This weekend was all about the chickens.
Luckily for once the weather was mostly on our side and after making plans on Saturday when the rain was falling and checking we had suitable wood ready for action when it stopped, we were able to spring into action on Sunday in the lovely sunshine and begin modifying the inside of the house.
When we got the house it had five perches over the wide shelf, and as they came right up to the edge of the shelf our birds couldn't actually get onto them, well about two of the girls learnt that if they did a vertical take off they could get up but the rest skulked on the floor of the house at night or crowded into the nesting boxes.
This was quickly altered, the front perch was sawn off and Lovely Hubby made them a ramp, this meant that come bedtime the girls could troop up the ramp and make their way along the bars. BUT ... because the bars were so close together and all on one level once the girls were sat down on the front bars their tail feathers covered all the other perches, so the house only actually had room for one line of birds to roost...... not a good design in such a large space!!
So this modification still meant that lots of them slept on the shelf or in the nesting boxes, which made for more cleaning out each day otherwise the eggs would have been laid on dirty bedding.
So my plan was hatched to turn this .....
... into this.
By taking out another of the perches we were able to space them slightly further apart and by having the perches tiered it makes for more room for the tail feathers to naturally fall into the space between the perches thus freeing up lots of extra room. So two less perches in this house has actually made more room for birds to use them properly. And it somehow makes the house feel a lot more spacious inside and it is now so much easier to clean the shelf under the perches.
And it means the birds are much happier because every flock has a pecking order and the birds at the top of the pecking order usually like to sleep on higher perches to the 'lower' girls. I say usually because I have had a few birds that were super confident and obviously led the flock during their lifetime but have been happier either in a nesting box or on the floor of the house. Each to their own just like people.
We snuck out for a peek at bedtime to see if our little plan had worked.
It had ... for once the perches were in full use, all the birds except two who were in the nesting boxes and Poppy who has always slept on the floor in all our houses, had found a place on the perches.
Mission accomplished - happy chickens = happy chicken keepers.
And did you spot something in the top picture .... yes LH has bought the girls some fake grass to make the front of their house look nice and to make it less slippy for us when we step in and out of the house. It looks really good, a patch of green amongst a sea of muddy grass the girls seem to really like it, they soon discovered that although it wasn't edible it warmed up nicely in the afternoon soon for basking on.