Sunday, 30 September 2012

Chickens On The Move



Here on our little patch of land we have two paddocks, one is nearer the road and is just laid to pasture, with a wonderful old tree in the centre complete with two swings. we 've nicknamed this Far Paddock, the other is nearer the house, so it's name to us is obviously Near Paddock.   They are split  by old rickety fencing and the old tumbledown stable block where we store our wood pile and fencing supplies and tucked away inside the stable buildings themselves are some of our landlords outdoor belongings, stored safely until his return.
 
Chicken World is situated in Near Paddock which is approximately 2 acres (as is Far Paddock) in size.  Every couple of months (depending on the state of the grass) Chicken World is moved up a quarter of the field, so that we have four moves possible in the field, this gives the grass time to recover from the assault of chicken digging and hungry geese.
 
 
 
The birds love moving day, the fence is taken down, the houses are cleaned out and then attached one by one to the back of the truck to be dragged slowly to their new positions.  The girls don't mind any of this, in fact yesterday Lovely Hubby did the move with three girls sat a laying their eggs in the nesting boxes.
 
 
 
All the feeders and drinkers are scrubbed clean, as they are every week, but somehow on moving day it always seems right that everything is spotless and checked over,  then they repositioned in new Chicken World.
 
 

 
All the houses are re-inspected by the girls to make sure that we haven't changed their actual accommodation.
 
 
 
The Eglu now has it's full length rain shield in place, it offers a permanently dry patch of grass for rainy days.  The girls always look like little old ladies huddled together in a bus stop when they shelter from the rain in there.
 
 
 
This time with the weather getting steadily worse we have re-purposed our old patio table, it was getting rickety and wouldn't have lasted until next Summer for our use, so it's been requisitioned as another wet day shelter by simply stapling heavy duty polythene on top and weighing it down with a couple of tree offcuts so the wind doesn't take it across the field.  Rather handily the bars underneath make an ideal perch for the girls and they tested them out immediately.  We placed this over the site of an old bonfire in case some of them don't want to sit on damp grass.
 
 
 
The far end of the paddock, which is the position for the next couple of months rather handily has a large old tree stump so this was turned into an 'adventure playground' for the girls with their usual tree perches being leaned up against the stump.
 
 
 
The final jobs include getting all the electric fencing back up around the new site, and then enticing the girls back behind it to safety.   Rounding up the stubborn ones sometimes takes a while although the majority come running to my 'chook chook' call knowing that Mum must have some tasty food if she's shouting 'dinnertime'.  The final task is to put in the tensioning corner posts, which LH hammers firmly in and then he attaches the battery to the corner nearest the gate to keep the fence 'live'.
 
While he did that yesterday I scooted back to the house to make a start on some well earned lunch....
 
 
.... and the girls all settled down to a little afternoon siesta in the warmth of the September sun.
 
*** *** ***
 
What did you get up to yesterday?
 
 
Sue xx
 

17 comments:

  1. You know what I got up to...playing hunt the kitten over & over !
    Movind day looks fun. I can't believe some of the hens sit nesting... that's relaxed !

    Found a lovely new Blog..
    http://www.rustyduck.net/
    ... it's on my sidebar. I've told Jessica about you too...there - you two are introduced !

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    Replies
    1. I've just been over there, what a lovely Blog and sooooo much of it reminds me of what we've been challenged with over the last few years.

      Thanks for telling me about it Penny and introducing me to Jessica.

      Sue xx

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  2. Chickenopolis, cluckingham palace, chickenorium, luxury living for hens, I could live there myself xxx

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    Replies
    1. It is nice and cosy in those houses.

      On a wet day I do get right inside while I'm cleaning them out!!

      Sue xx

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  3. Replies
    1. Only the best for my lovely ladies!!

      Sue xx

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  4. Lovely post Sue, amazing the hens 'sat' through the whole experience!

    Where do the geese go at night? Do they have their own goose house? You can tell I'm in planning mode..

    Thank you for all your comments on rusty duck. I've loved them and replied to them all.

    Jessica x

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    Replies
    1. They do it everytime, as long as we close the doors and the window they just sit in the dark happily a laying.

      The Goose Hoose, as we call it, it the flat roofed one.

      Geese don't like to walk up steep ramps so Lovely Hubby designed this for them. Then they taught themselves to go up the ramp into the henhouse anyway, because that's where Mother Goose,. their Mum sleeps (she is a hen by the way).

      Now they are so big though they don't go in there very often.

      Sue xx

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  5. That IS a lot of work! The chooks don't seem fazed by it though, amazingly.

    Regards, Sooze xx

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    Replies
    1. They are all used to it, and love the freedom they get while we get on with all the work. The chooks are always happier when we are working around them, they love company.

      The dogs and cats also get a good chance to mingle with the birds and tend to spend ages exploring the hen houses and goose hoose, the chickens are used to them being around too, although Ginger, our little fostered cat, plays hunt the chicken he always stops short of the final pounce thank goodness!

      Sue xx

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  6. Great space for the chickens - dont you ever have a problem with Mr. fox? I've seen them clear a fence much higher than that in the day light.

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    1. We're relatively new to this patch of land and luckily for us the foxes round here have probably never encountered this type of fence.

      A fox usually sniffs first at an obstacle to decide whether to go over or under, either way for us the first sniff 'bites' his nose and he runs off instead!!

      The geese are also brilliant 'guard dogs' for the hens making such a noise if they see anything unusual outside the fence they attract the dogs over and once again problem solved.

      But living surrounded on two sides by woodland like we are we are very vigilant. Chicken World is currently the furthest away from the house it has ever been, at the far end of Near Paddock, the next move brings it the closest to the house for the start of Winter.

      We can only do our best to protect the birds we do realise this, nature is a cruel beast at times.

      Sue xx

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  7. Oh, I love this post, hearing about your hens.

    And the part about some riding to their next patch made me smile.

    Thanks Sue!

    Sft x

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    Replies
    1. We always check in the house before and after, and sometimes they DO look a bit shocked after the move!!

      Sue xx

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  8. I would love to keep chickens but worried about the problem we have with coyotes.

    Gill in Canada

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    Replies
    1. I doubt it would be worth you getting any, if nothing else even with brilliant protection you would just bring the coyotes closer to your property, something you definitely don't want to do.

      Sue xx

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  9. Haha, I want to keep chickens now!

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