We have had our chicken for approx one year. And they were at point of lay when we recioeved them (so approx 4-5 months old). Anyway we were getting between 2-3 eggs per day from our 3 Isa Browns. Then without warning, no eggs or maybe a single egg. We notice some feathers around the place. What is it, a mite, lice, do I bath it or visit the vet?
No, chickens molt. They shed old feathers and grow new ones. During this time they stop producing eggs and put all their energy into feathers. Apparently we need to give them some more protein (bug patrol needed). Anyway we are still getting a single egg a day so one is still leaying.
Yesterday (Wed 2nd Sept) we had our first sitting of a snake. Last summer we were told there was a snake seen out the front of our property but we never saw it. Two days ago my neighbour came up to me while gardening to tell me that they have seen a snake out front, she had run over it but it slithered off.
The snake probably disturbed as we had our ‘slasher’ guy over and he does the front as well. It didn’t worry me too much, but yesterday afternoon the girls got off the bus and were walking down the lane towards our house and I heard my eldest shriek, so I went out and she said snake. The snake looked at them so they weren’t moving. I told them to step back and I got in the car and drove over the snake, the girls quickly getting into the car. Even thou the snake had been run over twice (I assume it is the same one out neighbour had told me about) it slithered away.
The snake was approx one metre in length. The funny part about this being the girls had no problem touching a snake last Saturday when we were shopping and a wildlife handler had a snake in the Gungahlin shopping centre. In the flesh without a handler it is quite scary, especially since everyone here has been telling us about the King Browns and Tiger snakes, and how these snakes are not afraid of people. So I am forever telling the girls to wear shoes not only for snakes but also because of the many red backs we have around the place – maybe now they will take more notice.
If I can get a picture I will try, although I am not keen to get out there searching for a snake. Anyway despite the grass slashing causing the snake to appear, the place does look quite nice – like having a haircut it feels all fresh and light.
Sorry have not blogged for a while, I will be doing some catching up next weekend. But there is something I do have to tell you about.
Chickens like eggs. I did know that from reading about this in magazines and books, but I have now witnessed it for the first time.
This egg eating by the chickens occured yesterday (Monday) and it has to do with the structure build and the location of the chicken coop.
Chicken coop structure. We have two small latches (one on each side) where we can remove the eggs, but at present the coop is located against some bales of straw (I use straw as the boundaries of my vege patches). The position of the coop is my future strawberry patch. So on Monday the chickens laid their eggs on the opposite side to where I could get easy access. Normally this is not really an issue as we just gently knock the eggs (using a piece of wood) across to where we can pick them up. This time we cracked one of the eggs. It was a free for all, the chickens raced to it and started to devour it. Luckily we got the other two eggs out.
Now my understanding is that the chickens should not get the taste for eggs, if they do they will start to eat them all the time. So today Lee-Ann is going out every hour or so and grabbing the eggs, so far she has two of the three we normally get. My thought being if we go a few days removing the eggs straight away we should be OK. Otherwise it may be stock for them.
On Saturday arvo, there were dozens of little spiders floating thru the sky with their webs. And as I was working down the back planting a new grevillia in the waste area I had quite a few land on me. Anyway the next morning I took the dog out and there were literally hundreds of webs everywhere. In the early dew and frost it looked impressive.
just an update to say how the chooks love eating mice – they went mad over a couple of mice that ran into the pen when we were moving hay bales. i moved some bales today and saw 2 huge mice but the cats were too slow to get them. apparently a mice plague is building so i better get stuck into controlling these and not rely on my animals to do it. apart from mice traps any other ideas? we had the yass show on the weekend so will publish some photos later on.
Well it has been a year since we got our kitten Pixie, and it has been a rough year with this crazy cat but now she is finally come into her own as a great mouse catcher. every day she is bringing mice up to the deck and dropping them in her food bowl. The mice are breeding in the hay bales we used around the vege patches so she sits up there and waits. she doesn’t always get hungry enough to eat it all and yesterday she only ate the tail and left the rest in her bowl – disgusting!!!. So despite all my complaints about this cat to my girls who love her this cat has now grown on me.
Yes we now have three isa browns in the coop. They seem healthy and are scratching around, bought from a local breeder and are at point of lay, he did mention that they will take a week or two before they start laying. It is actually fairly exciting, it is one of those defining moments for us. The kids are interested and today we spent a good hour sitting out there watchingthem and seeing if we can pick their personalities.
So yea we did do some things during the break. The first was a chicken coop. This is a 4 sided coop, 90cm high, 3metres long and 1.2 metres wide.
The back half has a roof on a hinge that provides access to the coop itself, and there is another smaller door in the other half. There is a drawbridge style door that when raised locks the birds in their nesting area for the nite, when lowered they can roam in the rest of the enclosure. The reason for the size is that Lee Ann and I can move it and that it fits reasonably well on the vege patches.
So for construction most of it was using scrap wood from around the place and we had to buy the external ply.
The basic frame.
Here the sides are getting placed on the coop
With the main roof towards the back, and the smaller access point at the front
With the drawbridge up
The drawbridge down
The first vege bed to be hit by the chooks
Now we will be getting 3 Isa Browns for egg production and a bit of weeding. Hopefully they will arive this week and we will be getting these at point of lay (approx 20 weeks old). Lee Ann wanted one point made, that it is heavy to move, but can be done with two people.
Well next door where the photo of the cria was taken (earlier post) there are also three ewes who have been pregnant. Two days ago Lee-Ann had noticed that one of them had given birth and there was the addition of a lamb. Well today when Lee-Ann and I were going for a walk around the block, wine in hand, I noticed that the other ewe had just given birth and there were now two additional lambs (we missed it by only minutes). The ewe was concentrating on cleaning one, but the other lamb, being ignored was getting headbutted by one of the others everytime it tried to stand up.
So after watching for a few more minutes to see if the lamb was OK – and obviously its mother had forgotton about it, Lee-Ann went to the people that own the animals down the street to inform them of this.
By the time we got back the little abandoned lamb had attached itself to the cria “sherry” as its mum. Anyway when the owner got there she picked up the weak little one which she said had not even had a drink yet. But after a bit of nudging by the owner the little lamb latched on to it’s real mum, so all ended OK.
One of our aims next year was to put a bee hive in, so to claim our honey/sugar locally. Anyway Lee Ann just noticed that out front in our gum tree it appears we have a hive in one of the branch hollows. So our bee keeping plans are goingto have to bee advanced!