Where did that month go?
I literally haven’t had chance to sit down and write a post, that combined with progress slowing down in the garden has meant I haven’t had much content. We’ve just got back from a lovely two weeks of travelling, now rearing to go – to get the garden “finished” before the bad weather returns.
The four ducklings went to their new home on the 12th August. The same home as our previous two! So, unknowingly the six ducks meet after being hatched and reared at our place! They have gone to a great home and I’m in touch with them still. They now have 12 ducks after starting with the original two from us.
Is she alive?
While we were away on holiday, our neighbour looked after the chickens. The deal is that she keeps all the eggs. The three big ones were in the left side run and Snowy was on her own in the right hand side run with the Eglu coop, where she was originally with the ducks.
When we were getting an update from our neighbour she said that Snowy hadn’t been out of her coop for a while and she was worried. She has a friend that has Silkies and got her round to help, it turns out that Snowy was broody again and was sat on an egg! Apparently our neighbours friend picked Snowy up and lifted her up and down to get air under her, I’m not sure exactly how but it seems to have worked and she came out of the broody spell!
I’ve been wondering about re-integrating Snowy with the other three, on previous merges when the ducks were with us, they had been mean to her, not just pecking but jumping on her back and all bullying her, this was why Snowy was still seperate while we were away.
So when we returned I started to let them merge together and it’s very clear that it’s going to be difficult, once one of the big ones gets her, the others come running and join in. I spent about an hour with them at the weekend and overall it was OK but if I wasn’t there to keep the peace, who knows what would happen.
That evening the three big ones jumped up and went into their coop as normal, I watched from the window as Snowy was pacing around in her run trying to find a way to the big coop. She really wanted to get where the others were, I have seen this behaviour before when we originally intergrated her.
I decided to open the seperator gate between the two runs and see what she did, sure enough she jumped up and carefully went into the big coop. The big ones made noise as she approached. After a minute or so she jumped up onto the first perch and the big ones immediately tried to reach down to peck her. It amazes me how brave Snowy is.
To see what happened I lifted her up and put her on the top perch.
Before I took that picture, Zazu was next to Snowy and she immediately started to peck, as I gently pushed Zazu away she jumped down and moved to the other end next to Belle, interestingly, Belle then started to peck Zazu. I removed Snowy and put her into her Eglu as normal.
What’s the setup like now?
There is still more to do, and not much has changed since the last update.
In the above picture you might spot that Snowy is in the “big” run with Star in the background and Belle is in the “small” run. This was because on the day I took the picture, it seemed that belle had it in for Snowy so I decided to seperate the bully to see what happened. It seemed to work although the main problem seems to be that they all think it is OK to gang up on Snowy.
I have now made a platform for the Eglu coop as seen in the above photo, this gives a lot more floor space. The size difference between the two runs is only about a foot but there is a visible size difference, hence the naming. We couldn’t raise the coop when we had the ducks as they wouldn’t be able to get up. They would have probably been happy sleeping underneath it anyway in hindsight – they were in and out at all hours. The pebbles in the run were to stop the ducks from making such a mess. They consume that much water from the drinkers that the floor below ends up a sloppy mud bath. We positioned the drinker above the pebbles and it solved this.
Before we went away I made a hatch to access the eggs from the roll-away nest box that is in the main coop. We (and our neighbour) can now collect the eggs with ease from outside! Although we have to access the Eglu to get Snowy’s eggs.
Things to do
As much spare time as possible will now be spent to try and finish the garden.
- Mix some mortar and set the blocks for the shed
- Move excess building sand into the run (the sharp sand works great in the run – it is bare earth at the moment)
- Build the shed using the timber from the old run
- Move the old shed next to the veg plot (I expect to find a mouse nest underneath!)
- Reclaim the land where the old run and shed was – this will be sanitised and re-purposed as a “play area” for the kids with a suitable surface
- Create paths around the garden using paving slabs and slate chippings
Thoughts about Snowy
I am not sure what to do about Snowy and integrating her with the other hens. The fear is that when she goes broody again, and we all know she will, then she will potentially be away from the flock again and we’ll be back to sqaure one. At the moment it seems that it will be impossible to integrate her so I don’t know whether to keep trying or whether it is too risky as there is always a chance that they will gang up on her when we are not around.
The guys that had the ducks said that she is welcome to go to their place but when I mentioned this to the kids it was a definte no no. It’s the last thing I want but we have to think of her wellbeing.
I am wondering if it is worth getting another Silkie or bantam to go with her and just keep the run split into two as it is now. This is obviously in the hope that another hen would get on with her and vice versa. I wonder whether the three big ones pick on her because of her crown being different – she has a big fluffy head, I have read this can be an issue in a mixed flock. With that in mind, another bird with a fluffy head should hopefully integrate with Snowy in her run. I quite like the Poland hens or we could get a different coloured Silkie. Maybe if there were more Silkies the theree big ones would calm down a little, maybe we should get a load of Silkies?! I guess if we could crack this chicken behaviour we would be rich!
Over and out
As a side note, the spiders are massive this year!
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