Crash, bang, wallop!

Today was quite what I thought it would be. I anticipated an afternoon of pottering around the plot, doing ood jobs and, weather depending, clean the main coop out. As soon as I arrived, I went to see Pop who I had placed into the nest box last night. There she was, by the front of the greenhouse fully on her own two legs. She had got herself out of the nest box and had walked the length of the greenhouse. Pleased, I headed off to open the shed and say hello to Cliff and Koko.

Koko was in her usual position in sentry duty, outside Cliff’s shed. A few moments later, Cliff appeared and he caught me up on everything that had been happening over the past few days. I told him about Pop and we went to see how she was getting on. By now she had moved again but for some reason, had half tucked in her toes again thus making it difficult to stand without wobbling. I wondered whether she would manage to correct it herself or if I would need to put her back into the wheelchair.

Moving in, I called a hello to Tracy who was busy beavering away in her greenhouse. Down in the main coop, I collected three small brown eggs. One of which Steve spotted as he passed. One of the idiotic birds had laid their egg outside on the coop floor. Or more specifically, half underneath the water bowl stand. There are two perfectly good boxes with lots of clean sawdust to lay in, but no, that would be too easy! I filled up a bucket with water ready to soak the perches when I remembered we had run out of antimite fluid. Undeterred, I dashed off to Pets at Home to source a bottle.

After queueing to get into the shop for ten minutes, I got to the chicken section to find they had literally everything else except antimite fluid. I grabbed two spray cans of antimite stuff and headed back in the pouring rain. Typically, the rain stopped as I got back to the site. I ran into Liz and Sarah on my walk back to the coop. They had popped down for a couple of hours and kindly offered me some beautiful golden carrots. I have no idea how they have managed to grow such amazing carrots but I look forward to eating them tomorrow!

As I got out the spray cans ready to start cleaning out the coop, I had a call from my husband. He has managed to source some hedge chippings which he thought would be good for the coop. The old bark has had its time and I have been slowly clearing it out a bucket load at a time over the past few weeks. The ground in the coop is mainly soil with a bit of leftover bark. I ran up to the main gate and helped my husband lug a builder’s bag of chippings down to the main path.

At this point a fellow allotmenter appeared and offered to help. We gratefully accepted. It took some manhandling to get it down onto the path between us and Phil. Just by Phil’s greenhouse, he tripped and ended up falling into the front of the greenhouse, crashing his arm and side through two panes of glass! I helped pick up the pieces as he brushed himself down. The crash had been quite spectacular and I saw Liz and Sarah looking curiously in our direction. The last few feet to the greenhouse was easy and we thanked our helper and checked again if he was ok. He said yes and disappeared off home to patch himself up. I cleared away the broken glass and emailed Phil to let him know what had happened and to organise getting replacement panes.

My husband opened up the coop and we tried to get the bag of chippings into the coop. It was far too heavy. Grabbing a fork, my husband took a huge chunk of the chippings and lobbed it over towards the perches in the corner of the coop. Unfortunately, the chickens weren’t expecting to have chippings thrown in their direction and flew in all directions, including out the coop door. It turns out that whilst Tommy is pretty much useless as a cockerel, he flies rather well. Out the door he flew and legged it around the corner! I followed in close pursuit. Not quick enough to catch him though! Whilst my husband stayed in the coop and kept an eye on the other chickens, I perused Tommy up and down the side of the coop, trying to get close enough to catch him. Eventually, I managed to chase him towards the coop door wherein he decided to try and run in the opposite direction. The split second he took to make that decision, I grabbed him by the tail feathers and launched him through the door, slamming the coop door shut with a bang.

Over the next fifteen minutes, we spread out the new chippings – with the coop door firmly closed! The new chippings look great and it means the ground gets a bit of a break. We are hoping to have another load delivered after the weekend which will mean a thicker layer to keep them off the mud over the winter. The coop always looks so good with new chippings!

By now, both of us were starving so we walked up to the greenhouse to check on Leia and Pop. Pop had managed to sort out her feet and we watched as she took a few steps towards the food bowl. Before we left, I cut up some courgette and gave it to her. There is no chicken who loves courgette more than Pop. She ate half of it by the time we had refilled their food and water bowls. We closed up the front door and headed home leaving the coop cleaning for tomorrow.

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