My first chooks

Archive for the ‘chooks’ Category

Phoenix plays hide & seek

Added the run to the coop yesterday as it was so hot in the Wairarapa. The chicks are about 10 days old and they loved it. Phoenix has forgotten all about her – yep all the hatchlings are hens I hope – near-fatal adventure and played hide and seek with mum.

Here’s a short video on YouTube

Brooding in the tent



Polly (right) and Jazzy on their half dozen eggs each.

Won the fertile Barnevelder eggs in the auction, surprise surprise and drove up to 858 Norfolk Road outside of Carterton, about a 35 min drive northwest from here.

858 Norfolk Road

It is beautiful there and I paid Leonie the 19 dollars for the dozen Barnie eggs. Back in Featherston I did not have a nesting place for the girls – “You cannot let them sit together on the eggs, they will break them” from Leonie still ringing in my ears.

I thought I’d use the cats’ travel kennels but Polly and her red friend Jazzy did not think that was a good idea, so I took it apart and now they are cosy in the front of the run with the tarpaulin as protection. I just hope they let Poppy and Rocky through to the coop, and that it doesn’t blow too hard…


Chook yard with the brooding run.


Hello Ollys!

2014-09-06 07.17.46-chooks -yoghurt2014-09-06 07.21.05 dolly eating again

The thing with us commuters in winter is that we never get to see where we live till after daylight saving. So I feel especially special to have been out of work for two months, also because otherwise I wouldn’t have known what was wrong with Dolly until she had keeled over.

After being employed again, I was completely shocked the whole first week I was back commuting. I don’t know why as I have done it the last six years. But seeing my garden and chooks this morning made me feel like I was on holiday. Cool!

It sure looked like Dolly had her appetite back when she came running out of the coop with Polly. She even did her little stamp stamp stamp dance, after which she crouches so I can pat her. Do any of your chooks do that? She hadn’t done it since we went to the vet so another good development!

And I even think she’s laying again because there were two eggs in the nest one day last week and that’s even a bit many for uberchook Polly…

God it’s good to have a weekend!!!

So have a good weekend!20140906 eating yoghurt

Goodbye Molly!

   2014 April 12 Molly to the left

Molly sadly died on 7 July 2014. And if before January this year,someone had told me I would be sad because a chook had passed away, I  would have been mildly amused. But I was sad when Molly flew the coop to free-range in heaven. Very sad indeed!

2014 June 25 getting you to eat

Trying to get Molly to eat from a container while her friend Dolly munches away from the chooketeria.

I had noticed Molly was not quite right in the beginning of June. She was gasping for air when eating so I spent some time observing her and thought her throat was hurting. One of my books on chooks – I believe the River Cottage one said: Go to the vet when in doubt and think of it as set up costs. So I went to the vet around the corner after phoning if they treated chickens.

At the vet I set Molly on the counter in her cat carrier while about six different dogs strolled around the waiting room. They belonged to the staff and probably wouldn’t have harmed Molly, but I didn’t want to take the chance. When the lady vet called us in we nervously got Molly out of the cage. I told her what I thought was the problem and added: “It’s not gapeworm.” I had done my research you see and gapeworm comes up as the most common cause why chooks gasp for air as it affects the lungs. As Molly only gasped for air after eating quite a few seeds or grains, it probably wasn’t gapeworm.

The lady vet left and when she came back she said that because her colleague and google had advised her that it probably was gapeworm after all and that was how they were going to treat Molly. She just needed to  google some more to find out how to administer the treatment. Stunned I stared at Molly who was joyfully scratching the wood shavings on the bottom of the cat carrier and tok tokking away with me. Barnevelders are great chatters I find. Not gasping for air, not sick.

I went outside and saw the two vets studying the computer information and told them that Molly definitely did not have gapeworm and that I was going to take her away if that was how they were going to treat her. After being told that the chicken anatomy is quite complicated, I suggested that they might at least have a look in her throat. And after one vet looked at the other as if to say: “Had’t you done that?” they came and had a look. To be fair, the lady vet did apologise about three times. They found -surprise, surprise – that Molly’s throat was infected and they gave her two injections the next three days.

2014 June 27 I am not going to the vet On day three – chickens are definitely not stupid as I learnt on day two trying to catch Molly for about an hour   – I had a strategy. Molly was the last one still in the run and I was simply going to scoop her up when she went out. Except she did not go out, funnily enough, until I went away and chased some sparrows from stealing their food. She then in great haste left the fort and scurried behind the trees. So I postponed our vet visit till much later that day. And to give the vets some credit, they were very nice about that.

Molly did seem to improve for a while the following week but when Wim and I were away for the weekend, she passed away on Monday 7 July. She died a hero. On Sunday afternoon around five o’clock our neighbour came to close the coop and run and Molly didn’t want to go in so our neighbour came back around 7.30 at night with a torch. A car was parked alongside our property and a guy had already gotten out and was about to go up our driveway. As soon as they saw our neighbour they drove off. How’s that for a heroic act on your deathbed! Thank you Molly!!

2014 April 23 dustbath

Somehow Molly was always in the middle.

Somehow Molly was always in the middle.

Free-ranging with Dolly at the back.

Free-ranging with Dolly at the back.

First egg for Polly

Just a quick update that Polly has joined the Netherlands as a winner. The NL against Chile.  Polly with her first perfect brown egg. Tasting test soon!



Desert dust bath

Chooks created a dust bath

Hmmm I thought I planted some leeks there…

So I walked into the vegetable garden – or should I say chook garden? – and we were having some serious sun after days and nights of rain.

And I saw a bunch of feathers where I thought I’d planted leeks.

The girls were having a communal bath like in Japan but without the water. Does this reveal their desert origins?

I find it fascinating how they always huddle together – safety in numbers but I don’t think I am cut out to be a chicken.

I am writing this at night – insomnia – and I don’t mind my cat Wilma sitting next to me on the couch and requiring when are we going to be joining snoring Wim again? But to have two humans around me all the time would just make life a bit too claustrophobic for moi…

Is everything about safety for chooks? Out there in the desert you’d have to have eyes in the back of your head so I guess it makes sense!

Some thoughts I’m having:

  • I really need to fence off one of the raised beds off if we ever want to eat a leek or any kind of vegetable again
  • Who takes the lead in creating a dust bath and will they leave it at one? Or do they create them all over the place…
  • They look pretty happy!
Chooks enjoying the sun after so many days of rain rain rain...

Girls just wanna have fun!

Resting is important after a dustbath.

We love our life!

Shadecloth turned rainshelter


After coming home at 11am I found chooks inside the coop as no  shade from trees so need to get a shadecloth as top priority. Luckily I had a tarpaulin so I threw it over their run and now 4pm looking pretty cosy as it started to rain here just now…