Andy Ninja has started crowing at dawn. Well, too early in the morning anyway. It’s a reasonable hobby for a post-menopausal chicken without a flock to keep her entertained. However, I fear those living nearby may view poultry crowing at daybreak, regardless of equipment, as in effect a rooster and invoke the “no cockerels in the suburbs” by-law.
She chooses a spot on the rim of an artificial well (one may ask!) right beside an adjacent henhouse to make her morning pronouncements. We suspect she likes an audience and may be pining for company, given her reported daily outings to our neighbours’ shed to watch him welding and her watering the garden. So I decided to make good on a longstanding promise to the kids and buy some day-old chicks to add to the flock. For the mental health and long term survival of Andy and her sexually harassed companion Snowball, rather than any self-centred reasons of future egg-thievery. Obviously.
Three weeks on, Turbo the Plymouth Rock (pictured), Shyla the Australorp and Donna the Barnevelder seem to be impatient to be shot of their brooder despite its comforting heat light and round the clock child companionship.
So I spent the weekend making “Palm Beach”, a pullet hangout and future nesting box out of an ikea footstool, two ancient shelving units, the lid of an aquarium, a panel of hardwood fencing from the last council clean-up and an assortment of fixings. I’m going for beach-shack cum vernacular modernism, orchestrated with “chookhouse tolerances” (a phrase I plan to deploy as often as possible). Here’s a picture of Andy making an inspection. She looked it over, front and back, top and bottom and then briskly hopped out, not even using the steps. “Not enough storage”, was the look in her eye. Yes, it is a bit small but it has to fit inside my existing chicken dome (three years young, and primarily used as a roosting spot for the older gals). The idea is to give get Andy and Snowball time to acquainted with the new posse with a minimum of pecking and, in Andy’s case, mounting…