Saturday, 2 August 2014

Chicken Psychology 101

Well, we still have five alive and healthy chickens albeit minus a few feathers :-)
I kept Angelina and Bridget in their yard in a yard for two days and noted the calm that had descended, so yesterday morning I took a deep breath and removed the wire.  My girls have had fits and starts of supremacy and thankfully the two new ladies have wisely decided it is best to keep out of their way as much as possible. 

I have made a point of keeping plenty of feed in their yard so there is no need for them to fight over food.  I also hung up bunches of cabbage and kale leaves for them to peck at, anything to keep them busy!  I did some yard rearranging, idea being that if the yard was a bit different then maybe my girls would not see it quite so much their territory.  I also thought that with some new stuff in there, then curiosity would win the day and my girls would forget about bossing the new girls.  I am trying very hard to out-think them! I also moved things around so there were as few corners as possible for one of the new girls to get trapped in by a bully.  And finally, I am keeping their gate open into the small adjoining yard of overgrown kikuyu grass, so that there are plenty of places for a feathered girl to be.
I spent the day gardening just near their yard, so I could keep an eye on them, but also as a distraction.  My girls know full well that when I garden, I throw any bugs I find into their yard.  So for a large part of the day they were lined up at the fence, forgetting that they had new sisters.  Oddly enough, Leanne is the worst offender for chasing them down and pulling out a few feathers, Leanne was at the bottom of the pecking order up to now, so she is obviously relishing her new found status!  So, the new girls for the most part keep out of the way, and my girls puff up every now and then and chase them, but it is nothing like the first day they arrived.  I think things will be fine.  :-)

I started digging out the next pathways in my garden, so after clearing the area of weeds and grass, I dig out the path shape and heaped up the new garden beds.  Worms and beetle larva were flung over the fence to the waiting crowd.
 Steve kindly barrowed in the limestone chips for me.
 And hey presto, a nice clean, easy to walk on path!  I'm looking forward to planting up the beds.  Ground cover herbs near the bench I think, so it smells nice when you walk on them to get to the bench.
 Steve, in the meantime, has his own big job.  Last week we had loads of timber delivered, for the planned retaining walls at the back of the house.  From a structural and insect-proof point of view, we ended up buying H4 treated pine.
 Here's the start of it.  There will be two levels of retaining walls, first level is about half a metre high and the bed will be a metre wide.  He's put in a wide strip of limestone chips for drainage along the front.  It will be a nice strong way to support the metre or so of hill that is directly behind the house.  It will be nice to have the first garden bed above knee height, not so much bending!  I can also picture a few dainty groundcovers hanging over the edges of the walls too.  :-)
 Meanwhile, here is the devil incarnate.  He is so adorable but god he is a fiend.  Just like a cat.  :-)
Oh yes, you know how six ping pong balls have been missing in our house for months?  Well I finally went and bought another six this week.  And of course you know what happened then don't you?  Yes, I found them all!  He had got them all stuck behind a tiny bedside cupboard in the guest bedroom, all in a neat little line behind.  So he's joyfully batting ping pong balls under all the furniture for me, then flopping on the floor and giving me the look, get them slave!

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