So we are being battered by another storm with high winds and rain causing flooding and damage all across the country. At home, aside from a fence panel, we have got off lightly. Both coops with the silkies and our veteran bantams have stood firm against the onslaught. But I always worry about the allotment for several reasons. First, the chickens and how they cope with the extreme weather – do they have enough sense to hide in the nest box? Second, whether the greenhouse survives (especially as it has two chickens in it!). Finally, has the wind ripped the solar panel off the shed roof, destroying the panel and the shed in one fell swoop.
Anxiously, I checked the greenhouse on my arrival this morning. Fortunately, no glass had broken and aside from a few indignant clucks about the lateness of breakfast, both Leia and Flora were fine.
Next, the shed. I know that the solar panel is tightly bolted to the roof and that as it is flat to the roof making it less likely it will get ripped off by the wind. Even so, it was reassuring to find the shed in one piece with the panel in its place. Promising myself that I would inspect the panel for damage another day, I moved onto checking the coops.
The Little Weed Destroyers were hiding in the nest box until I opened up the run and threw in some kale. The ground around the coop was very sodden but inside the run it was only damp. Miraculous really when you consider how saturated the soil usually is on our plot in the winter. Down in the main coop, I was greeted by an angry Tommy. He made several attempts at attacking my wellies before I shooed him away with the lid of the food bin. Treats thrown out, I checked the coop netting. So far, there haven’t been any birds getting in but they are very persistent. Even the smallest hole they will find and exploit. I shoved some patches of netting back into place as the wind had shifted them slightly. Before I moved on, I grabbed the poo bucket and cleared the perches and the ground below. Judging from the abundance of poo, the majority of the girls and Tommy seem to be sleeping outside still. Rolling my eyes, I left them to it. I will never understand why chickens want to sleep outdoors in the cold and rain rather than in a warm dry nest box.
Over in the new coop, Gordon and his girls were keen to greet me. Their favourite way of greeting you is to block your entrance and get confused when you don’t walk into the coop. I checked their feet to make sure they aren’t struggling to walk. Booted bantams like millefleurs and partridge bantams have very feathery feet. As gorgeous as they look, it’s important to keep the ground as dry as possible as mud can clog their feet feathers causing issues with walking and standing. The location of the new coop, against the boundary hedge protects it from the worst of the rain. Parts of the ground were damp but there wasn’t the level of mud that are in the main coop currently.
With everyone checked, fed and watered, I ambled home to warm up! Tomorrow’s plan is to dig over a couple of sections of the plot and tidy up the fruit section.