Thursday, 22 August 2013

Girls Girls Girls

The final touches are taking place in The House Of Chic....
This is the roost.  It runs the length of one wall, about 2 foot up from the ground.  We have put lightweight boards beneath the roost to catch the poo, so it can simply be scraped off and removed.  Steve has cleverly made the roost so it slots into a gap in the wall supports, which means the roost can easily be removed for cleaning.  After reading many differing opinions on the best type of roost, ranging from tree branches to dowel rods to 4x2 beams, we chose to go with a 4x2 beam and rounding the front edges so when the birds roost they have a wide, flat surface to rest their bums on, and a comfy curved front to wrap their toes over.
Apart from the netting over the top of the yard (which we will put up in the next day or so), and moving some sand to fill some holes, The House Of Chic is ready for residents!  Here is the builder extraordinaire, the most relieved man in the world that this is finished.  Job well done darling. :-)
Here I sit in the chook cuddling chair in front of the house.  Note the artwork, looks cool eh, thanks Mel and Sheila.  Above that will be The House Of Chic sign when it is made.  To the left of me is the 'under the eaves' area, which houses the big bin containing chook food, and a metal trunk in which I'm thinking of storing some straw or chaff for changes of bedding. 
Anyway, getting to the exciting part, have a guess what is in the box?!  Yes, they are here!  This morning we drove to the other side of Albany and collected four 16 month old HyLine hens. 
And here they are!  They were very quiet in the car, all we could hear was the occasional tiny chicken sounds and the shuffle of feet.
We carefully tipped the box on its side, facing into the house, and after a minute or so, the bravest souls tentatively ventured out.
They all finally entered The House.  They were very cautious until they spied the food container, then they charged over there and started pigging out immediately!  They were all making quiet little bwark noises, it was lovely.  Once they were settled we moved the box away from the door so they could venture out into the yard.  Two of them started exploring whilst the other two, presumably shy, stayed inside.
Finally all four ladies carefully started looking around outside, all the while being quietly vocal.
It was at this point that I discovered the reason for tardiness of the two ladies that stayed in the house, they had both laid an egg!  Within an hour of coming to a new house!  Steve was most impressed that his nesting boxes had been given the seal of approval.
How about that eh, two 60 gram eggs.  The brown one was really warm, straight out of you know where!
The ladies were very tentative at first with their foraging, leading me to believe that their life up to now probably didn't involve being on grass.  They pecked at the seed I threw around but not much else at first.  Within a couple of hours they well and truly had the hang of free ranging and were having a lovely time.
Everything was inspected, pecked and scratched.  They finally decided that they liked eating grass and began the serious business of cropping it.  It will be interesting to see the battle between kikuyu grass and four hens, we suspect the hens will win eventually!
I sat in their yard for hours today, I couldn't take my eyes off them.  It's amazing how good their eyesight is, I watched a hapless little spider a good couple of metres away from the nearest bird, crawling through the grass.  Needless to say that the spider did not last long!
This is the smallest girl, but she also has the biggest and reddest comb.  I like how she is strutting her stuff in this photo.
This one has a floppy comb and white sort of stripes on her neck.  She seems to be the friendliest of the four and spent a lot of time around my legs while I sat in the chair.  It is amazing actually, how docile they all are, considering they are in a strange place with people they don't know.  It started off with me managing to get a quick stroke of one's back, to being able to pick this one up a few hours later.  I don't think she was absolutely thrilled about it, but I was! :-)
The last task of the day was to put them to bed.  I kept waiting and waiting around dusk for them to head into the house, but they were having far too much fun free ranging outside and had to be herded inside in the end.  The littlest one has to be chased around the yard, cornered, and carried inside in the end!  Once I had them in the house with the doors shut, two of them got the idea straight away and jumped up onto the roost.  The other two I picked up, got in a quick stroke or two, then put them on the roost.  I peeped in the window a little later and they were all still on the roost, so good, everyone is settled for the night.  What a day!  It was wonderful and I am so happy to have some living creatures again.

On a final note you might like to see this.  This is what happens when you spend 8 weeks building a chook palace and neglecting the vegetable patch.  Happily it is very productive and we are eating plenty of potatoes, peas, broccoli, cabbage, celery, spinach and turnips, but look at that grass!  That's what comes of not doing any weeding for too long.  Next week's job!!


  1. Wonderful Wonderful story Dy and Steve, I'm very impressed! What lucky chooks to be so welcomed into such a loving and caring family :-)

    1. Thank you Pennie, we are so happy to have them :-)

  2. Looks like you have plenty of spare greens for the girls to eat too!!!

    1. Ha ha ha, yes Fran, you are quite right there!