My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


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Temporary fencing to allow my chicks to free range

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I have six adult chickens and six chicks. One of the chicks is free ranging with her mum and has been since she was four weeks old. Mum does a good job at looking after her.

But my five chicks that were hatched in an incubator don’t have a mum to protect them from the big girls but I wanted them to have plenty of space to run around in.

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I went online and here is the answer to my problem. It is Omlet temporary chicken fencing, now available in New Zealand. It is easy to put up (once you know how) and is easy enough for one person to move when the chicks need fresh grass every few days. The chicks have been using this fencing now for about four weeks with no problems. I was a bit worried to start with that they might tangle themselves in it or the big girls might fly over into it but of course that didn’t happen. Just me being a worrier when I am at work all day, leaving the chicks and chickens to their own devices.

I would be careful though if you had dogs or predators around. This is definitely not a predator proof fencing but a temporary chicken fencing. We are lucky here in New Zealand that we are essentially predator free and I do not have dogs that come onto my property (touch wood but not so far in four years of having free range chickens). Read the reviews if you are unsure before you buy this fencing.

This allows my chicks to beĀ amongst the rest of the chickens, meaning I should have less problems integrating them once I decide they are big enough to take the fencing down to join the rest of the flock.

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A rat in the chicken coop!

Nooooooo, I knew it had to happen but I didn’t think it would be this soon. I was in the house and I heard one of the chooks make a strange noise. I thought that maybe Hannah Hen had laid an egg so I went outside to investigate.

When I got outside I saw a rat run into the woodpile at the entrance to the bush (or woods as people would say in the US). Maybe the chooks had seen the rat and were frightened. But then again I’m not sure what a chook would do if face to face with a rat. Would she be frightened? But the chooks were ok, they were sitting on their favourite perch looking non-plussed.

A little later Haitch looked outside and saw the rat actually in the chicken coop eating chopped dates! (Some would say what are chopped dates doing in the chook coop!) So Haitch thought he would “deal with” this rat and crept quietly away, picked up a big rock and tip toed back to the chicken coop to throw the rock at the rat! But of course, the rat was far too clever for him. As Haitch got closer with the rock held high, the rat trotted off out of the coop and bounced into the bush.

We have had rats in the compost bin before but I thought we were keeping on top of them using our bait station but obviously not. So we refilled the bait station and put it nearer the coop, hoping the rat would come back and decide the poison was tastier than the dates.

Just as the chooks were putting themselves to bed, the rat came back. I happened to be watching out the window as I was waiting for the girls to go into the coop so I could shut them in for the night. They were having their last fill of grass before bedtime quite near the coop as they always do at dusk.

Then they saw the rat who was quite near the bait station. It was only a few metres from the chooks and they both stopped eating and they took a few steps towards the rat. The rat froze. They took a few more steps towards him and they peered at the rat with their beady eyes. Then I think they realised he might be a threat to their food (particularly their dates, maybe) and they both ran at the rat. The rat ran off back into the bush. They looked very pleased with themselves.

Hopefully he will come back tonight and have a lovely feed of bait and bring along his whole family. I had better buy some more bait and maybe a few more bait stations. I think this is going to be an ongoing battle.