Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mighty Hens of Valor! which our plucky heroine deals with predators of the four legged type...

well #%&! something got into the chicken house last night, after I shut them in for the night, made an unsuccessful attempt at henicide, and then left the chicken house somehow... Based on the amount of feathers in the disrupted henhouse interior, apparently some varmint attempted to grab a chicken. But was not successful. Yay for Mighty Hens of Valor! Boneclaw Mother is missing chunks of her rear feathers at least visibly, but I can't get close enough to them to see if there is any other damage. (only other explanation is that the hens went berserk after they were asleep, which seems highly unlikely...)

I am going to spend today figuring out how to better lock up the chicken house. While my first thought was: probably with some eye bolts and carabiners, on further cogitation, I realised I could use the metal shower curtain clips and split rings in the hardware stash, and use one of the lengths of rebar (already on hand for fence panel uprights) to bar the sliding chook door.

Now mind, I still needed to hie over to the hardware store to get eye bolts that were the correct inner diameter, but that was not a huge budget breaker, and only took a few hours there and back. Fortunately it was a rare clear dry day, which made using the electric drill and the 50 ft extension cord a safe option, and I returned from my shopping with plenty of time to cobble together more resistant closures:
Hopefully even tiny varmints with thumbs can't pull the rebar out of the eyebolts...
... and... whist improving chook door security, it seemed prudent to add locking latches to the back panel door as well (though I've never seen any clue of varmint activity there) so I added two hasps, and a combination of shower curtain clips and split rings to further secure the other entrance on both sides.

I really need to get my butt in gear about building a new chicken house... this one is almost ten years old, and while some parts, like the roof, are still very sound, other bits, like the walls, are showing their age. When I get the new chicken house built, which will have integral latches for all the access doors, I will see if we can convert the old chicken house into a feeding shelter... maybe take out the walls, keep the sound roof, and it can have a second life

Chooks looking slightly better this afternoon, moving normally about their enclosure. Here, both are visiting the grit and oyster shell feeder before heading over to their house for bedtime...

... and into the chook house for bedtime they go! I was quite worried that whatever happened last night would be so traumatic that they wouldn't be willing to return, and would try and sleep in the trees instead, but they seemed quite eager to get back into their refurbished house with nice fresh wood shavings. Once they settled down, I checked, as best I could, and found no wounds other than tiny scabs where many many feathers had been pulled out of poor Boneclaw Mother.

October SMART goals
1 charter #16 primed shakes pruning apple tree
2 rune enamel painted chookhouse
forged iron weight
paper recycle bin
3 - re-knit sweater cuffs yardwaste bin
4 - hem A/C top -
5 -chookhouse
front door bar
6 - chookhouse
back door latches
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  1. Yes, Yay for Mighty Hens of Valor! Now they are going about their business, as if mortal combat is part of everyday living. How lucky they are to have you to watch out for them. My best good wishes for building their new home.

    1. Thank you Carol... I have part of what I need to build their new house, and will get help with the parts that are beyond my current skills

  2. Another note re chickens: I just read that a neighbor said her chickens love to eat pumpkins and pumpkin seeds. Maybe yours would, too.

    1. I am sure that they would enjoy picking away at pumpkin or squash... I only leave food out for them a little at a time, and never overnight... I don't want to feed varmints! But I do give them the seeds and squishy innards from squash when I clean squash for cooking.