November 9th, 2009 .

Victoria is definitely the most difficult chicken – I think she goes out of her way to make my life difficult!

I have had problems with her escaping from the their area for a while now. She loves to fly over the electric fence and leave a trail of destruction through my garden. It hasn’t been causing me so many issues recently as I am not really growing anything at the moment, but it will start to become an issue in the spring, and I’m getting fed up of her leaving chicken poos all over the garden.

As well as this, I’m pretty sure that it’s her who starts them all off making a racket early in the morning. Again, this isn’t causing me a lot of troubles at the moment because I am getting up as soon as it is light now, but in the summer it is not fun to be awoken by a load of chickens at 5am.

The other problem with Victoria is that she is a bit of a bully. She is a lot bigger than the other chickens, and she is definitely at the top of the pecking order. I haven’t witnessed her bullying very much recently, because I hardly ever see the chickens at the moment, but yesterday was a Sunday and I spent a bit of time watching what the chickens were doing.

Yesterday morning, Meg was looking a bit miserable, and when I went over to look at her I noticed that she was actually bleeding from her comb. Then, when it started to get dark I looked out and saw that Daisy had gone to bed, and Victoria and Meg were still outside. Every time Meg tried to go in the chicken coop, Victoria would chase her out until she retreated underneath the coop. Then I watched for about 5 minutes, and every time Meg tried to come out from underneath the coop Victoria would chase her back in. It actually made me feel really sorry for her.

Poor old Meg doesnt look too happy

Poor old Meg doesn't look too happy. She clearly has blood on her comb...

After watching it for a few minutes I decided to go out and break it up – otherwise the door would end up closing and locking poor Meg outside. When I went over, I noticed that Victoria had blood on her beak which makes me pretty sure that she attacked Meg earlier. I grabbed Victoria and walked around the pen with her for a while – this seemed to calm things down. She hates being picked up and I held her until he got really upset and started flapping. Meg still hadn’t gone inside yet, so I put Victoria down, and chased her away every time she got anywhere near Meg.

I’m not really sure what to do about this – I’m starting to think that Victoria is having a negative effect on the rest of the chickens. The only solution that I can think of for her escaping is to put them back in the old run, but this would obviously mean that they have a lot less space and it doesn’t seem fair on the other chickens. The only other alternative that I can think of would be to clip her wings but I’m not sure if I want to do that either.

I don’t think there is an easy solution for the bullying. If I was choosing my chickens again I would make sure that they were all very similar in size to try and avoid this happening.

Maybe the only thing I could do would be to get rid of her and replace her with a more docile chicken – that would solve all of the problems (but probably create a load more!).


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...

Chickens Behaving Badly

September 17th, 2009 .

I got back from my holiday yesterday, and my girlfriend told me that the chickens have been very naughty the whole time!

When I spoke to her on the first day of my holiday, she told me that Victoria had already escaped once and had to be put back inside. That same night, before going to bed she decided to check on the chickens and Daisy was stuck outside the coop and the door was closed. She said that Daisy was pecking at the door, and she had to put her in through the roof. Daisy didn’t really appreciate being picked up and flapped about like mad which made life difficult.

The rest of the week was filled with escape attempts – Victoria managed to escape the run at least once a day and had to be put in. My girlfriend’s brother was also staying at the house and was sleeping on the living room floor. One day he woke up and opened his eyes and the first thing he saw was Victoria tapping on the patio doors! They went outside to put her back in, and it turns out that she has figured out how to get back into the run – she sneaks round the back and jumps straight over the fence and onto the coop roof. I saw her doing this and noticed that she does touch the fence but it doesn’t hurt her because she is not in contact with the ground.

Today I came back home at lunch time and the chickens did the naughtiest thing yet. I bent down to give them some mixed corn and Daisy jumped straight up onto my shoulder. I didn’t really mind until she started trying to climb up onto my head, at which point I decided to try and get her off of me. Trying to get a chicken off of your head is not easy! There was a lot of flapping about and a bit of a struggle, and in the midst of it all Daisy did a big sloppy poo all over my jumper!

Away for the Weekend

August 8th, 2009 .

Today I am going to my girlfriend’s parents’ house and not coming back until tomorrow. Hopefully when I get back tomorrow the chickens will still be on their side of the fence! The thing that worries me most is that they will escape today, and not be able to get back in the chicken coop at night.

Here is a picture of the new setup, now that I have got everything in its final place.

The electric net is in the proper place now

The electric net is in the proper place now

Over the Fence

August 6th, 2009 .

When I came home to check on the chickens at lunch time today, Daisy was in the run all by herself. The other two had jumped up onto the roof of the coop and then flew over the fence – I know this because there was chicken poo on the coop roof. I grabbed Meg and put her back over, but it took me about 10 minutes to catch Victoria.