Friday, 10 August 2012
In the chook house
Our chooks are living in the rabbit hutch while they await a more permanent home. We are gathering old pieces of timber and tin to build a chook house which will be home to our growing flock. But for now they range free during the day and return to temporary lodgings come nightfall. The Pekins nestle together in the straw at the back of the hutch and Bluebeard, our wayward Araucana, roosts high in the tree that grows through the fence above them. Darcy's little hen Lemony laid her first egg last week, the tiniest egg you could imagine. I cooked it for his lunch with buttered sourdough bread and he pronounced it good.
Eggs are almost as rare as hen's teeth around here at the moment, so I was looking forward to gathering a full carton when I went to feed my friend's flock last night. The sun was dipping over the hill when I opened the door to their rustic hen house and the chooks rushed to meet me in the gloom. The last time I looked after them they had made a dash for freedom, and I spent the next day rounding them back into their enclosure, so I made sure I pulled the door securely behind me this time. They were out of grain so I filled up their feeder and pulled one precious egg from the grain sack where they lay. Turning to go I discovered the gate latch was on the other side of a solid timber door. I was locked in with the hens, and my evening started to look grim. There are no neighbours within hearing and I was heading straight to my yoga class, so would not be missed for hours yet. I eyed off the birds, who were hungrily devouring their grain, and told them seriously that we might be spending the night together. I scavenged for wire that might reach through the gap in the door and lift the gate latch, but there was none. In the end I found a stiff piece of straw, threaded it through the hole in the latch and arrived at my yoga class in time to squeeze the last mat between the rows of bodies. But my meditation was somewhat scattered.
Work on our chook house is due to start tomorrow. I have grand plans for a hatch to let us collect eggs from outside the run. And we might minimise our use of latches. Just in case.