Today was a momentous day. Finally, after five months of flockdown, DEFRA have finally lifted the housing mandate, meaning the chickens can roam the garden at last! I opened up both Omlets and encouraged the Silkies and Ancient Ones to come out. They were incredibly reluctant but eventually, with some bribery, out they came. The Silkies immediately set up camp by their run whereas the Ancient Ones preferred to destroy the grass by the fence. Much to our amusement, the cats refused to go anywhere near the birds for the half hour they were free ranging.
Down at the allotment, I ambled across to the shed and opened it up. The Little Weed Destroyers were dust bathing so I left them to it. It was time to tackle the Nest House. I chivvied Rey outside then blocked the entrance with a piece of wood. Appalled by being kept outside, she proceeded to shriek at me without drawing breath. When this didn’t work, she came up with Plan B. Each time I left the Nest House to empty a bucketful of old bedding into the compost bin, she magically managed to get inside. Frustrated, I kept shooing her out and trying to wedge the wood into the entrance to keep her out. Nothing worked. Eventually, I pretended to empty the bucket and caught her breaking in. As an added bonus, I got it on camera! She would get her head in through a gap and throw her body weight at the baracade. The smug expression on her face said it all!
With these constant interruptions, it took much longer than I had planned to remove the old bedding. I quickly washed down the bottom boards and the inside of the Nest House. Leaving everything to dry, I was about to head home hoping my baracade would keep Rey out, when I heard a loud buzzing behind me. I turned to find the hive on Phil’s plot had decided to swarm. The air was full of bees flying in circles around the hive. It was absolutely spectacular to watch. Dashing to the shed, I threw on my bee kit and went over to the hive to see the swarming close up. There were so many bees! As I watched the amount of bees on the hive grew. The entire front of the hive was covered in a mass of bees. I kept an eye out for the queen but there was almost no chance of spotting her in the thousands of bees. Looking up, I realised that the cloud of bees had disappeared which would explain why the number of bees on the hive had grown. I messaged Phil to let him know the hive was swarming. Back at the shed, I put my beesuit away and wondered what would happen with the bees while I headed home for lunch.
After lunch, I came back to find Rey strutting around the Nest Box. Exasperated, I chased her out for the hundredth time and threw in the new bedding. The instant I had filled the laying box, there was a crash behind me. Yet again, Rey had broken through the baracade and sprinted past me into the laying box. I have never seen a chicken so desperate to lay an egg!
Over in the new coop, I refilled the water and food bowls before throwing out their treats. As usual, the littlest bantam flew on to my arm to get hers. As the others are their treats, I spotted Flora being chased away by another of Gordon’s girls. It’s ridiculous that a bird of Flora’s size would be terrified of someone less than half her size! But I guess it’s all attitude.
So the plan for tomorrow is to cost up the wood for the pergola. I had a chat with Neil who recommended which brackets to use and offered to help us drill the slabs to secure the uprights into place. Unfortunately, the cost of wood at the moment is extremely high so what should’ve been a budget friendly project, won’t be. But with almost all the components for the solar irrigation system ready (bar a few cables and connectors), it’s time to order the materials for the pergola!