Yes, another post about chickens. Believe it or not, I am still knitting. Very slowly. The Little Fulla may have his jersey finished before winter is over… And the garden is growing weeds rather well at the moment. But for now, it is all about the babies. The feather babies. It is getting so close to hatching time for Frodo! I wonder if she is as excited as I am. I wonder if she knows her sitting time is almost over. I didn’t get as much preparation done on the weekend as I wanted to, because we were out a lot with a birthday lunch and church and when we were at home, with time to spare, the weather was not cooperative. We did get some things done though.
We picked up the hay for spreading in the run.
The Husband made a new, wider ramp for the coop. The old one was narrower than the pop hole, meaning there were little gaps on either side of the hole that little chicks could have dropped off. We’ll see how they go with the ramp.
Didn’t I do that already? Yes, but I had to re-sweep the concrete in front of the woodshed since the chickens, and mostly I, made a mess of it again. I got a bit distracted poking around under there where the rain couldn’t get me, after discovering that the concrete goes further into the run than I thought it did. It may even go right under the run with just a big layer of dirt on top but I stopped shoveling at the gate line because my curiosity was an unnecessary tangent and I needed to tidy up my mess.
The new pen:
I put some stakes in for the chicken wire and removed some of the branches in the pen, in the rain, but we didn’t get time to do the chicken wire. Fortunately, The Husband finished work early today and we got a bit of the chicken wiring done before The Little Fulla got awkward.
I cleared the wood shavings out of two of the nesting boxes to set up food and water stations for the chicks and Frodo in them. I cut a cardboard insert to fit inside each nesting box to make things easier to keep clean. One will contain the little water bell and one the small feeder. I cleaned and disinfected the water bell and feeder.
Things left to do:
- Hay: Spread it in run.
- Food stations: Fill water bell and feeder and place in nesting boxes.
- Chicken pen: Finish setting up chicken wire and remove rest of the hungus mountain of branches and rubbish.
One other very important but non-chick-related thing we got done was the Elrond tasks. We caught the rooster. Yuss! I purchased a long-handled fishing net not too long ago, which is my new chicken catching device. It worked with Sam and we caught Elrond with it too, after herding him into the run with less space to escape. At one point he got out of the hole in the net, kindly (infuriatingly) provided by a stupid rat or mouse while it was innocently stored in the garage. I will have to try and fix it somehow. Anyway, we got Elrond on the next go and I held him while The Husband did the tasks. I had showed The Husband a YouTube video beforehand of how to clip wings so he knew what we needed to do. The Husband also fitted the crow control collar around his neck. Once I was holding him, Elrond was surprisingly quiet. Towards the end I was just about to remark how good he was when The Husband got a little peck. I guess Elrond didn’t like having something put around his neck. He really was rather good though, easier to hold than Sam.
The wing clipping was really easy, it was just cutting the right wing feathers in the right place with a pair of scissors. The crow control collar, which is just a blue nylon strap with velcro for fastening, was fitted around his neck, with his long hackle feathers placed over top of the collar. He sure has a lot of feathers. You can’t even see the collar on him. I just need to keep an eye on him to make sure it stays fitted correctly. After releasing him I watched him for a while to make sure he was ok. He went backwards a few times and then the rain started up again and Elrond spent quite a while hiding under the coop trying to peck the weird thing off his neck.
When I checked Elrond later he was walking around like normal. The next morning he crowed for the first time with his collar on. The collar definitely makes his crow quieter, which is important since the new pen will have him closer to the house of one of our neighbours. It makes his crow sound more hoarse. If we didn’t have neighbours so close I would leave him to have his full, majestic crow, but I want to be courteous. And he has been particularly noisy lately without Frodo’s company. Or anyone’s sometimes. He crowed less in general today and Sam and Legolas seemed to be with him more. Maybe it subdued his nuttiness a little! Otherwise he seemed normal. I wonder how he’ll act when Frodo starts moving around again but with wee babies in tow…