Welcome to the grand opening ceremony! What an exciting event we have here today! You may not know what all the fanfare is about but you will in a minute. Alright, everyone get ready – here come the VIPs!

That’s right, folks, today you have the privilege of witnessing the official opening of the second chicken pen, henceforth to be known as The Cedar Pen. (Unless the cedar tree gets the chop. But it won’t for now.) This event is the culmination of months of tree pruning, ivy clearing, stump removing, fencing, old fort sawing and nailing, raking and rubbish removing. Countless hours have been spent preparing this place for the chickens. A proper job has been done of it. No temporary pens over here anymore. Not only do the chickens now have an alternate pen to give the other one time to recover, a decent chunk of the garden has been ‘dealt with’. It has gone from one of the bushy, overgrown corners that I was hoping to avoid for a while, to a useful area. I would like to plant some more chicken-friendly, non-escape-promoting plants in there at some point, but that is more of a fun job for later.

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The Cedar Pen is on the left of the garage and carport.
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There was a lot of wire netting in this project.

And now for a little history of the chicken pen area to see how far it’s come in two years:

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When we acquired the property, there was a mish-mash fort and a lot of bushy stuff over there in the corner.

For the record, rubbish findings in this area, aside from the usual and numerous pieces of plastic and twine, included a ball, a frisbie, a hunk of black plastic sheeting, a pair of half-degraded undies, a plastic container, a dinosaur figurine, a collection of shiny, flat blue marbles and a stainless steel set of two cups and one plate.

The chickens are absolutely loving having new ground to dig around in and a new place to explore. Mary and Georgiana were late to the proceedings. Contrary Mary got scared and that scared Georgiana, so they scuttled to and from the coop to the orchard until I closed off The Orchard Pen. Those two make each other bonkers sometimes. It is just lovely to be able to watch the feather children out the window, all happy. Except for the rainy part. The next lot of rain has hit us, bringing more surface flooding. Yikes! Thank goodness I finished the pen when I did. At least I won’t be worrying so much about their feet now that they’re away from the old, decimated, poopy, wet ground of The Orchard Pen. Jane is so excited about the new pen that she was still foraging in the steady rain yesterday.

 

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Frodo and chicks discover the new pen.

 

The other day, The Husband was asking what all my chickens names are. He got a bit lost somewhere along the way after the Bennet girls started to appear. I rattled off my Pride and Prejudice crew: Mr Bingley, Jane, Lizzie, Mary, Kitty, Lydia and Georgiana. “Now, I just need a Mr Darcy”, I said, with a smile. He knew that I might already have a Mr Darcy in a little chick that I like to call PB.

“What about Mr Collins?” He said.

“I don’t want a Mr Collins!” I replied.

“Haven’t you already got a Mr Collins?”

Pause.

“Yes! No! Oh, no…”

The other chick, Lydia’s ‘Junior’, is almost certainly a boy, and is totally a Mr Collins. He’s a nutcase! The temporary name ‘Junior’ has all but disappeared because I can’t stop thinking of him as Mr Collins now. I have been mostly handling the chicks during the day but have moved to evening handling because chickens are more calm in the evening. A couple of nights ago I got Mr Collins out of the coop for some handling and he screamed blue murder, disturbing all the other chickens and quite possibly the neighbours. I got a bit of a shock after having just handled PB, who was nice and calm. I took Mr Collins away and even took him in the house for a little while to give him some decent handling. Most of the time he cheeped loudly, “Cheeeeeep, cheeeeeep!” He is almost 6 weeks old and is not sensible at all.

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Mr Collins has his mouth open because he’s cheeping, of course. Settle down, dude!
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PB is lovely AND pretty.

Now that I have completed The Cedar Pen, I’m not quite sure what to do next. As in, there are so many things that need to be done I barely know where to start. I have trimmed the hedge along the front fence, started weeding, harvested more walnuts and figs and made hot cross buns. And now I must get going, for the weeds are mocking me, the fruit trees need more discipline, there’s an barren plum tree to fell and the vege garden needs some love. Oh wait, there’s an ex-tropical cyclone coming. This morning I awoke to the news that yesterday’s surface flooding was just from a rain band and the actual storm was hitting this afternoon/evening and was purported to be a 50-year storm. It now sounds like it might not be as bad where we are but I’m still praying! There are poor people on the east coast still suffering from the damage of last week’s flooding who are in the line of the storm. Ok, I’ve battened down the hatches. Time to tackle some indoor tasks and projects. Opening Ceremony over!

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6 thoughts on “The Opening Ceremony

  1. I love the Cedar Pen! It’s so lovely, and I know the chickens are enjoying it so much! So… now that PB and Junior have real names… what are you going to do about Mr. Collins? Does he stay, too, or will he find a new home somewhere else? They are both beautiful, handsome boys. I’d have a hard time letting go. But then, you know how much I love the roos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Well, Mr Collins is a little nutcase already so there’s no way I’m keeping him. He’s the most struggly, scared, noisy and difficult chick I’ve had. Even if he wasn’t, I’m aiming towards purebreds now. The point of a Mr Bingley-Lydia hatching was to get good egg layers, i.e. females. So, there’s really only one place Mr Collins is going….
      PB, on the other hand, is the polar opposite to Mr Collins, being the friendliest chick I’ve hatched. The thing is, day by day I’m becoming increasingly suspicious that PB is a girl! Either way, PB has a special place in my heart so he/she isn’t going anywhere. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh. It’s hard to tell with Australorps, too. I had a couple girls as big as their hatch brothers, too. Good luck! I hope PB is really a Mr Darcy. I had a nutcase Australorp rooster like Mr. C. We didn’t keep him, either.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, it can be hard to tell with certain ones. I thought I had gotten the hang of it pretty well with mine, by the time they’re 6-7 weeks anyway, but PB is of new genetics so he/she is tricksy! But there are always a couple that play hard to tell. Like The Smoky Chick. I will have to take some photos of the chicks. Any male offspring of Lydia’s was bound to be a nutcase so I was really hoping Mr Collins would be a girl!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the Cedar Pen/Palace – looks amazing 🙂 The chickens look pretty excited by their new accommodation. Hope the rain is kind to you and you don’t get too much lying about. Cyclones are such pains – if they’re not blowing things down, then they’re dumping rain just where and when you don’t want it. Hope you’ve been escaping the worst of it. I’m totally envious that you’ve made your own hot cross buns – it’s one of those jobs I think about doing every year then never quite get around to it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂 We were very fortunate in that the cyclone didn’t affect us much in the end. The surface flooding rose again for the third time in 1 1/2 weeks and it will take a while for the ground to deal with all the soggyness, but we weren’t trapped or in danger of the house flooding. We also didn’t get any of the severe winds that caused damage and power cuts along the east coast. So we are very grateful!

      The breadmaker does the hot cross bun dough for me so it’s not tooooo time consuming. But the bun-rolling and cross-making parts do require careful consideration of small child-related timing factors.

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