gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Writing 101- rumours in the coop

Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.
Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

Though the morning sun shone bright gold into the coop, there was a distinct chill in the air. Little Darling, Colonel Saunders and Apollo are out nervously scratching for bugs….

I’m not at all happy with what changes are being planned.
She can’t be serious.
Oh she is! I’ve seen her eyeing up our personal space. Measuring it for new comers I’ll bet.
Well, you’ve got to admit, we haven’t exactly been productive lately.
I try my best. But when a girl is losing her feathers there are more important things than laying an egg every day.
Well I’m not going to moved from my place on the roost.
Me neither. We’ve been here a long time. No new chicks with their fancy feathers are going to push me around.
I’d like to see them try- you’re a bit of a heavyweight.
Just because my plumage is glossier than yours, there’s no need to be jealous.
I’m not, I’m just stating facts. We need to start laying regularly again, all three of us, or things could get serious.
You must admit we have quite a good system going. She can’t actually tell which of us is laying, it could be just one, or all three on alternate days.
Good plan! I can’t understand why they call us “bird brains”
Anyway, we are internet celebrities, she can’t do away with us. Think of the scandal.
And as for Mr G, he’s just got the bill for our new coop. He’s worked out the cost per egg for keeping us far exceeds our worth.
But She wouldn’t. She loves us.
Still, I’ve seen that look in her eye when she’s googling all those fancy breeds. And her crestfallen face when the laying box is empty.
Here she comes! Look busy! And someone please go and lay an egg to keep us in her good books for another day.

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Today’s blog post is an imagined conversation between the three hens in Mrs Gillybirds coop

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The Big Reveal

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So after 2 days of dismantling, digging, concreting, fencing, roofing, felting, woodchipping, coop washing….etc etc…the Gillybirds are installed in their new much improved, much larger, safer home.
And they just love it.
And so do I.

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I hope you do too!
As a special thank you to our garden workers, Gillybirds eggs were used to bake a thank you cake to go with their morning coffee today 🙂
The work men have really got to know the hens very well over the past 4 weeks and I have caught them feeding them lunch scraps and even just standing talking to them.
Today when they were putting the wire mesh on the roof nosey Apollo flew onto the green coop roof just to see what they were at. It was very funny. I’m just sorry I didn’t have a camera handy.

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Men at Work

Busy, busy! Sadly after all our own work constructing a home for the Gillybirds in the old shed turned out to be only temporary.
The shed was too old and rotting quite rapidly, so it was quickly cleared away, only to reveal a large frog, a bird skeleton, a very old disused rat nest and a spider of EPIC proportions.
I will spare you any photos of these delights.
But as a wee teaser here are a few snaps of the new coop under construction.

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A New Residence

Last Saturday, thankfully a sunny day, we began to clear out a garden shed near the kitchen at the side of the house, and to redesign it into a hen house with a safe and secure run.

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Mr G worked off the frustrations of his week by banging out most of the horizontal planks on one side of the shed, we then forcefully removed one of the upright posts so the Omlet Eglu coop would fit in.
As part of our cunning plan we invited some teenage boys round for the afternoon with the promise of food, and once the shed was floored with a thin fabric membrane and covered deeply with wood shavings, the coop was lifted in (minus the hens of course). We needed all hands on deck at this stage. The coop is not so much heavy as quite large, with the legs and wheels attached underneath so need to be lifted up and in to the shed.
We then attached plastic coated wire mesh to the open side for security.
As the sun began to sink and our energy wane, we introduced the Gillybirds to their new and hopefully more permanent home. They were extremely cautious. New smells, new textures underfoot, no more open air run.

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Soon it was time for the security of their own wee green home and a good night’s sleep.
That was when I realised I hadn’t made a hole to allow me to pull out the lever to open and close the coop door, so it was out with the pliers one more time.

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Neither Mr G nor I are particularly skilled at DIY so this was a challnge. I feel we rose to the occasion, especially when my mother asked if we had got a professional into do the job!
The next day I managed one coat of paint to the side and front door (where I get access for eggs and for feeding and watering)

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The rest of the week has been very showery so the necessary second coat has not yet happened.
I am however delighted with this dove grey paint, you can still see the wood grain. The hens have realised that when they hear taps running they can see me working away at the kitchen sink. I get a really good close up view of them from the kitchen, when they are closed inside during the rain they climb on the steps and look out at me.
During dry weather they are now decimating my lovely secret garden which I have so lovingly planted over the past year. It is a small price to pay for their security and need for a piece of earth to scratch and peck.

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Times they are a’changing

Here at Gillybirds Manor we are one week into a major building project which will hopefully put an end to our considerable flooding issues in the garden. If you check back to the start of this Gillybirds blog here is evidence of the Gillyboys actually swimming on the lawn two summers ago.
This work has meant considerable disruption for us, for our (mostly) patient neighbours, for the dogs and most particularly for the Gillybirds themselves.

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Initially we moved them, with considerable effort from the back garden round to the front garden, placing them directly under our bedroom window. I realised how early they start singing their sunrise song!
It has been two years since we built the Eglu coop, and trying to remember how to deconstruct it was quite a challenge. However it all worked out well and we are able to rebuild it quickly and they appeared to enjoy a change of scenery, although seemed to miss the activity of the back of the house. Lucas the pup missed them too. (He is not allowed round the front of the property given his tendency to run away.)

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None of us likes change, it is unsettling, unnerving, can take away your confidence, and your ability and desire to lay eggs – however they settled very quickly, surrounded and soothed by our rather overgrown lavender plants, though I felt bad knowing this was a very temporary interim move, as their new location was directly in the path of where the heavy machinery was to manoeuvre for the next few weeks.
More to follow……

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