I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages but things got in the way. Over the summer, there were big changes in the chicken shed.
We had an old coop which has been used for many things over the years including chickens. The chicks I had purchased were fully grown but then the battery hens I rescued had moved in and took their place as the matriarchs of the coop, often bullying the young ones.
I spent hours night after night, chasing and catching various hens and putting them in the coop.
Then, when collecting the eggs, we noticed mites which I think were present because of the heat of the summer and also the multi functional uses the coop had had.
The new coop seems to take ages to be built but eventually it was ready as were the six or so new hens I had acquired.
I had originally planned my flock to all be warrens or gold lines so they couldn’t easily be told apart but the new hens were fancy so they were deposited in the new coop.
That night the new hens were in the new coop but all of the ex bats and the others were not so another round of catching and depositing resumed.
I regularly caught six to ten hens a night.
Not only that but with so many hens, we went from nine to ten eggs a day to two or three. I knew they were laying elsewhere but couldn’t for the life of me find where.
One night I went closing the coop hatch and the light from my torch picked up a single white egg- just underneath the outside of the nest box. A shine of the torch underneath revealed a dozen or so eggs. Bingo. We duly collected them from the new place daily.
Then the man I bought the six fancy hens off said he was rehoming the rest of his flock and did I want them? Erm yes please.
Well coop chaos started all over again before round one had even ended.
three 12 new hens arrived and we shut the coop and put them all in. A cockerel which had not been in the deal but also arrived and part of me was relieved that my job of rounding up the ladies was almost over. We rigged up a run on the inside of the coop hoping the settled hens would go in.
Did They? Well what do you think?
Not a chance.
Chicken chaos part three saw me running around at dusk on night one. I employed underhand, ninja like techniques and borrowed one of the children’s fishing nets.
I had taken chicken catching to the next level. I caught 10 hens and put them in the coop.
The fancy hens roosted in trees so no hope of getting them back without the farmer who, during the lightest nights, conveniently went to bed leaving me to battle coop chaos.
It did get better. Most of them go in the coop at night now (I think the cockerel helps). They also lay in the right place too which is easier for us and there has been days when we have collected 20 eggs.
There are some that still roost in the trees though and, short of getting a ladder and getting them down, there is not much I can do. Thankfully, over summer we have not seen any foxes but in summer, fox food is plentiful. I am under no illusion that they are still around and waiting.
Let’s just hope they don’t come down until after dawn or Mr Fox will probably be waiting.
I have been banned from any more hens. Oops.