Monday, 4 August 2014

Completly Chickened Out

I feel that the last week or so has been dominated by chickens. It started a while ago with Molly (No. 2 chicken) stopping laying eggs. Realising that Milly is likely to stop laying soon caused some food for thought. The options were to get rid of the girls but to who? Who would want two old girls and no eggs! Kill them - don't worry neither of us are capable of that! So that only leaves us with the option of keeping them but Mr P felt frustrated with keeping them and having no eggs. Should say that they may live another 5 years as they are 5 years old at the moment (roughly). I did read of one chicken living till she was 20!  After much deliberation we opted to buy some more girlies to add to the old birds! BUT we need a new house as the old one is a bit likes the girls no much use! So after spending ages researching on the internet and becoming an expert on house prices I eventually I opted to buy one second hand from Gumtree.

But come on life can never be that easy - the house was in Yorkshire and we decided at the last minute to buy it, as Mr P had an emergency dental appointment and had to go to Leeds for this (that's where our dentist is). So at 17:30 on a Tuesday Mr P is phoning up van hire companies, just minutes before they shut, trying to get one for 8am the next day. After some nail biting moments he finally tracked down a van big enough to hold the new chicken house. Early Wednesday morning he drops me off at work and then proceeds to Melton Mowbray to hire the van. BUT when he gets there he realises the van he has hired is not big enough! There was some confusion with sizes by the time he had rang so many companies! Enterprise were brilliant and the sorted him out with another van, only trouble was it was in Nottingham! They let him drive the small van to their other branch and permit him to bring the big van back to Melton the next day. We have to say a big thank you to them for their helpfulness. As you may imagine this took up a bit of time and Mr P 's dental appointment was at 12:20, what with roadworks on the M1 and driving slower, my poor hubby had rather a stressful journey wondering if he would make his appointment in time. Thankfully he arrived with just a few minutes to spare, had his tooth fixed and then made his merry way over towards York. The collecting of the house was quite easy once he had negotiated the van down a farm track. Amazingly he got back to Leicester in time to collect me from work - what brilliant timing. We get home and out comes the house BUT oh no we cannot get it through the garden gate! We can get it through the front door but not through any other doors! What are we going to do? Only one option left - it has to go over the garden wall. So a few days later with the help of several burly men from church the house was on the move again.

Here are the men debating how they are going to tackle this house.
 Here goes , up, up, up. Looking at the picture you'd think the house could go through the gate!

Should say that the house is heavy, two can lift it.

After a drink and a cake the electronic geeks studied the handbook. This house comes with a sensor. It detects when it is getting dark and closes the hatch. In the morning it detects the light and opens it up! Wow - not have to race out of bed in the morning to let the girlies out.

Ta dah the new house. It is actually called a "Long Legged Hobby Hen House" made by a company calles Flyte So Fancy. I love the little heart window! They make some lovely houses - there's a gorgeous gypsy caravan style house. I would have loved that one but don't think the bank manager would have agreed.

OK so we have the house, the old girls but where to get the new birds. Sadly my vet friend hadn't got any new girls to sell and he was not sure when he would have some more. Oh dear. So more trailing through the internet to track down a place in Towcester - ironically the same town where the old girlies came from. A huge garden centre called Belle Plantation sells chickens as well as everything else! Amazing place and apparently going to get bigger next year. A young chap called Chris sorted me out with three new girls and he kindly put rings on their legs so that we can tell the new girls apart.

Here they are! Ready to be transferred into their new home.

First one out is Miss Moneypenny.  Character from James Bond Films. I'm wearing the gloves because we sprayed them with some horrible smelling stuff that is supposed to stop their feathers being pecked.

Here is Miss Marple. Character from Agatha Christie Novels. Here she is being sprayed.

Finally let me introduce to Miss Mountshaft. She is a character from The Good Life.

We put them in the house to let them settle and then plan to add the old girlies when it was dark.

Meanwhile Milly and Molly can sense, smell and hear the new girls and know something is up!

So in the pitch black Mr P and myself are transferring the chickens and then moving the new house over to the chicken side of the garden. I felt like a child all excited wondering what would happen. But as they couldn't see each other it was all very quiet. I went to bed like a child does on Christmas Eve - waking up early wondering what would happen when they see each other for the first time. At 05:30 I am up and there was some pecking but not much. But I did feel sorry for my neighbours as Milly decided to make such a noise to assert herself! Usually they are fairly quiet with the odd bit of sqwaking.

Currently they are ok with each other as long as they do not meet up and then the old girlies assert their authority by chasing them away. I was worried that Milly and Molly would bully them and not let the new girlies eat but that has not been a problem. The trouble occurs at bedtime and the old girls do not want to share the house! First night we encouraged them all into the house. Last night one new girl went in but we found two others roosting elsewhere and so we had to manually put them to bed. Hopefully they will become more confident and tell the old girls to get lost. The new girls are like teenage boys - you know getting through masses of food! Golly I'm soon going to have to get some more pellets. They are on the point of lay (POL) and apparently when they do lay they should be achieving 300 eggs a year! Well I must shut up and get on with some work. Well done if you've made it to the end of this blog!

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