coopandthegang

The Adventures Of Coop & The Gang

A New Home Pt 1 October 7, 2012

A blog over two posts, two very different posts under the same title.

This first post is long overdue we moved in early June this year about 18 miles from South Oxfordshire to the North.

As a purchase it was planned but not believed, we had got as far as waiting to exchange before elsewhere. So when the call came it was a genuine surprise.

With 2 days to do it in that was it, but what about Coop & The Gang? I still worked just round the corner so a quiet week to prepare & a move the following weekend wasn’t out of the question.

My parents helped us move, Coop & The Gang were out & enjoying themselves while we packed up the van with the first load of badly loaded boxes & bags. That was soon unloaded at the other end & we’d done very well. At this point Doris has knocked an egg from the nest box & doing exactly what chickens do. I’d spotted her from a window & started wailing like a banche…this was the last thing we needed today.

Once we had tidied up we sat down & reassesed. Mostly just the garage left & some odd furniture. The bed had already gone. Well wheres the blow up so we can stay here with the girls tonight? It also dawned on us that Coop hadn’t fitted in the car to get here in the first place we’d had to use the van. Our hand was forced.

With very little prep, they’d had cider vinegar in the water & fortunately the weather has been very good that week so spirits were high.

We’d saved a big box so atleast they could all travel together & they were going with my Dad in his little truck.

We took coop apart & bar the felt roof she’d warn quiet well, surprisingly well. We counted the screws out & hoped it would go back together just as well & he’d come apart.

I sorted the bedding, the dirty from the not & bagged it up for reuse…maybe incorrectly but at least it would smell familiar.

25 minutes on the road & we’d all arrived, the girls had travelled well & seemed quite contented in a box in the truck.

We only had to botch 1 screw & added a few more for security in the deteriorating felt roof. We cleared a space & I made it as homely as I could, used bedding, cider vinegar drinking, some corn mixed in the feed & then we added the girls.

They were very happy, despite our garden having no grass. Its all decking, slabs, pebbled beds & slate.

Originally we’d ruled this house out because of no grass for the girls but one our 2nd look it was still on the market so we had a look & I stood in the garden & said I had to have this house.

The girls have never been happier, the sound of chickens running over decking is my favourite. They spend many an hour digging in the pebbles & the beds, chasing the new interesting flying bugs our new plants & trees bring. I’ve even caught Mave sat on the edge of the pond to pass the time or maybe admiring the fishes?

We have a garage with side access & an out door tap. No more chicken supplies in the living room!

We spoke to our immediate neighbours telling them of the girls & if they had any problems with the noise we would make alternative arrangements for them.

Someone else within ear shot also has chickens, sitting inside I’ve gone out a few times to see what all the fuss is about to find my girls are just snuffling in a raised bed & the hollering is the other chickens.

Its lovely, our yolks are so vibrant & they’ve never been so consistent in lay.

Happy, Happy, Happy & coop!

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It Never Rains It Pours January 1, 2012

What a December its been for weather, not the normal mizzle and drizzle for this time of year, all together quite pleasant and mild, but when the rains it blows a hoolie out there.

I don’t remember the garden being this wet last year but as I keep reminding myself I had no reason to go out into the garden this time last year & can well believe I just didn’t. Following the flooding of the garage from the rains earlier in the year we had it flushed and surprise the surprise the run off appear right in front of coop, typical.

The Chickens were the first to complain, Mave more so than her usual disapproval of the weather. They’re a funny bunch and a little rain doesn’t normally put them off but this was a storm of epic proportions, If they could save a third on their car insurance they two would have bought chest waders with the savings.

One evening I came home to three puddles in coop and the starts of a full flowing river. Eek. They were all in the hen house, mud up to their knees looking less than impressed. I’d not been doing the morning feeds as he indoors had been working from home, I was informed that three puddles and a river by torch light was much better than it looked this morning in the real day light. Right battle plan.

We head to the trade store…15 slabs, 7 bags of pea shingle and some little miniature fence later and we’ve had some idea of building a patio in the dark by torch light while the girls are asleep. We slid coop up the garden, pegged out the area with the miniature fence, filled with pea shingle and laid three slabs deep by five slabs wide & lifted Coop & The Gang back in situ within two hours, in the dark by torch light.

Considering it was in the dark and wonky as you like we were relatively impressed with our efforts even more so in the day light when it’s settled quite well and turned out not so bad.

The morning after however, no one seemed very impressed with us at all. It took Flo and Doris ten minutes to come downstairs and Mave wasn’t coming out at all. She took one look turned tail and headed straight back into the hen house. Oh no…not even some scattered corn was getting her down, I fed her in the hen house so at least she had eaten and left for work. By the end of the day she had come down and filled her tummy but she was not impressed.

Following a covering of straw and some regular corn smatterings to keep them turning the straw they seem to have come round to the idea, a nice way of keeping their nails and beaks in check, nice to be able to give them the run of the garden for earth snufflings and at least it stops me fretting when the heavens do open.

 

November Bits & Bobs November 20, 2011

 

Not a groundbreaking week for Coop & The Gang but some exciting news has lead to thoughts of pastures new & a better life for my lovely little ladies. Got my sights on a grand design with a garden focused round them.

I’ve safely boxed 12 eggs for Stir Up Sunday, the Sunday next before advent where the girls will be contributing to the preparation of the families Christmas pudding.

With this in mind they’ve had some nice treats to say thank you, mixed corn, meal worms & a peanut butter mess to keep energy levels up. It seems to be working, Im happy to announce we’re lice free & have been for a few weeks. Mave has bulked back up & dusting is on the maintenace routine for every 6 to 8 weeks in a hope we can keep them at bay over the winter weeks.

 

 

 

We’ve had fun with feeders again this week, now that is a post I do need to sit down & write. Two nights I’ve come home to the top very much unattached from the bottom. What now I’ve tried them all?

With the modifications which have happened to Coop following the last clean, the ramp has been removed for health & safety reasons. The part attaching the ramp to the hen house gets a fair amount of abuse from poo as its within aiming distance of the favoured perch & very well trampled by pooey feet.

As a result when brushed with a stiff brush part of it came away! Oh no, I broke Coop, help help help! I scurried the girls away, what if they got a toe caught, or a beak….its shiney! I found a screwdriver, took a big deep breath and tried with all my might. Phew, it came off and not such  bad thing, it needed a good clean.

What will the girls do? Can I get a box, do they need some stairs. Well the answer is no, before I’d got the removable base back in Coop Doris had hoped up and said hello. As the week has gone on it appears the girls are very capable & seemingly enjoying jumping to & from the hen house. In the morning they get points for dismount and do appear to be trianing for the olympics, Flo bunny hops down as the first awake she has no one to step on, Mave takes a little back step and then gives her best jump. Doris as the last up has to take a good run up, part avoid a feeder and either Florence or Mave, we did get a little cute wing and leg kick from her this morning. Aww.

But without the ramp there is more space in Coop so we have introduced the outside feeder I was saving for pastures new but what they hey. Its up on legs with rain hat purchased from the CLA game fair this year for a steal. Its only day two but its still intact…baby steps,baby steps. But its still clean & not pooped in….rare!

Tonight  its going to end up in every possible part it comes down to & covered in poo now I’ve said this. Oh well.

 

‘Coop’ Improvements June 19, 2011

Filed under: Keeping Chickwans — Coop & The Gang @ 7:10 pm
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Phase one of the transformations of Coop are underway, we’ve always wanted to do more for the gang and enrich their lives with Coop.

With the days getting longer and the light coming in early in the morning our girls have become very vocal. Initially I would cover the Perspex windows in the hen house with cardboard at night and this would keep the early morning squawking to a minimum, with the bad weather there hasn’t been enough cardboard to keep our windows in darkness and we’ve had the odd early morning sqwark off with the birds.

Another priority has been to maximise the space available and things to do for the girls for the hours they spend in Coop during the day so the girls have as much room to flap about as they like and things to keep them amused. We decided that the ramp to the hen house wasn’t really enough of a challenge for our girls and took up a lot of room.

Last week we found ourselves on B&Q, other DIY specialist are available, but not all offer cash back on spends! We threw around even more ideas, backed and forthed around the isles and came home with a banister post, and 18mm diam 1m wooden pole and two boot liners for a £1 each. Total spend £9. Bargain.

With the weather nice and the girls chomping at freshly mowed grass we set our respective projects. I had many elaborate ideas for the window dressing, even some little curtains with something Cath Kidson material, this was vetoed. I had thought about attaching a stainless poll above the window with screw eye hoots, with a material drop also weighted that could be hooked up onto cup hooks. On further inspection of Coop I thought this would be over kill , I toyed with Velcro rip off squares, taping up the windows. But I like the idea that day is day and night is night for the birds whether they are hanging out in the hen house or going to sleep.

Someone might have come up with the idea of creating a loop around the door in its entirety that could be removed during the day and placed over at night. That way preserving Coop with out any additional holes or strain, I don’t know whose idea it was and originally I wasn’t so keen but actually after much snapping back of the tape measure and sucking air in through my teeth it actually wasn’t such a bad idea.

I set about unpicking my £1 boot liner, waterproof, fully light proof and black. Once the sides have been removed and it was flattened out, folded and duck taped, it was wrapped around the door and secured. Ta da, fingers crossed the sqwarking and clucking will appear a little later tomorrow.

The boys project was the new ramp to the house, I was a little sceptical as he’s a do now, think later kind of man and doesn’t get called “bodge it Baxter” for no reason. I also wasn’t too on board with his idea, but actually, I’d like to eat my hat. It has been cut at both ends on the angle to make it a more direct route to the hen house with 4 18mm drilled holes at various stages on one side of the banister and four lengths of the wooden pole hammered in one side. It has received its first coat of creosote and a request has been put in for a bracket to be made up so that we can ensure its sturdy enough for the girls to use and hopefully this will be fully installed in the next week or so.

Mave took it for a test drive aided by corn and she seemed to cope very well with the challenge, but she appears to have become our most height adventurous hen, if she thinks corn is involved. She’ll flap up and sit on your knee and quite happily perch on your shoulder or your arm.

We’ve already thought of a few other things we can improve, just got to work out how! and I’ve got some treats and entertainment arriving this week and I’m still working on our food and water situation, that’s already a blog post in itself.

Never a dull moment with Coop and The Gang.