Coop sterilisation

After a rather sad start to the morning, I walked to the allotment hoping that there wouldn’t be anything wrong with any of our other girls. Fortunately, all the others seem to be ok and Pop seems to be going from strength to strength. I joined Cliff and Koko for a chat whilst Pop spent her time in the wheelchair. Her legs are looking much better after two treatments with Sudacrem. She is getting better at having her feet out and seems to be used to the wheelchair after just a few days.

After Pop had demolished two curly kale leaves, two black kale leaves, ten dandelion leaves and a strawberry, I decided I needed to make a start on cleaning the main coop. Late last night I had cleaned out Pop and Leia’s coop and rotated it so that the nest box remained dry. The recent influx of lightning storms had shown that if the rain was blown in a certain direction, the nest box got wet. Leia had, of course, thrown all the fresh bedding out of the nest box into the run. I have no idea why she does that! I left Pop in her pot with food and water and headed off down the plot.

Down in the coop, I was greeted enthusiastically by all the girls. I always feed them their treats first, especially if I am cleaning the coop. I threw the sunflower seeds and oats out and made a start on removing the old bedding. I was very concerned that what Georgie had was infectious and my first priority was to disinfect the coop. Once all the old bedding was removed, I ambled across to Cliff to ask if I could borrow his pressure washer. He kindly lent me a 5 litre one which was a perfect size and worked really well. I filled the washer with diluted jeyes fluid and began. It took a while but I made sure all the perches, edges of the coop, storage bins and the outside of the nest box were thoroughly dowsed. Just for good measure, I also sprayed the ground in the coop.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Liz busy on their plot. I walked across to say hello. Sarah was hiding behind the greenhouse and she asked about how Pop was doing. I offered to show her the wheelchair which she was very excited about. It’s always flattering when an engineer thinks you have done a good job! Both Liz and Sarah were delighted with Pop and her wheelchair. Pop was less impressed at being back in it. However, I tried to see what she would do if I slowly pushed it forward. Rather miraculously, Pop lifted her right leg to take a small step forward. As she put her foot down, she had curled her toes in again. I put them flat before seeing whether she could do the same with the left leg. She struggled to move it, so I helped lift it forward. I was so proud of her because if she can stand with her legs in the right position and can take some small half steps, she might be able to regain her mobility over time.

Back down at the coop, I removed all the boards and swept out the bottom of the central area. Rey was constantly in the way. She usually lays her egg late in the afternoon but always seems to decide to try an lay in the middle of a coop clean! By now the heat was intense and I decided I would walk to the shop for some lunch and a cold drink. I sat on the patio eating lunch with Pop watching me. Sarah had given me a large courgette which I had mostly given to the girls in the main coop. However, I had saved a small section for Pop and Leia. Leia wasn’t particularly interested and Pop struggled to eat it as it was. I cut it into smaller chunks which she quickly scoffed. That chicken is eating like a horse!

After lunch, I sprayed jeyes inside the coop to disinfect it. Leaving it to dry which wouldn’t take too long in the heat, I walked around site and bumped into Alan. Alan shared some good news and we had a lovely chat before Cliff joined us. We all put the world to rights before I ambled back to the main coop. The inside of the coop was still damp so I worked on cleaning the boards that go inside the nest box. A scrubbing brush, anti-mite fluid and quickly the boards were clean. I left them propped up against the outside of the coop to dry.

By now I was melting. I finished off my drink and went for a walk to cool down. I found Cliff with Koko chatting to Bill who has a plot in the centre of the site. I joined them and spent a few minutes making a fuss of Koko. She really is such a lovely dog. Realising the time, I dashed back to the coop, pausing only to grab the sawdust bale from the greenhouse. I filled both nest boxes with a thick bed of fresh sawdust. As soon as she saw the sawdust going in, Rey was instantly in it. I thought she would lay an egg quite quickly. What followed was half an hour of going into the nest box, sitting down and rearranging the sawdust, standing up and walking out. Repeat ad infinitum. I gave us waiting for her, replacing the boards in the centre of the nest box. By the time I shut up the coop, Rey was still refusing to lay. Rolling my eyes in exasperation, I left her to it and walked up to the patio to put Pop away.

Pop wasn’t happy about going back into the coop but was quickly mollified with some fresh food. I shut up the shed and pottered home for a well deserved shower and dinner.

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