Looking after chickens during the autumn/winter period is bringing challenges and worries I hadn’t originally anticipated. I’ve not yet seen a fox around here but a neighbour says they do come, and the previous owners of this house had their chickens slaughtered during the winter. This is not something I’d like to come home to after the school run. Plus shutting in time for the chickens will happen whilst I’m on the school run. Especially when the clocks go back.
What could I do? I was getting quite anxious. (Funny how attached I’ve become to them.)
Well, we got a quote to have an area of land (formerly the pig pen) fenced with galvanised mesh. Yep, predictably, that was far too expensive. The cheapest option, and one I wasn’t keen on, was electric fencing. I was worried how it would look, I was worried it wouldn’t work, I was worried about children touching it, or the cat. But in the end my wish to keep the chickens safe become too strong, so I researched it and ordered it. And now it’s up in a temporary spot before we sort the pig pen area out.
The chickens were not happy. They couldn’t get to the pond, to the front of the house, they couldn’t knock on the door with their beaks and ask for a grape or two. They swore at me and paced about. I pointed out to them they had a huge area of land still to scratch about in. But they carried on swearing. I gave them gifts of sweetcorn and that placated them for a while. But then I had the bright idea of making the area more interesting for them, and that seems to have settled them down.
I found an old bird table which I’ve laid on its side as an outside perch. I’ve also used a large crate as shelter and put large sheets of wood and metal up against their coop to give them shelter when it rains.
The things you do. (But on the positive side no more chicken poop outside the front door!)
The other thing that has unsettled them though, is the addition of two more chickens. Yep, Edwina and Viola (pictured) have arrived. And then, woah, I got to see the shake down of the pecking order in full swing. It was quite distressing. But over a week later things have settled down. Viola is settling in but Edwina is being occasionally chased and pecked. Funnily enough by the two who were previously at the bottom of the pecking order.
So now we have eight. With five laying.
I’m well on my way to getting to my ideal of about sixteen. But I need to buy another chicken coop first…the current one is at its max.