The sun is shining and we’re busy. busy, busy here. In a few weeks we should complete on our new house. The chain has collapsed twice already so this is a huge relief – time now to pack and be ready to move. We’re only headed 2 miles up the road to a different village that is closer to the Smallholding, but the move itself I am dreading. Children, chickens, and cats being the main difficulties!
Gabriel is very excited about the move. The garden is better suited for us, he gets a huge Summerhouse as a playroom, and he has big plans for his new bedroom. However, he’s still finding it stressful and the changes have meant nightmares and lots of sleeping in our bed this past week or so. I’m sure once we’ve moved this will settle down, but for now sleepless nights seem to be the norm again.
The cats should be fairly easy. Gary has been bribing the semi-feral boy daily to come for a cuddle and food so that we can scoop him up and the two girls won’t be a problem at all. The chickens will mainly need to be quickly secured in the new garden to stop them escaping. On one side we have a 6 foot fencing, so not a problem.
At the far end of the garden – where we plan for the chickens to go – it backs onto open fields (with an amazing view of Snowden) and only a 4ft wall. That will be the area to tackle! I want to make it hen-safe and fox-proof, but also we don’t want to lose that lovely view. In the end I’ve told Gary that’s his task to sort. I’ll hang Gabriel’s wallpaper (anime cats…) and he can work out the chicken containment logistics.
Since we are moving we won’t be carrying out some of our usual Spring jobs this year. Once the weather dries out we tend to clean all the woodchip from the run and replace it with fresh, deep clean the coop and area, and make sure the run itself is structurally sound. We will give the coop a deep clean when we move, but the run will be collapsed down for the move and any repairs carried out once moved.
We will be worming and lice treating the flock this week. We’re also adding in more entertainment to the run – dangling cabbages etc – as one of the girls is becoming a bit of a feather pecker. Both Hen Solo and Buff have some missing neck feathers at the front and we suspect Little John is the culprit. If purple spray and more entertainment don’t work we’ll use a beak bit on her for a few months.
I suspect they are all fed up of not being able to come out into the garden – with Avian Flu restrictions remaining in place – but soon they should taste freedom again and be less fractious as a result.
Over on the smallholding Gary will also be replacing the entire roof of the chicken run as the storms ripped away the covering. The winds we’ve had here the past 3 months don’t seem to have stopped! Almost all our garden and smallholding repairs seem to be wind related at the moment.
Usual Spring-Time Tasks
- Deep clean coops and runs. Use dry disinfectant under areas with woodchip and and in wooden coops.
- Worm and lice treatment for the whole flock. Whether you use Flubenvet or Verm-X it is a good time to treat the flock. We also treat the whole flock with lice powder in the Spring and again at the end of the Summer preventatively.
- Check for Winter storm damage on runs and housing and fix up any problem areas.
- Add wooden eggs to the next boxes to help guide new layers. I also do this is we ever get an egg-pecker in the flock.
- Add sun shade areas to permanent runs. Soon it won’t be the wind and rain the flock are avoiding, instead they will need areas to shelter from the sun – we hope!