Today we walked down to the allotment drenched in sunshine. It’s unbelievable how long we have had with this good weather. As always, enjoy it while you can because British weather is notoriously fickle. My husband offered to start early on the digging so I left him to it – never refuse a good offer!
It was my job to sort out the chickens today. I refreshed Leia and Rey’s water and food. Leia was busy laying in the nest box so I left them to it in the hope of more eggs. Moving on to the main coop, I found Georgie standing on too of the food bin shouting loudly. This was rather unusual. She has the rather unfortunate defect of sounding like a duck rather than a chicken but added to this today was a clear issue with her rear end. A large mass of old and new poo had congealed around her vent and she was clearly uncomfortable. Rolling my eyes at yet another chicken medical issue, I went to get a bucket and asked Tracey if she could boil us some water to make a bath. I got a clean bucket and when the kettle had boiled, topped it up with cold water from the main tap. Now all was prepared, it was time to get Georgie.
She was fairly easy to catch but wasn’t happy about being put into the bucket. Especially not when we realised her rear end wasn’t in the water. So I held her carefully as my husband held her legs up and we put her into the bucket at the sort of angle you would imagine a rocket would be prior to launch. After about 10 minutes, we stood her up in the bucket and I had the glamorous job of seeing whether any poo and come off. It was loosening so we put her back in for another 5 minutes. When we checked again, with a little persuasion, the poo came off. She now had a clear vent which was good however, she still had some dirt stuck on her feathers close to the skin underneath her body. I tried removing these without success. We will try again tomorrow but with Epsom salts in the bath which is supposed to be good for helping to remove dirt and muck. I left Georgie to dry herself out on top of the nest box in the main coop.
Onto the chicks next. They continue to grow enormously! The temperature in the greenhouse was a bit higher than I wanted so I let them out into the outside run while the greenhouse cooled down. Chris stopped by to ask when we were moving the chicks and I explained it depended on my colleague collecting some as we can’t have them at home anymore and we don’t have a spare coop to keep them in. During a break in the shed, my husband had the good idea of finding something to give shade to the greenhouse. I suddenly remembered we have an old black out curtain at home and I ran back to get it. I couldn’t find it. Clearly I had put it in a safe place, now I will never find it again! Instead, I grabbed an old double duvet cover and some string and headed back to the allotment.
I was rather pleased once I got the cover into place. It covers three quarters of the roof and mid afternoon, out half the interior in shade. It took them a while to work out they could go into the darker area. We also rigged up a way to let the chicks roam from inside to outside utilising bricks and a small board. Steve caught us to say about the temperature in the coop and reckoned they were big enough to cope outside. This made the decision for us. We would get hold of my colleague and get her to take half so we could move the remaining chicks into the run outside the greenhouse.
Before we left, we checked on Dolly. She is still with us although she is clearly struggling. We tried to clear more gunk from her beak and there is a large bit that may come out tomorrow which would definitely go her. I think the blockage is slowly moving downwards to her throat. Sadly, there is nothing I can do about that. On a more positive note, she looked more with it today and had a little walk around the shed.
So tomorrow we will try to keep the chicks outside the greenhouse for as long as possible. Attempt to drop off some of them to my colleague, order chicken food for the army of chickens we currently have and finish digging another section of the plot.