The window cleaner came yesterday – what is interesting in that you might wonder. Well actually he is a very interesting and knowledgeable man.
He rears pheasants, geese and also keeps partridges. He is a Norfolk man, and knows so much about country ways.
He asked me how I was getting on with the chickens, and we had a long conversation about things. Apparently I am doing everything right, but he made a few suggestions. – Similar things I had in mind, but slightly different.
I intended coppicing some of my trees and using them in the corners for the chickens to perch on. The window cleaner suggested that I cut down some of the tops of my conifer hedges instead, and made shelters in a couple of corner for the chooks. I had put up a windbreak as you can see in the photos – the green material – but the conifer provides shelter and cover.
So that is what I did yesterday afternoon. I made two ‘hides’, by cutting down some branches and pushing them into the ground and bending them over. They are nice little hidey holes and the bantams will love them. I am going to see if I can get some mini tyres to tuck inside and fill them with straw, as apparently fowl love snuggling down inside them – he uses car tyres for his pheasants.
I have got a few lavender bushes, a honeysuckle and a couple of rose bushes already on the inside borders of the run, and along the outside there are shrubs, climbers and perennial flowers all around, but I think that I might plant some more hedge type plants inside along the fence to give them permanent cover – I will have to do some research into that.
An idea has just sprung to mind. – A couple of years ago I made myself a willow arch – which is growing, and a couple of obelisks for clematis and climbing roses. So I could get some more willow this year, and made some out of that! They would look attractive too wouldn’t they?
The pen is next to the pergola and above it is a grape vine, so they will get shade and grapes from that in the summer. When the perimeter garden fence is repaired, ( a couple of the wooden panels have fallen down) and if the bird flu scare blows over, they will be able to free range all around the garden and snuggle up underneath the hedges like the pheasants used too.
I found out from the window cleaner why we no longer get pheasants in the garden. The reason that Cocky and Phyllis disappeared a couple of years ago apparently is because the farmer sold some land to a horse trainer – which we knew about, and there are now gallops in the field the other side of my neighbours garden – so the
farmer stopped rearing pheasants and having pheasant shoots. Mystery solved.
I can hardly move and I can hardly keep my eyes open. I spent most of the day making hides for the London Ladies. Just so that they have a natural habitat to hide in and some food and water – worst case scenario catered for!
One in the far corner made out of conifer hedge, pushed into the damp earth and made like an igloo, barley straw nest inside and peanut feeder and a tin of water.
Down the front end I started off by making a hide in each corner – then I thought it would be good if I gave them cover for the whole width – so if needs be, they could run and hide quickly all along the ‘hedge’ and escape the Carrot Crunchers.
So I added a rabbit hutch affair that I had made for temporary accommodation for the girls. This I covered in plastic, and camouflaged, added Aubiose bedding and straw around the modesty part just in case they get inspired to lay. You can just get a glimpse of it in the middle
If you click on the photos it enlarges them - you can see Freckles, Dilly,and Pumpkins head!
The hedge then continues to the corner and a big flower pot that had a chunk broken out of the side (I knew it would come in handy one day), turned upside down to make a little house, with straw bedding. Another igloo of conifer and evergreen laurel, and a tin of layers mash and water with more hedges pieces to make a protective barrier.
Oh goodey, no one can see us now!
The London Ladies loved it, and soon snuggled down dust bathing and chatting. When I let out the other three they searched but couldn’t find them – so the girls felt nice and safe. Even when the Carrot Crunching trio were locked in the run the little ‘uns were happy to just wander around the hedge.
Adelaide, Ginger, and KoKKo, the Carrot Crunchers, trying to see where the London Ladies are - they never found them!
The new run extension arrived this afternoon, and Pat helped me add it. The London Ladies were put back in the run and they looked lost in such a huge space. They revelled in being in there on their own, kicked up the Aubiose again, did the soft shoe shuffle, rolled in it, dusted in it, ate and chatted. They are there now. Adelaide, KoKKo and Ginger, are outside the run and having a field day digging their way to Australia as I had raked the run so they just have to scratch it all up again to explore.
The egg port is open for them to roost and Pumpkin, Dilly and Freckles will no doubt roost on the broom handle perch high up in the run. I will very gently peel them off when it is pitch black outside and put them in the Eglu with the other trio.
Phew what a day. Tomorrow I will be up early again, but not feeling so anxious. It is such a huge responsibility when you have been entrusted with, and adopted three tiny little bantams, to ensure that their transition to our little flock goes as smoothly as possible.