The Sparrow’s Sorrow

With the rapidly impending DEFRA deadline for ensuring every coop is secured against wild birds, we dashed down to the allotment armed with a 50m roll of scoffolding netting and a bag of cable ties. Unfortunately, there have been a a number of bird flu cases in Cheshire and across the UK over the past few weeks. If a bird has signs of bird flu, it must be culled as would any birds within the vicinity. On our site, only one chicken being infected would mean every chicken on site would have to be culled.

Online forums and groups have been abuzz with different ways of keeping their flock safe, ranging from tarpaulins, netting, polytunnels and greenhouses. Budget limitations made my preferred option of adding smaller guage netting over the entire coop and and several new roof panels unfeasible. After researching scoffolding netting, I decided this would be the best solution as it would be quick to put up and would be effective against wild birds even if it would make the coop a bit of an eyesore.

Lugging down the netting, we quickly discovered that my concerns about not having enough netting was ridiculous. I had forgotten that the bottom 3 ft of the coop had additional small guage netting meaning we only had to secure the tip half of the fence panels and the roof. What a relief! As we unrolled the netting, we worked out that it was the perfect width to cover the fencing between the small guage netting at the base and the roof. It couldn’t have worked out better even if we had tried! Carefully, with my husband holding up the netting, I secured it into place with cable ties. The chickens weren’t particularly impressed with the changes to their coop and spent most of the time clucking at us angrily.

By the time we had covered three sides of the coop, we were down to our last cable tie. Typical. Luckily, Click and Collect at Screwfix is pretty quick. So I sent my husband off to pick them up whilst I went off to have a catch up with Liz and Sarah. They had been busy digging over their plot and generously offered me some greens for the chickens. As we chatted, we slowly got colder and colder. By the time I was turning an interesting shade of blue, my husband reappeared with two bags of cable ties and I managed to bully my frozen fingers to finish attaching the netting to the last side of the coop.

Cliff appeared and helped us with a solution for the gap between the top of the fence panels and the peak of the roof. He found some netting and helped us wedge it into place. For good measure, I used a handful of cable ties to keep it in place. There are still a few places with small gaps and the corner of the roof needs some work too but we are most of the way there!

Whilst we were down, I asked my husband to help me check on Sadie. She has spent a week in her isolation coop in the greenhouse. Neither she, nor the other girls are happy with each other. I managed to catch her and brought her out onto the patio. Her back still has the large scabby patch but two of the cuts seem to be healing. She wasn’t keen on my moving her feathers around to check it, but she does have a couple of new feathers beginning to grow at the edge of the injured area. Hopefully another couple of weeks and she will be fully healed. I made a mental note to bring down the purple antiseptic spray to give her another dose tomorrow.

As we were leaving, we spotted Cliff busy with a tin of spray paint. Curious, we came closer to find Cliff busy making a parking place for Geoff’s new scooter. He has also made a sign for the parking space with Geoff’s name on it. We’ll see whether Geoff enjoys his new space tomorrow!

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