Smart little Plumb escaped from the chicken pen-again! An escapee on a mission and no amount of meal worms would entice her back.
Two owners clucked and waved worms and occasionally were within fingers reach of that naughty chickens tail feathers, but she knew and smugly wiggled her way further into our overgrown forest patch.
We gave up and the day carried on as normal with us finishing odd jobs round the garden like completing our chicken gate….going for a practical but country look using an old tree branch that had a perfect hand hold top to it; and rebuilding the chicken coop terrace.
New coop sleeping quarters
Silly things won’t go to bed at night and pushing reluctant chickens in by their bottoms just gets everyone stroppy. And as soon as your backs turned they are all popping out again.
The terrace was small. Just an entrance deck to the little covered way to stop the wind. 12 chickens encamped with a few getting stood on and chicken number one…Poppy hogging her favorite corner. Apple somehow ended up at the bottom of the chicken pile. A confusion of rubbery feet and feathers. Rosie as top chicken pecking everyone but being ignored really.
Changes needed. An edge to snuggle against, lots of straw and room for all with no chicken bottoms in faces or feet in your ear.
Completed, chickens waited till sunset and cautiously checked out the new sleeping deck. It took a while to get the best spots but finally the sun set and happy trilling sounds could be heard. Good job. Everyone snoring!
Plumb eventually arrived home looking smug. The geese chased her round the garden, honking and snapping at her tail and eventually hearded her into the coop. Handy having geese!
Next day with a spurt of adrenalin and due to Plumbs escape, I decided to tackle the overgrown part of our mini forest. The chickens had successful pecked clean most of the area but about a third was unused. What a waste of good land. Oblivious to the bramble scratches, I hacked and cut through these and the old Hawthorns’ removing dead wood and used these to build a low hedge.
Finding me knee deep in leaves, earth and undergrowth, three geese had to join in, nibbling twigs, getting feet caught up and generally getting in the way. Toulouse geese are large birds and no amount of pushing them to move worked.
Once cleared we rolled chicken wire round and released the excited chooks into their new playground. It was almost too much excitement – where to explore first, where to dig or have a dust bath. Little beaks pecked furiously into the lovely soft mulch earth looking for worms. A frenzy of little russet feather balls . The geese looked unimpressed and wandered off to nibble our newly planted pine trees instead.
Escape back on
Again Plumb appeared in the geese pen merrily kicking straw around and causing mayhem.
A stealth mission to the wood pile, three grumpy geese in tow who had failed to understand about quietness in these situations, found Plumb and now two co-escapees, Poppy and Pumpkin (note names all begin with P. Could be a significant lead) all taking a dangerously precarious journey across the wood pile, through the spikey hawthorn bushes and big jump over the compost heap into freedom!
That’s it tomorrow more chicken wire..game over chaps. Geese honked and we celebrated with squeeky pig!
My what scratching, digging and being busy for the next few hours. Heaven. The chickens will clean up the forest floor and kill all the evasive weeds and keep it tidy. Saves me doing it. The geese keep the grass short and the wild flowers need little if any maintenance, so our garden is becoming a very simple place to upkeep.
So a satisfying day. Future plans are a tree house, herb garden, stone paths with primroses in-between, restore our old garden gate for the entrance to the wildflower bed, a single storey wooden summer house and planting more beds with cottage garden plants.
Phew I need a cuppa!