My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


I found where Hannah Hen is spending the nights


I happened to see Hannah Hen going off to bed last night. At the end of our front lawn just before seven, one hour earlier than the younger girls. You can see her sleeping somewhere in this picture.


Can you see her?


There she is, in the manuka tree.


All tucked up for the night. On a very thin branch I might add. Luckily she is a lightweight bantam. Thank goodness it is still warm here in New Zealand, even though it is Autumn. There is no rain forecasted for the next few weeks so I have a little time up my sleeve to get her back to a mite free coop.


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.