I think our chicken adventure began about a month after we had got settled back in Te Akau. Josh had started clearing the paddock next to our house that was completely over grown with blackberries and privet and I suggested that we could put some chickens in there. Somehow I don't think that was quite what Josh had in mind for the paddock but he happily went along with it (he does this a lot...he's pretty awesome!) What entailed was 4 months of after work planning, researching and building to create a coop that would not only sufficiently house 6 chickens but would be more of a chook mansion!
Once we had the coop built and painted a beautiful barn red, the next step was moving it up to the paddock - easier said than done! Josh and I managed to move the framing for the run on our own...
...but it took 4 strong men to move the coop itself! I was conveniently at work that day and arrived home to this amazing sight!
Finally by July we were ready for our 6 little ladies to move into their new home. We got 6 brown shaver chickens but now it was time to learn how to take care of them!
They were 16 weeks old when we got them and at the point of lay but they must have been raised in quite small quarters as they had no idea how to roost, jump or where to lay. We had to add more ramps and teach them how to use these to get into the chicken coop and another to get into the nesting box and onto the roost. We also had to teach them how to perch. The first night they couldn't get into the coop and we found them sleeping in a pile in the corner of the run. The second night they made it into the coop but slept in the same pile in the corner of the coop. It took a few weeks for them to get the hang of it all - we were finding eggs all over the place for the first month but they have it sorted now and aside from the odd lazy layer - eggs on the floor underneath the roost - we get 5-6 eggs a day in the nesting boxes...even after 9 months it's still just as exciting opening the door of the nesting box to see what's inside!
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