We've moved our laying flock from our acre block over to the farm. Very exciting for us, not so much for poor Casanova left behind (he actually belongs to the neighbours, he just lived with our ladies.)
Poor folorn rooster. He spent the first day in the empty chicken yard, looking around every now and then, waiting.
I am quite sure roosters have feelings and his were of desolation.
The ladies, meanwhile, were chilling in their new abode, a chicken house originally built by my Dad circa mid last century (hah!) and revamped by Dad and Adam mid last month.
And from Monday this week they've been sharing their home with one hundred new layers. Isa Browns. We bought them at fourteen weeks old and they'll form the basis of our first commercial laying flock. Super exciting.
Settling the combined flock in has been in parts interesting and complete fiasco. We are rookies. We're feet first, hands on, dead keen and complete amateurs, but we're learning really fast and far out we're having fun.
First we wanted to leg tag the original eighteen. Dad's idea, a very good one. I wish I had photos of us catching our chickens to put on their ankle jewellry. Fiasco. Am quite glad there are no photos of my spectacular slides across the mud to catch my precious birds. After he watched our antics for a while, Dad produced a long piece of wire, effectively a home made hook, which he neatly and calmly picked up chickens by the legs with.
Leg rings on. Tick.
Next we needed to teach the newbies to climb the ladders to the roost at bedtime.
I volunteered to do the first night, so at dusk I made my way in, hoping they would have followed the old girls up to the roost. That was the plan. There were eighteen leg-tagged hens comfortably roosting. And one hundred on the ground.
So I did what I did with our first flock when they were new, I lifted them all up on the roosts. All one hundred. One by one. I started at dusk and it was completely dark by the time I was about half way through. I forgot my head torch. I'd go out into the yard, pick up two or three chickens at a time, and carry them in and place them up on the roost. As I turned to go and get the next lot I'd hear about two of the three falling off the roost back onto the ground. (They kind of flutter down, they don't hurt themselves falling.)
I'd bring back the next few, lift them up, lift up the dopey other ones, go back out, bump my head at least once per trip on the roosts and I'd hear a couple falling off behind me. Fiasco.
That was on Monday night. I drove home completely covered in mud (it'd been raining, of course you didn't think the chickens were clean and dry did you?) and at the last minute diverted to a friends house where there was a gathering of favourite craft girls having a Christmas drink. I wasn't sure they'd let me in in my disheveled state, but they did, they even gave me a glass of wine and didn't mind that I had straw in my hair and chook poo on my knees. Am a class act, all round.
Anyway, a bit like me, chooks cotton onto this stuff surprisingly quickly and tonight I only had to lift up thirty hens and only one fell off (twice, same one, let's call her plonker). So things are looking up.
Other awesomeness is this weighted door-closing device of Dad's. There is no MacGyvering like old-school farmer fixits.
And in closing, I'll leave you with a couple of other genius devices around the farm, and this is without really looking for them:
1. Crazy sprung gate closer. So effective the gate will take out your eye if you are not careful.
2. Best dog kennel ever, made out of an old oil drum. (Now in retirement.)
3. Awesome coffee bean drying trolleys. So smart. Wheel in and out of the processing room. Follow the sun. Pick up and run with it if it starts to rain. Genius.
I aspire to be that practical.
Off to roost. Hope you've had a marvellous Thursday.