Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chickens Are Like Bees

Well it is now seven months since we got our first hens and all has not gone to plan. The hen house looked amazing and the four Araucanas settled in very well to their new home. However, eggs never eventuated. 

So three weeks ago I said enough was enough and I purchased four new Hyline 12 week old pullets. The two older girls were rehoused with friends who let them free range and we introduced the new hens to the two Araucanas we had kept. A bit of scraping went on but they quickly settled in together.

Then after about three days I had one of those middle of the night moments when I realised why we never get eggs. There was insufficient sun getting into the hen house. In our desire to keep them from being exposed to the harsh cold winds we had failed to let enough sun into the run. Solution, get hubby to cut holes into the two exterior walls that also happened to be the fence, secure the holes with chicken wire and let in the sun. Within two days we got our first green eggs.

Now everyday we collect two eggs, but actually only one is green.  One of my Araucanas is a forgery as she lays brown eggs. Never mind it is so delightful to finally be getting fresh eggs every day. The four Hylines will soon be laying as they are now 17 weeks old and as large as the Araucanas. They are all so friendly and talk when you go out to visit them. Hubby being ever tolerant, has made a chook tractor. The hens willingly move from the large hen house into the tractor at every opportunity and get pushed onto fresh lawn whenever it is fine.

Today I planted red onions, purple broccoli, derby day cabbage, silver beet seedlings and sewed carrot seeds to keep new crops coming on. 

We continue to eat from our own garden excluding potatoes as our own supply has finished and white onions I never bother to grow. We have grown swede for the first time and unlike shop bought huge ones we are eating ours while they are small and sweet. Very nice.

The pukeko's have taken the tops out of  nearly all the tulips I planted for a mass display, 100 white ones. So disappointing, today we tried to put chicken mess over them to keep them protected but I fear for most of the bulbs it is too late. I also planted another 100 daffodils bulbs out into the large garden beds but again those tiresome pukeko's see them as young leaves to pluck. Funnily enough they do not touch the daffodils I planted last year along the boundary of the vegetable garden fence, they are coming up nicely. I will get a few tulips to enjoy as I put 40 in a large tub that I will place on the deck once they are ready to flower. I have daffodils flowering in the large tubs I planted out in April which is far too early. Just shows how mild the winter has been. Cannot imagine what Carterton will do for its annual October daffodil festival, the daffodils might all be over by then this year.

We are hoping to get the ensuite floor ground and sealed next week if hubby has a bit of spare time and then after four years we can finally apply for a code of compliance. That will be a reason to pop a cork of bubbly.

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