Well, I haven’t taken full advantage of a gorgeously sunny afternoon, but at least I got most of the work done this morning. I resolutely put on jeans and boots and took the wheelbarrow round to the chickens. I decided to let them out – the run can be divided into two, which is very convenient when work is required, but it was all quite soggy and messy in there and I knew they would love a day scratching in the grass.
Actually, I haven’t finished all the work. I stopped once my back hurt – or rather, I filled the barrow, took it to the compost heap and then decided it hurt. I scrubbed the drinkers and feeders and took (I had to turn it end by end, I couldn’t lift it) a sizeable block of concrete to stand one of the feeders on. Bricks were too low. With luck, the chooks scratching in the ground will not chuck stuff into the drinkers any more (the second one was already a bit higher).
I’ve got two 6 litre drinkers and two feeders the same size – I can’t remember how much they hold, about 2 kilos each I think. The drinkers last several days, but the feeders need some daily attention because they pick out the maize, which they like better than the wheat. I put in some layers’ pellets too. I’ve got a small feeder full of grit for them.
When the sun came out, I picked mallow and rose petal for the tortoises and went to greet Edweena. She is a responsive little girl and came hurrying out to meet me. I picked clover leaves and a lovely red flower too and she tucked in enthusiastically. I put some in the Tots’ run – I didn’t see them, but I checked later and the food had gone. They all have greenery growing that they can eat, it doesn’t matter if I don’t visit every day or if the weather is poor and they don’t want to feed.
This afternoon, I went to investigate the chooks. Two had been fighting and I separated them, but they squared up to each other again and I picked one up and put her back in the nest box. Eight others joined her later and several pecked round in and out of the run – I tempted them in with some meat scraps and shut the door. Still eight missing. Six of them were in the kitchen garden, one on the lawn and the last was spotted in the garden later. I fed the six by hand until they were relaxed around me and scratched about relaxedly, but I really couldn’t be bothered to try to catch them.
Later, a seventh joined them and the eighth stayed on the lawn, but there are plenty of places for her to roost and I’ve shut the veg garden gate. When they want some grain, they’ll have to go home. Although I have no plans for tomorrow, so I might let all the girls out again in the morning.