Saturday, 4 August 2012


I lay in bed yesterday morning at 5am (the dog-alarm was a little early!) planning what I'd need to do if I wanted to get some new chooks... by 5.15 I was in the garden dismantling the coop ready for some repairs and repainting.  The coop itself got a good clean, the roof panels came off to be repainted and the hinges replaced.  

Roof off...
Amazing the difference a new coat of paint makes!
The "temporary" run got a good clean too; the lovely Mr S is threatening to replace it with a "proper" one this summer ;o)  and this afternoon the boyf and I built a new corridor as the old one was creating a muddy mess.  I say "we", I mean "he" as I was an utter DIY disaster-area today.  I've super-sized my thumb, getting it caught in the tin snips; embellished my foreman with a rather fetching collection of cuts and scratches; impaled my heel on some steel wire and, to top it all off, seemed to attract every mosquito in a 4 mile radius.... it's not a pretty picture!  Etta looked on from the dog run, perching on the side of the old Victorian tub, and, as the afternoon was punctuated with cries of "gloves!", "mind that!", "watch out!" and "oh darling, what have you done now?" as the boyf increasingly despaired, I think she was secretly laughing at me!

The lovely Mrs B joined us for a trip up the local hatchery.  It's an odd place, eccentrically disorganised, and not all that keen to sell you a chicken if they don't think you're up to the task!  We almost gave up until we got caught up in an impromptu introduction to quail keeping (hmm, quails...), were given a couple of dozen eggs to try and finally found ourselves picking three new chooks.  I deliberately picked them from three separate flocks so that they all felt new, with no pre-existing alliances, and we came home with a Columbian Blacktail called Shakira (she's Columbian after all), a Gold-laced Wyandotte bantam called Goldie (not particularly inspired but there's a theme here) and an Old English Game bantam called Tiny (Tempah) after the hissy fit she threw when we finally got hold of her; the irony being that we chose her because she looked to calm!  The Rock (or is that Rap) Chicks are in town  :o) and Etta (now Etsy Betsy according to the 11yr old, I think not!) wasted no time in telling them who was boss, though in overall I think they're settling quite nicely.  The only one I need to keep an eye on is Goldie, she's being told off by everyone and is far too nice to fight back.

Shakira Shakira (are you humming the song now?)
Goldie (Lookin Hen) though when I think Goldie, I'm a little more old skool!
Tiny Tempah... not yet happy to pose for photos, at least here she's not a blur.
It is lovely to see the run alive and bustling again, even if it's in the midst of the huffing and puffing that comes with sorting out the rankings.  Having such different temperaments is going to be fun too; the bantams are much happier perching that the larger girls, Shakira will be an escape artist and Tiny is a bulldog in a very small body!  I caught her jumping almost half her height to tell Etta off for have a peck at her.

Now, about those quails... just look at those amazing eggs and the birds are so small, I'm sure there would be room for a couple in the run!

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