This morning I ambled down to the allotment under an overcast sky. Despite the clouds, the air felt humid. Upon arrival, I went straight down to the main coop to check on Pop. I opened the nest box to find she had vanished. Previously, the absence of a chicken usually meant someone had popped into the coop to check on the bird and found it had passed away. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the other nest box to find Pop alive curled up in a corner! I turned her around and noted she was still rather wobbly on her legs. Picking her up gently, I checked her crop which was mainly empty except for one spot where I could feel some corn. Just in case Pop had sour crop, I massaged her crop to encourage any blockages to shift. Next, I found a small container and filled it with water. Pop ignored it initially until I put her beak in it. Over the next ten minutes, she drank lots of water and seemed to perk up a little. I went off to hunt for another container to put some food in. I gave her a mix of sunflower seeds, pellets and corn which she wasn’t hugely interested in but refilled her water which was pretty much empty.
Moving onto the others in the main coop who were distinctly unimpressed with me giving all my attention to Pop. I hand fed the girls their sunflower seeds, Molly even had a quick peck! I threw out a few mealworms and went off to check on Leia and her chicks.
As I approached, I could hear Leia clucking away to her chicks. I found them all outside and keen for their mealworms. I handfed Leia who spent several minutes chopping up the mealworms into chick sized pieces and throwing them to the chicks. When she decided they had enough, she scoffed the rest happily. With the birds outside, I topped up their food without interference. Their outside water bowl was in need of a clean so I emptied it, gave it a good scrub and refilled it. As I placed it down into the coop, the bottom of the water bowl came off. The ensuing tidal wave washed a couple of the chicks backwards with a nonplussed Leia watching. Rolling my eyes at myself, I disappeared off to refill it, this time double checking the bottom of the water bowl was on properly.
Next, I had planned to organise the stumpery and put in four ferns. On my way past, I checked on Pop who was sitting in the nest box drinking. Half of the logs for the stumpery were on the veranda and I lugged these down one at a time. The mushroom dowels haven’t arrived yet but I made sure that the freshest three oak logs were at the front to make harvesting easier. Moving those three logs opened up gaps in the middle of the stumpery. Ten minutes later, I had rearranged the back section and moved some logs forward to cover the bare soil. The final trick was to make spaces for the ferns to go in. I have bought several different types of hardy fern: a Japanese painted fern, a Wallichs fern, a Shuttlecock fern and a gorgeous Japanese shield fern. I am still waiting for my Jurrasic Gold fern which will go in towards the centre of the stumpery. Standing back and viewing the stumpery, I felt rather proud of it.
By now, it was starting to rain. I borrowed some oregano oil from Geoff and gave Pop a dose. I gave her a gentle stroke and went home.