Thawing Out

January 11th, 2010 .

The temperatures are getting warmer again now, and the drinker was not frozen over this morning. All of the snow has started to melt and I am hoping that this will be the end of the cold weather.

I haven’t minded dealing with the chickens in the winter, but this last few weeks has been difficult. I don’t mind coming back on my lunch hour to deal with them before it gets dark, and I can cope with the swamp at the bottom of the garden, but the water freezing up has not been pleasant to deal with. Having to defrost their water probably doubles the amount of time it takes to do chicken related chores, and my hands are so cold that they hurt after cleaning them out.

The other day when I came back to clean the chickens Victoria was still in the nest box laying. I cleaned out the coop, and then she was finished just as I was about to go in. I looked inside the nest box and there were 3 eggs – 2 of them were still nice and warm. I walked back to the house with an egg in each hand which was a lovely way to warm my fingers up!

More Snow

January 8th, 2010 .

After the relatively warm temperatures (as in warmer than freezing) the weather has gotten cold again – infact I think it is colder than before! The reason I think this is that the blocks of ice inside the drinker are even thicker now.

After a few more days of going outside each morning to defrost the chicken’s water with the kettle, I decided that I don’t like freezing to death in the mornings and have started bringing the water in at night. This has made such a difference – I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! The water still freezes as the temperatures are below freezing during the day too, but the ice is less thick and it is easier to open the drinker than when it has been in the cold all night. Each morning all I have to do is fill it up and take it out to them which saves me a lot of time in the mad rush before work.

After a few days of frost and freezing temperatures we have had another round of snow – but this time it is nowhere near as bad as it was last time. On the first day of the snow Daisy and Victoria fell asleep outside again, and I only realised because I decided to bring the drinker in – otherwise they would have slept under the stars. I don’t think it would have done them any harm and they seemed perfectly happy, but I put them in just incase.

One weird advantage to the cold snap has been that poo picking inside the nest box has been easier – the poos have been frozen solid and not so sticky which actually made life easier!


December 16th, 2009 .

November has been the first period with a lot of rain since I created the enclosure down the end of the garden, and the ground is starting to get very muddy! There are 2 problems with this: The first problem is that the chickens love to walk in the mud and then walk all over the eggs, which means the eggs get very muddy. The second problem is that when I try to clean the coop out, I nearly fall over in the slippery mud.

The best way to solve both problems would probably be to put down a load of woodchip in the run, but that will have to wait until next year. For now I have added this lovely board walk so that I can get to the coop to clean them out without sliding around in the mud.

Check out my lovely board walk!

Check out my lovely board walk!

The other thing that I have done recently is invested in a basket for collecting eggs. This is a little thing that has made a big difference to my cleaning / egg collecting routine. Before I had to collect the eggs, climb back over the fence with them (hard when you have 6 eggs in your hands) and put them inside. I would then go back into their area and clean up. With my basket I can do it all in one go, and I don’t end up dropping the eggs in the mud!

This is such a time saver

This is such a time saver


October 29th, 2009 .

Not a huge amount has happened this month – which is why I haven’t posted for a while. The main things that have happened this month have been to do with the shorter days.

Last time I posted, the girls had ended up sleeping outside on the coop roof. This was easily fixed by adjusting the sensor on the door opener/closer. I think the girls took a while to adjust to the shorter days, and don’t get tired early enough to go to sleep when it is still light.

That was at the start of the month – now we are at the end of October and the chickens all go off to bed before I even get home. This has meant that I have had to change my routine a little bit. I now have to muck out the chickens before I go to work which is always a bit of a rush as I find it hard to drag myself out of bed in the morning. Even with the new routine I can still manage to get to work withing half an hour of getting up!

Victoria is still her usual naughty self. I have to chase her around the garden most mornings and she seems to leave the enclosure and come back in as she pleases. I have watched her escape twice since I put the weldmesh fence up on the roof. The first time I saw her fly straight from the ground and over the fence, and the second time she flew from the coop roof and curved around the fence. Either way I don’t think there is anyway to stop her with a physical barrier – the only remaining option is to clip her wings. I’m really not keen on the idea so I think I will mull it over for a few more weeks.

One final thing that has started to happen recently which is a little odd – the girls seem to have changed their egg laying habits. Ever since they started laying they have always laid in the same place in a corner of the coop. Due to the fact that the eggs were getting cracked I put a nest box in there for them, and ever since I have found a cluster of eggs in the nest box each day. Then, about a week ago, they decided that actually they don’t like that spot so much any more! I now get eggs all over the place – but at least they always seem to be in one piece!

The chickens have decided they dont like the nest box after all...

The chickens have decided they don't like the nest box after all...


July 28th, 2009 .

Today my new cleaning products arrived – I ordered Diatom, Poultry Shield, and a spray bottle from Flyte So Fancy. This is a store that I have used a lot of times – they have a great range of poultry related products and delivery is always lightning fast!

Hopefully this will kill them!

Hopefully this will kill them!

Poultry shield is a liquid that I used to spray the inside of the coop and should hopefully get rid of red mite. Apparently it helps to destroy the mites and the eggs, and it was significantly cheaper than the spray I bought (probably cost me less than £1 to spray the whole coop compared to £15), and was also easier to apply.

The other product that I bought is diatom, which is diatomaceous earth and will hopefully prevent the mites from coming back. It works by dehydrating them, and although it won’t kill them instantly, it should help to control their numbers in the future. After I finished spraying the coop I spread a load of diatom all over the inside.

Both of these products were recommended to me on Down the Lane and those guys always seem to know what they are talking about!

Whilst I was cleaning out the coop again, I let the girls out in the garden. I must admit, whilst it has been stressful sorting all of this out, I have enjoyed letting them out in the garden again. They had great fun scratching around under my rose bush, and spreading a heap of grass clipping around the garden!

Chickens love piles of stuff, but they wont be piles once the chickens have finished with them!

Chickens love piles of stuff, but they won't be piles once the chickens have finished with them!