade Kiev not to be broody anymore is to hoick her out of the nest box and close the gate into the the run, so she can't get back into the coop. This is quite mean as she then spends the rest of the day strutting round and round the outside of the run, trying to find a way in. She is like a machine that will not be distracted from her purpose (she has the demeanour of a person who REALLY needs the toilet and can't get into the loo!).

A broody chook

A broody chicken is a fascinating thing. Kiev is a Buff Orpington, and is prone to this behaviour, sure enough she was broody about the same time last year. She will sit in the nest box from dawn until dusk, day after day, not eating or drinking and not moving or exercising in any way and not laying any eggs. This year, in his valiant attempt to 'snap her out of it' Alan has tried a number of approaches which have included building a partition at the end of Stalag Chicken for Kiev to remain in solitary confinement ..........which she did............for about 3 minutes. We don't even know how she was escaping, I stood one morning with a camera to photograph her escape. I know I'm starting to sound like Mr Tweedy again but I swear, she saw me and hid behind the coop, there was a slight wobbling of the nylon netting that formed the barrier between her 'confined' area and the main part of the run and there she was, no longer in solitary! I have no idea how she did it! Another time Alan, Abi and I were all lying on the grass the other side of the run fence and none of us saw how she got across the barrier! Alan has been reading books and consulting websites and yesterday I found him shoving Kiev back into the Chimenia (see blog from June 2007), our improvised Sin Bin. When he removed her at the end of the day (covered in soot) she stomped straight back up the ramp into the coop where she remained.

Man vs. Chicken

For the past three weeks, a battle has been taking place in our back garden. On the one side you have a big, fat, caramel coloured chicken called Kiev who is driven by laws of nature as old as the species, she wants to sit on an egg until it hatches and is determined to let NOTHING prevent her from doing this (not even the lack of an egg!). On the other side is Alan who has been waging a spirited (if not entirely successful) campaign to try and stop her.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cheeky Chickens

Recent weekends have seen Alan cleaning out the chicken coop and run, a process that has been streamlined into a 20 minute job. For the past couple of weekends, the hens seem to strut around the place, watching Alan make his preparations (getting his 'cleaning' things together) and just at the point when he is about to open the large coop door and start sweeping out, one of the chickens strolls up the ramp and installs themselves in one of the nest boxes to lay an egg. They can be in there for anything up to an hour. To watch this, you could almost think that the chickens know exactly what they're doing and that it forms part of their weekend's entertainment.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New blog

For anyone who is interested, now have another blog at:
Can you guess what it's about?!

Chickens to eat

Alan surprised me the other day by saying that he thinks we should have a few chickens and then kill and eat them. Hmmmm........

Molly on the mend

Regularly coating Molly's leg in Grapeseed Oil, followed by weekly coating in Benzyl Benzoate (had to order this from chemist, made sure I mentioned several times, very loudly that it was for my chicken and not anybody in the family as it is a treatment for scabies), seems to be working. The Benzyl Benzoate took some time to arrive and is in a huge bottle - someone else in the village orders it for their horse apparently, so I guess that's why. It is a thick, white liquid. We apply it to Molly's leg with a toothbrush. She's walking on bad leg now, still limping but much better than it was. Also, when applying treatment, her toes(do chickens have toes?!) curl up, which we take to be a good sign as for a while there, she seemed to have no feeling in her foot at all as there was no response to us touching it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scaly Leg?

This is what Molly's leg/foot looks like:

Molly's Scaly Leg ?

Here is Molly being very calm and placid as we 'bathed' her leg in Grape Seed Oil (though she does have an expression on her face that seems to say: "I could blind you with one peck you know!").

Hopping Molly

Poor Molly. She has had a limp for absolutely ages now and about 2 months ago it got noticeably worse so that she could not put her leg or foot down at all. She has been spending most of the time laying down (looking like one of those ceramic hen-shaped things that people used to have in their kitchen - what were they for anyway?). It even got to the point where I was having to carry her out of the coop each morning (though she managed to get herself back in at bed-time). Having consulted a few chicken Gurus and books, we are treating her as if it is Scaly Leg by immersing her leg in Grape Seed Oil (I believe any cooking oil will do, we just happened to have some Grape Seed Oil) and brushing it with an old toothbrush. It might just be wishful thinking on my part but she seems a little better. She's certainly able to get herself out of the coop in the mornings now. We will continue with the treatment and see what happens.

Slow Blog

Have completely failed to update blog recently and even to log how many eggs we get each day in the spreadsheet. Basically, we are currently getting between 1 and 3 a day. I think they're all laying, but can't be sure.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Frozen Chicken!

It is very rare for it to snow in Southampton. Even rarer still for the snow to settle. Imagine our surprise (and delight!) therefore, when we woke this weekend to find a blanket of snow on the ground and huge, fat flakes still falling.

This chickens seemed somewhat bewildered and kept off the snow, inside the coop-run. The snow was only around for half a day so I have no idea what they would have done if it had stayed for longer.

Al found great amusement in watching the Chooks try to drink their water (which was frozen solid). Apparently he stood for some time, watching them pecking away at the water container like fat, mutant woodpeckers!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back on form!

The chooks are back on egg-laying form! We are getting an egg most days now. Have really missed a nice poached egg for breakfast at the weekend. Am attempting to keep track of how many eggs they produce this year, for anyone who's interested, click on the Egg Count link at the top right of the page (or click here).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The drought is over!!!

At last, after months of egg-drought, today we got an egg! Am pretty sure it was Leia (she really did have her chicken-legs crossed!). I bet she couldn't believe her bad luck when, after so long, she needed to lay an egg and I was cleaning the coop out! Poor thing (you see how easily all is forgiven!). Am hoping that the other two will now follow suit (they copy each other in every other way!). Might consider putting some light in the coop next winter.....


The chooks have been spending quite a lot of time indoors today. I cleaned out the coop mid-morning and they all looked quite disgruntled at having to leave while I did so. Leia hung around impatiently at the top of the ramp, watching me through the doorway and Molly hopped in through the swing-open side-door at one stage when I was half way through. As soon as I had finished, Leia came in and inspected. It might just be hopeful thinking on my part but she seemed to have an air of having her legs crossed about her!

Friday, January 11, 2008


New year, new-look blog, what do you think?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It's been about three months since any of our girls have laid an egg! Yesterday I had to BUY half a dozen eggs! My threats to 'put them all a very big pot' seem to be falling on deaf chicken ears. Today I got excited because there was no sign of Molly in the afternoon and I thought she might be in the coop laying an egg. I soon realised that she was actually under the coop, lounging in a dust-bath that must be half way to Australia by now!