Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Chicken Diaries - Week 6

The big news for this week is that the chooks finally moved outside! They were way too big for the box and I felt like I was keeping battery chickens by continuing to keep them there.

My new coop arrived from Somerzby and it is a beauty! We built it an hour with the help of hubby's brother and sister (and myself) and then over the weekend dug up the tree stumps, filled in some dirt, lay down some pavers and put the coop into the position we wanted it in.

My daughter is playing with the chickens in that picture. That bottle with green liquid is a fly trap, and it seems to be doing quite well. There are a LOT of flies around the coop - boy do they love that chicken poop!

I managed to sell the other coop on Gumtree for the bargain price of $75. There was a lot of interest in it, and I sold it to a lady who had one chick only. I could have sold it for more!

Here are the chooks are hiding from me in the coop. Gosh they look big now!

Time for the scales!

Bubbles only put on 53g this week compared to the 70g last week. I am having my doubts about whether Bubs is a hen or a roo. Size wise, Bubs remains not the biggest, the neck feathers don't seem to be pointy and legs are not as thick as Spot's. However, Bub's head is still not fully feathered...

Cacciatore also not putting on as much as last week - 54g (same as Bubbles, really). She definitely has this feathery tuft on her head, which is rather interesting. I wonder where she gets that from? Also, I am wondering if Cacciatore is a roo, because she has been having these "fights" with Spot, which looks like roo sparring to me!

Mary put on 70g this week (compared to last week's 61g) - and her head still looks really scrawny! Her feathers are so soft compared to the others! She has difficulty climbing up the ramp compared to everyone else, and she flies around a bit more than the others.

Spot still piling on the weight, putting on 96g (compared to 93g last week). You can see his comb is a bit pinky and he is fully feathered. I keep looking at his saddle to see if he's getting some roo pattern saddle feathers (which are long and thin) but I think he's a bit young yet. He sometimes looks like he's rounding up the hens.

The kids are getting better at picking up the chooks, even my son can pick up Spot, though he prefers not to since Spot is so flappy.

I tried using the treadle (which you can see in the top picture under the nesting box) but they need to be 500g to activate it, and it would work when a few of them were standing on it, but they kept being startled by the lid closing with a bang, and would run away from the feeder. I tried propping it open but the pegs keep sliding, so for now I've just used the plastic feeder (wish I could find somewhere to hang it) and stood it on top of a terracotta pot. I have done that for the water also. The treadle is being used as food storage for now.

Flies around the coop are an issue, so I've put up a fly catcher which seems to be catching a lot of flies, but the downside is it stinks after a while. I guess between the rats and the chooks, I'm used to bad smells.

The chooks can't climb the ramp into the house yet - it seems a bit steep for them. And they are not going to bed there either, I have to manually place them there. I think I'll have to keep doing that for a little while yet till they get used to the idea of the hutch being their house. I've blocked up the nesting boxes so they don't sleep in them and dirty them, and I bought a poopa-scoop which is great for picking up the chicken poo from the sleeping area.

I have bought a Dine-a-chook waterer, to keep the water clean. The feeder seems good too, reducing spillage. The chooks throw so much food on the ground!

Royal Rooster also does a similar type of feeder/drinker, but it's a bit more expensive.

I've been thinking about planting some mint around the coop. Apparently it's good at repelling flies. I scattered a whole pack of mint seeds at the nesting box end and hopefully they will grow. Mint grows like a weed, so if it grows there that might give the chickens some nice shade and a nice smell, as well as provide some useful herb additives for cooking!

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