September 21st, 2009 .

When I got home from work today I found Victoria in the garden again. I walked up to the patio doors and she spotted me straight away before I opened them and I’m sure she knew that she was in trouble. She started pacing very quickly from side to side and trying to hide arond the back of the coop – she wouldn’t ever do this if she was inside the run. I think she knows that she is not allowed to be on my side of the fence as she behaves completely differently.

After a few minutes of chasing her around the garden I managed to get a hold of her and put her back in the run. I sat down down to feed the chickens some mixed corn and for the first time ever Victoria jumped up on my lap! This is pretty good considering how nervous she is. The others have always been pretty tame but Victoria has only been eating from my hand for a few weeks.

Big Changes

July 25th, 2009 .

When I got up this morning, Meg was fine and was scratching around as much as the other girls which was a relief.

I have recently realised that my setup is not working very well for me. One reason that I think I have got so heavily infested with mites is that the coop is virtually impossible to clean out in it’s current location – in order to get to the nest box I need to squeeze into a small gap between the coop and the fence, and I only have access to the rest of the coop from one side because of the netting at the back of it and the run at the front. Also, because of the nest area that I screwed into the floor of the coop, I can’t slide the floor out to clean it.

The run itself is also causing me problems: Due to the fact that it is so long and only about a meter high, it is virtually impossible for me to clean it. This means that over the past few months, the land underneath the run has turned into a bit of a swamp. As well as the vast quantities of chicken poop that have built up, I have had a problem with one of my feeders. When I moved the feeder into the middle of the run the weather was dry and it caused no problems. The girls like to empty the feeder onto the floor, but then over then following days will eat the pellets up so nothing is wasted. Since the weather has been so wet, all of the pellets on the floor have been turning to mush and being scratched into the floor and creating a disgusting smell. This means that the floor of the run has turned into a mixture of chicken poo and fermenting layers pellets and the smell is awful! They were also getting through twice as much food as usual so I have had to move the feeder back under the coop.

The final thing that I hadn’t really considered in my setup was convenience. Due to the fact that I have to move a load of flower pots, and squeeze under the netting to get to the back of the coop, changing the girls’ food has been a nightmare.

To fix all of these problems I have decided to have a bit of a move around in the garden. I am going to move the coop to the area behind the netting, remove the netting and the run and put up an electric fence. This will allow me to enter the chickens’ area and keep it clean, and will allow access to all sides of the coop for cleaning. This should hopefully solve most of my problems…

New Bag of Feed

June 25th, 2009 .

Yesterday, I finally finished off my first bag of layers pellets. I have had the chickens for 11 weeks, and a bag of pellets costs £15.99. This means that I spend about £1.50 each week on feed, which is about 50p per chicken. Obviously this doesn’t take into account grain and mealworms that they get on occasion but they are optional anyway.

This means that it costs me about 50p to produce 6 eggs! Not bad until you realise that I have probably spent £300 – £400 on equipment!

New Equipment

June 4th, 2009 .

A couple of days ago I decided that I no longer want to wake up at 6:45am on a weekend and sent off for an automatic door opener for my coop. Whilst I was at it I also ordered a new feeder and some powdered disinfectant. My order arrived at my work today so I brought it home at lunch time (apart from the disinfectant – it was way to heavy to carry on foot).

When I got home I set up the feeder and filled it with food. I put it in the coop and straight away Daisy decided that the food would be better on the floor. I sat and watched her for about 10 minutes methodically scraping all of the pellets out onto the run floor.

Daisy making a mess

Daisy making a mess

I am impressed with the quality of the feeder. It was quite expensive but it is a lot better than my other one: You can adjust the size of the gap at the bottom where the pellets fall out and it has an attached rain cover meaning that I can keep it out in the open instead of underneath the coop. The main reason I decided to get a new feeder was that the pellets used to get jammed in the bottom of the other one. Once this had happened the girls used to kick it over and the rest of the pellets would end up on the floor.

While I was watching the girls investigate their new feeder I noticed that Meg was getting picked on a bit. Daisy went straight over the the feeder, and a few minutes later Victoria followed. Every time Meg got anywhere close to it Victoria would chase her away. It was actually pretty horrible to watch

The girls had fun with thier new feeder

The girls had fun with thier new feeder

When I got in from work this is what I saw – as you can see, the fact that they could get to the pellets didn’t stop them from knocking the feeder over!

The next thing I did was to remove the old door and replace it with the new aluminium door and automatic opener. The door and opener cost me over £100 but hopefully it will mean that I can have a lay in on the weekends. It took me about an hour to get it fitted correctly – the main bit that was difficult was tying the knot in the bit of string that attaches the opener to the door.

The main thing that I was worried about is that the girls would get trapped outside, but they went into the house at about 9:00pm and the door shut on its own at about 9:30pm.

The new door isnt pretty but it works

The new door isn't pretty but it works

The door opener is mounted above the door and raises it with a draw string

The door opener is mounted above the door and raises it with a draw string

The only problem with the door opener is that I have had to mount it over some of the ventilation holes in the top of the coop. I think I am going to have to drill a few more holes tomorrow…


May 6th, 2009 .

Today I did a bit of gardening after work, and ended up hanging around with the chickens for a while afterwards. The brown one kept trying to jump up to get the tub of meal worms I had in my hand so I put my arm out for her…

My chicken has a new feeding spot

My chicken has a new feeding spot