My first chooks

Archive for January, 2014

Was it Polly, or was it Dolly?

up with the chickensfeatherston - thamesFor once I am actually getting up with the chickens. Needless to say Polly came out as soon as the door opened to be joined by Molly after about five minutes and Dolly who was pining to go to bed around 9pm yesterday, but couldn’t being bottom of the picking order, arrived at the chooketeria about 1 minute behind Molly…

We picked up the Ollies yesterday, it was 30 degrees, but they had airconditioning.

DSCF7241getting chooks out of petbusgoing home

Yep, bit of a disaster when we got the girls home. Wim said let’s open the banana box in the run, I said, let’s have a quick look, they’re probably sleeping and out popped Polly – I thought at the time that’s gotta be Polly but rethinking it could very well have been Dolly… as it wasn’t actually a very bright move.

2014-01-25 18.11.58As my friend Roel said to me last year: Polly will be the boss, Molly will try to be the boss, and Dolly won’t have a clue…

I played a game of chicken roulette while the two chooks – let out of the box in the run – walked around happily, seeming quite content with their new place and eating already – leaving the backhatch open so Polly or Dolly – I am sure it was Dolly! – could get back in, standing far enough away as not to scare him but close enough to quickly enclose the other two if they decided to leave the run as well…

It only took about 30 minutes till they were reunited.

I also wanted to see who went in the coop first last night – no doubt it was Polly – Dolly would have been happy (“Finally!”) and Molly would have said: “We’ll see about that!” But they decided to have a party so I actually retired before the chickens.

Seeds and Cereals Masterton – my new favourite store

20140118_113402

Ticking off my list…

Got my stuff…

On top some anti red mite dust to prepare the coop before chooks come and a  scoop standing on the wood shavings – yep, untreated – left pellets because my chooks won’t be free-ranging at first and next some chook feed. It’s got none of the nasties (hormones etc) and all of the good stuff (peas and the like) and, finally,  a iron bin to put the feed in outside the chook coop..

I hope Polly, Molly and Dolly appreciate all this.

Ken of Masterton’s Seeds and Cereals (0800 21 31 41, 173 Ngamutawa Rd
Masterton) really is my favourite person! Apart from the bin that I got at Mega Mitre next door I could buy everything from them and he just gave me the best advice ever. He breeds chickens himself and he knows everything about chickens. I know nothing so will gladly accept his offer to come and see him if I have any questions. He gave me the scoop for free as my chickens are going to be the best looked after chickens, let’s hope they don’t keel over the first day.

It’s getting real now! 20140118_113503The chicken greens are starting to grow – don’t worry, the run isn’t at its maximum width there. It’s not even attached to the coop yet. It was to show Janice, our lawn mower where not to mow last Wednesday.

So much to do!

In the train going home last night, I made a list of what I/we need to do before the chooks arrive. It’s massive. Also made a list of what we need to buy. It’s doable. Both are doable actually.

chicken & eggsI read my chicken bible. Chicken and Eggs by Mark Diancono, no 11 in the River Cottage Handbook Series and an excellent easy-to-read confidence boosting manual.

The coop is up and the run is nearly attached, I have sowed my chicken greens from Kings Seeds at the far end of the run so hopefully it’ll grow quick. This is what it says on their website:

“Plantain/Minutina/Cocksfoot/Sorrel/Dandelion/Subterranean Clover/Red Clover/Beet Blend and Chicory Blend.  A hardy blend of these tasty greens to grow in trays for confined poultry especially chooks. Most have tap roots or vigorous roots that will quickly regrow leaves that are eaten. Either sow in trays that can be placed in enclosures and then removed or sow an area that can be grazed but allowed to recover. Sow 1-2 grams per tray or 2-3 grams per square metre.”

 

Here’s my to do list for the weekend:

  • Find woodshavings for bedding
  • Anti red mite-treat Carefree coop (seems a bit of a contradiction)
  • Buy chicken feed
  • Attach run to coop
  • Sow some more chicken greens in trays (so they get a chance to grow before chooks eat them)
  • Get a feeder
  • Go to RD1 and find connection for auto-drinker that Jette gave me
  • Create dustbathing space in coop (or not as they are going to freerange in the evening)
  • Secure left vege garden with wooden sticks and soft fence (Feeling exhausted already)
  • Secure high raised bed to prevent chickens from escaping into pond area.
  • Find herbal worming treatment (for when they are 18 weeks old)

OK, off to contact Precious Poultry now – that’s where the chooks are coming from as it’s a bit weird I didn’t get any confirmation and I need to know how old the chooks will be and what kind of feed they are used to…

Later!

 

Two more weeks to go!

Putting the Carefree Coop together.

Putting the coop together was fairly easy but adding a few ‘This side down’ might have made it even smoother.

Carefree coop set up.

Chicken coop awaits Polly, Molly and Dolly

So the coop stands, finally! It had been waiting in a couple of flatpacks for months but here it is, only the run to do now.

We live in the Wairarapa in New Zealand, Featherston is our town and it can blow there. And it did the day afterw e set up the coop and it hasn’t moved a cm.

We bought the coop from Chicken Manor who imports this UK SPCA approved coop. Check out the Chook Manor site and the Brinsea Carefree Coop site.

You can also get a run for the coop. We opted for the smaller version as the plan is to circulate the chickens and their housing around our raised beds to improve the soil and to give them some entertainment.