Always up to Something…

April 15th, 2009 .

Since the first time that I let my girls out I have let them out every night for about an hour before bed time – they seem to enjoy it so much that it’s hard for me to keep them locked up all night! The first time I let them out was pretty nervous for me and for them, but since then it has been a lot less stressful. Today I think the girls seemed a bit too relaxed – every time I turned my back for 2 seconds they were up to something!

Daisy Exploring the Patio

Daisy Exploring the Patio

Before today, whenever I have let them out of the pen they have spent most of the time in the flower beds and on the lawn and pretty much stayed away from the patio.  Today they decided to spend most of the time exploring the patio and the alley way down the side of the house which I found pretty stressful!  When I let them out today I intended to sit in the house for half an hour and let them get on with it, but I changed my mind when I saw them trying to eat a scrap of silicon sealant that must have ended up out there when I got my patio doors replaced.  I immediately went outside and got it off of them when I noticed they had found some more.  I then spent the next 45 minutes chasing the chickens round the garden in a mad race to pick up all of the rubbish before they did!  Before today I though my garden was pretty clean but the chickens are really good at finding rubbish.  Most of it was left over from builders but a few bits had obviously blown over the fence.

When I finally got them to stop trying to eat bits of silicon and plastic they decided it was time to rampage through the patio knocking over flower pots!  I ended putting all of the seedlings up on the bench so that the girls couldn’t get to them.

Towards the end of the free-ranging session a helicopter started hovering over the school field out the back – I think it might be related to all of the noise I have been hearing from there.  Maybe someone actually broke in or something this time.  Either way the helicopter seemed to really confuse the girls – while it was out they spent a lot of time standing still and looking around, trying to figure out where the strange noise was coming from.  Once the helicopter disappeared it was starting to get dark and I was slightly relieved to see the girls go back into their run.

Rumaging Around in the Forget-Me-Nots

Rumaging Around in the Forget-Me-Nots

At lunch time today I came home from work because I was having some stuff delivered for the girls – I got a big bag of mixed corn and some dried meal-worms.  These went down a treat – the birds seem to like the meal-worms more than they like the mixed bird seed that I have been giving them.  The mixed corn was also highly successful as it seems to contain all of the bits that they like most out of the bird seed (and with no black sunflower seeds that they always leave behind).

One more thing before I go: I was reading the chicken forum at Down the Lane and someone made a post saying that one of their chickens has been producing sloppy, caramel-coloured poos. At least one of mine (the grey one) has also been doing this. On the forum they seem to think it could mean that the girl has got worms so I ordered some Flubenvet which is due to arrive tomorrow. I am going to worm them all as the sloppy horrible poo is difficult to clean up and smells disgusting!

I think my girls might have worms!

I Think my Girls Might have Worms!

Free Ranging

April 13th, 2009 .

Yesterday at about 7:00pm I decided to let the chickens out of the run for the first time.  I waited until 7:00 because they normally go to bed around 8:00 – this meant that it was fairly easy for me to get them back into the run at the end.

I must admit letting them out of the run made me feel really nervous as I really couldn’t tell if they would try and escape the garden.  When I opened the door to the run Daisy was the first to step outside which was no surprise – she is definitely the most tame and has tried to escape from the run before when I have changed their food.  The other two looked a bit unsure about leaving but once Daisy had wandered off they followed.

The girls loved scratching arond in the new flower bed

The girls loved scratching around in the new flower bed

One of the first things the girls did after I let them out was to start flapping their wings and fly down the length of my garden which gave me a bit of a scare!  I thought they were going to end up on the other side of the fence but I think they were just stretching their wings.  The girls pecked about for nearly an hour and loved scratching about in the newly dug flower bed (with no flowers yet).

One thing that annoyed me was that there were loads of kids in the school field out the back shouting obscenities at each other which I think stressed the girls out.  You can normally hear people in the parks but the school field is immediately behind our garden so this made a lot more noise in our garden.

At about 7:45 one of the girls walked back in the run so I threw some seed in to encourage the others back in.  It was great to see the girls scratching around in the garden but made me very nervous!  I’m not sure if I’m going to let them out again tonight…

Exploring behind the run

Exploring behind the run

Creepy Crawlies

April 12th, 2009 .

Today Yu Lee’s mum came down to visit us and offered to help me dig a new border in my garden.  We have a flower bed which extends half way down one side of our garden, so today we extended it all the way down to the back of the garden.  Whilst Yu Lee’s mum did the digging I hunted for bugs and fed them ot the chickens which was great fun!  At first we found a few worms but eventually we started to come across some really horrible looking grubs.

We found loads of these and the chickens loved them!

We found loads of these and the chickens loved them!

When we gave any of the larger bugs to the chickens they would run around the pen chasing each other trying to get the bugs.  At one point we found a massive worm and they chased each other around for about 10 minutes before one of them finally managed to eat it.  At the moment the girls are all laying down in the pen so I think we have worn them out with all of the excitement.

The chickens chased each other around the pen trying to get the bugs

The chickens chased each other around the pen trying to get the bugs

Moving the Run

April 11th, 2009 .

Today my Mum and Step-dad came to visit me so I had an extra couple of pairs of hands to help move the chicken run onto new ground.  I got my Mum to distract the girls with some treats whilst Richard held a wooden board (the roof of the coop) over the end of the run and I moved the chicken coop.  After that we all managed to move the run into position with the chickens still inside.  The girls seemed pretty happy to have some new grass to peck (more like destroy).  The patch of grass where the chickens used to be looks pretty disgusting now – especially when you consider that they had only been there for 3 days!

This is where the chicken run used to be!

This is where the chicken run used to be!

As well as moving the run I have accomplished something much more difficult – with lots of help from my Mum and Yu Lee I have finally managed to name one of the chickens!  The white one is now called Daisy!

Apart from that not a lot has happened but the girls are looking a lot more relaxed.  Here is a picture of the girls relaxing in the run.

The chickens are settling in well

The chickens are settling in well

Dandelions and Rain

April 10th, 2009 .

One of the things I have enjoyed over the past couple of days is putting things in the chicken run and seeing how they react to them – today I tried putting in some massive dandelions and it was pretty amusing.  Two of my girls reacted as expected pecking little bits of dandelion off and eating them but the ginger one was hilarious.  She kept walking over to a big dandelion and grabbing it in her beak, then flipping it up in the air and onto her back.  She would then look around as if she didn’t know where it was, causing it to to drop back off onto the floor.  Then she would toss it up onto her back again…

I also put some tomatoes in the run today – one whole and one in pieces.  Turns out chickens don’t like tomato!  They seem to like sweetcorn, most weeds and spiders – I put a huge spider in the run the other day and the grey one instantly killed it and eat it.  Out of all the things I have put in so far the thing that they seem to enjoy the most is wild bird seed.  Every now and then I chuck a handful in and they run around like crazy and eat it in no time.  The white one and the ginger one just eat the seeds that land in front of them, but the grey one runs back and forth trying to steal seed off of the others.  The funny thing is that she spends so long trying to stop the others eating that they eat most of it and she ends up with hardly any!

Today was the first bit of rain I’ve had since I got the chickens.  They spent most of the time under the coop whilst it was raining (as expected) but when the rain had finished I looked in the garden and they were acting kind of weird – standing up tall and pecking at the wire mesh around the run.  I went outside to investigate and it turns out they were drinking the water droplets that had collected on the wire mesh.  I would have thought it was easier to drink out of the drinker that I put in there but then I’m not a chicken!