Monday, 2 February 2015

A Frosty Morning in Chicken World


It was a frosty morning in Chicken World this morning.

I always open the house just as the dark night sky starts to lighten, a few of the girls pop out straight away even though there is little light to see by, but I hear the majority of them shuffling on the perches determined to stay indoors until daylight truly arrives.


After Ginger and the dogs have been fed and I have enjoyed the first coffee of the day, it's time to brave the great frosty outdoors.  First the dogs get a lap or two of the paddock, Mavis on a long lead with the others running free here, there and everywhere, although they are staying closer to me now that there is no Charley to play the mad 'chase and lunge' game that she so enjoyed with them.


Then I drop the dogs back indoors, unless Rosy is on a mouse hunting mission, which she has been recently, if that is the case she stays outdoors with me.  Then it's over to Chicken World, to scatter corn and visually check the girls (and Caldwell) while they eat it. 

 It's nice to watch them for a minute, however cold it seems.  It gives me the opportunity to look for problems,  limps or someone just appearing off colour.  Sometimes one will come over and look up as if to say 'give me a cuddle' so I do.  It makes me stand and watch a bit longer when I have a warm feathery hot-water bottle in my arms.  There's not many of them now that do this so when it happens I make the most of it.

You've not lived until you've cuddled a chicken!!



Two of the girls, Daisy and  Titch like to eat of corn apart from the others, so I always make sure a handful lands over the fence near the house, and they dash out from under it and have a peaceful two or three minutes to eat on their own before the others realise and come round the fence to join them.


I open the window to let the house air while I top up the feeders and check for frozen water.


A good glug of water added from the watering can has been enough up to now to dissolve ice.  But when it gets truly frozen I try remember to bring the kettle over and properly thaw things out.


The long feeding trough is left to fill with rainwater through the Winter, it's used for veggie trimmings in Summer, but the girls love to drink rain rather than tap water so I leave it out.  It freezes quickly but also thaws well after a couple of hours.


The other metal drinker tends to freeze less as there are two layers of metal between the outdoors and the water it contains.

 

I  always check that the small feeder is topped up,  the chickens seem to prefer this one, although the larger girls have to duck right down under the rain cover to get at the layers pellets it contains.


The larger food hopper holds a whole bag of layers pellets so we know that food is always available, if the spouts are a bit clogged a good rock from side to side soon gets the pellets flowing freely again.


With the house nicely cleaned out .....


...  the nesting boxes ready for egg laying action, and interior drinker refilled ...


... my last job is to close off the window.

 This means the girls aren't sitting in draughts while they lay their eggs and it keeps the house as cosy as possible until dusk falls and the final job of the day is to close the main door.

You may have noticed that we have gone back to our first style of henhouse.  The larger one we had for a while, and that is just visible in the top picture just proved all wrong for our style of hen keeping and, as soon as we have time, it will be dismantled and removed from Chicken World.  In the meantime it is providing a good rainy day cover for the girls to sit under.

Our new henhouse is once again the 'Maggies 24 Henhouse' from Flyte So Fancy, this is NOT a sponsored post we just love shouting out about products and their providers that we love.


Although Ann did send me a lovely little 'added extra' of sample products with our henhouse order.  THANK YOU.

Sue xx



15 comments:

  1. Chicken World is lovely, I'm sure your feathered friend appreciate there lovely home x

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  2. I think the heart on the henhouse looks wonderful! I hope the girls appreciate it,

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    1. All of their houses come with the option of a heart shaped window at no extra cost ... you couldn't say no to that could you ;-)

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  3. Chicken World looks amazing! Makes my little set up look very tame - no wonder Rosemary keeps escaping to have a run around!!

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  4. I keep building coops like you use now but I always think I'd prefer a bigger one I could get into. What didn't you like about the bigger one?

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    1. We thought we would prefer a bigger one that we could get into, but in our opinion it was badly designed, we changed the interior to suit our chickens by making tiered perches where there had been flat ones but as there were only 20 of them in a house designed for up to 30 birds we felt there was much too much room, most of it inaccessible by us for cleaning, that made the house too cold at night.

      There was much too much ventilation which also meant draughts (which chickens hate). It also had a drop down flap to the nesting boxes which didn't work with it's position the hillside.

      Although we could get into it for basic cleaning, the position you were stooped over in made for an aching back after more than a few minutes. All in all this was not the house for us, so we made the decision to swap it now while we could afford to do so.

      The old house will be dismantled (it has to be, the place is so fox proof we have no way of getting the full house out) and the component parts used for other things. One thing will be to make a bad weather shelter for next winter so they have somewhere dry to perch during the day if they do not want to go into the main house.

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    2. Good to know and thanks for the reply. No doubt I'll be building another one before long so good research. Cheers sue.

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  5. This brings back a flood of memories. Chickens were my responsibility for chores on the farm.

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  6. Goodness those frosty chicken feet marks made me feel cold! It was 18 (65 to you) at 7am this morning as I went walking in our local Bird Sanctuary. Many birds could be heard but not a chicken amongst them! I hope your winter is past soon and spring is just around the corner for you. Lovely pictures, and obviously happy hens!

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  7. If only all hens were kept in such lovely conditions :}

    For various reasons we decided not to make a Chicken World here, but if ever that decision changes I would hope to create something like yours

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  8. I would love some chickens but we both work late shifts and don't get home till gone midnight. Any tips for us? Thought about an electric timer door but would worry myself sick that one had been left out. X

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  9. I loved reading about your chickens x. They certainly live in style x

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  10. Chicken World looks a lovely place, you look after them extremely well. So sorry to read about Charley Sue. xx

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  11. Lovely pics. I really enjoy cleanng out and nurturing my hens. Its therapeutic, like gardening. A bit of nature and calm from the hectic world of London commuting. I have the Cube and find it fabulous for cleaning out.

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  12. Really enjoyed reading your chook routine and comparing it to mine. I too stand for a moment an watch the hens peck- brings a smile to my face. Their house looks luxurious! Ours is an old trailer converted into a hen house with a tin roof with one side that lifts. Sadly I had to remove their feeder as we gained a bit of a rat problem due to it and feeding the birds. Now I just feed them in the morning and normally all the food has been eaten by the time I close them up (probably shared with the rats, oh well!).
    Miss Tulip x
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

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