The first week

Our new girls arrived a week ago tomorrow … and what a change. Not only in the weather, but in all sorts of other ways too. When they arrived, the ex-batts – Milly, Molly and Mandy – were merciless to the bantams … and they’ll still take a peck or two, but generally the two groups keep out of each other’s way. After the first night or two, all the hens found their way to safety at night with little help from us – even if a few of the Moppets ended up in the lower nest box (last night, only one of them needed lifting into the Cube after dark, so they’re getting there).

We’ve also settled into a daily routine of putting the Moppets on to grass and leaving the ex-batts in the Run. The ex-batts aren’t anxious to get onto the grass, and indeed, would only scratch it up, while the Moppets like to eat the grass and do very little by way of excavation work (probably because of the feathers on their toes!). So everyone is happy. However, we’re realising we need to make some more permanent arrangement by which the Pekins can have access to the grass in safety – at the moment they are only contained by some plastic fencing. They need a feed station, some shelter and shade if they are to spend any time out there.

So I have a new project … a fox-proof, bantam sized hen run.

I have spent several hours researching the options … another fruit/veg cage, reinforced with wire? But we don’t want another permanent structure in the garden. We could purchase a rabbit run (the ones I’ve found seem poor quality or overpriced) or even a purpose built Walk In Run (WIR) … but money is in short supply just now. I could build something … although I’d have to be careful to find the least expensive supplies I’d need. But that’s probably the answer.

I have neither the range of, nor the ability with, power tools that blog friend Lauren has … I can’t even saw a piece of wood straight … but I know my limits so can design something I know I’m capable of. And I have something in mind. I’m not sure I know how to describe it, and nor am I certain just how it will work, so you’ll have to bear with me for a while. I can’t even get started quite yet … it’s Easter weekend, and we’re away for a few days mid-month so it must wait until we’re home again … but the plan is a flexible, safe space for the Moppets, with room for a coop of some description. I hope it will be sufficient as a permanent home for them, one that we can move easily from place to place so they always have a supply of fresh grass. It won’t be pretty … just practical, utilitarian, using some supplies I already have to hand.

We didn’t plan to have bantams, so whatever I build needs to be reusable in the future, too … just in case we decide never again. But that’s the thing about being a henkeeper … things are always evolving as hens come and hens go.  So watch this space … but don’t hold your breath!

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1 Comment

  1. Precious face! Fun reading about your Bantam challenge…They are beauties!

    Reply

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    Our original hen keeping adventure came to an end in January 2013, when a fox took our entire brood of hens. But don’t let that put you off … you can find the story at The Hen House Archive where there are still lots of stories, photos, and information about keeping hens I hope you'll find useful.
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