The last gasp of summer

The last two days have been significantly warmer and with more sunshine, the usual brightness that heralds the start of autumn. It lulls you into a false sense of security before the autumn storms start. The sunshine has meant that the winding down at the allotment has been slightly delayed but there is a feeling in the air that the season is nearly over.

I opened up the greenhouse and put Leia and Pop in the outside run with fresh cool water and some food. They seemed happy and content so I left them with instructions to lay eggs. Pop continues to refuse to use the ramp I built to help her get outside. Ungrateful bird! It takes ages for her to get out and she makes an absolute meal of it. But will she use the ramp? No!

Before I started to clean out the coop, I stopped to have a chat with Dave the Plod. Fortunately, he managed to pick up a pressure washer at the tip and kindly let me borrow it to help speed up the coop cleaning process. I washed it out, checked it over thoroughly and filled it with dilute solution of antimite fluid. I checked to see if Leia had laid her egg. Yesterday she laid an absolute whipper! It dwarfed the other eggs, weighing in at 90g!

Down in the main coop, I was greeted with the usual racket and threw out some treats in the hope it would keep them occupied whilst I sorted out the coop. The old bedding came out quickly and deposited into one of our compost bins. I filled a bucket with the diluted antimite fluid and left the perches to soak outside the coop. I usually try to soak each end of the perch for an hour to ensure that the fluid is thoroughly absorbed into the wood and kills off any mites. Armed with Dave’s pressure washer, I saturated the wood of the nest box. Every nook and cranny were blasted with antimite fluid as mites prefer to live in corners and crevices, coming out at night to feast on the chickens.

By now, it was well past lunchtime, so leaving the nest box open to dry in the sun, I ambled home for some food and a cold drink.

Upon my return, I found the nest box dry. There was still over half the fluid left in the pressure washer, so I dowsed the nest box for a second time. You can never soak the nest box enough in this antimite fluid. After I finished the second wash, I rotated the perches in the bucket and left them to soak for an hour. I ambled up and down our plot, pondering how much it has improved this season and beginning to think about what to grow next year.

As soon as the nest box was dry, I replaced all the bedding and for a wild moment, considered cleaning out Pop and Leia’s coop. Second thoughts kicked in and I decided that as I was thoroughly covered in dirt from head to toe, it was probably best to clean out the greenhouse tomorrow instead. I sat with Leia and Pop as they enjoyed the shade and cool breeze on the patio. It’s so lovely to see how close they have become.

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