gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Annapolis Backyard Hens

Mr Gillybirds travels far and wide very regularly. I’m more of a home bird, preferring the comfort and familiarity of my nest of children, dogs and hens. Last week however I boarded a plane and headed across the Atlantic Ocean, touching down firstly in the quaint city of Annapolis. It was a packed schedule of meetings, dinners, breakfasts and general busyness, but being me, I got time to (a) visit a craft megastore and (b) find a blog post of hen related interest.

The City of Annapolis is old by USA standards, the harbour surrounded by mostly original wooden buildings from the 17th century, marks the place where Kunta Kinte of Roots fame was sold as a slave. Annapolis has the first treasury of the United States. It also is home to the elegant Naval College where we attended a service in the Naval Chapel with its most beautiful stained glass windows. It is very pretty even in the depths of winter. Homes have plenty of space round them. I mentioned to our lovely hosts that I was a hen keeper and was informed that hen keeping has become a popular hobby since legislation was passed in 2012 permitting home owners to keep them. The laws are very clear. Before getting your hens you are required to build a coop to a regulated size which has to be inspected and approved, to have your neighbours confirm they are happy with the prospect of feathered neighbours, you are encouraged to adopt rescue hens rather than buy hens, you are committed to taking good care by providing clean food and water, to visiting the vet in times of sickness and interestingly not to use them for human consumption, except for religious purposes.

It’s all very official compared to round our way. Looking out at our hosts spacious back yard, bordered by trees and an iced over majestic river, it seemed the ideal spot for a happy home for hens. I encouraged her to give it some consideration.

She mentioned that the city itself has embraced the idea of hen keeping, and twenty five and a half foot hen “blanks” had been given to various schools, businesses and art groups to decorate and place around the city to celebrate hens! Sadly I didn’t get time to jump out of a car and take photos. I did spot a Mona Lisa hen, but thanks to the joys of the Internet I’ve been able to find some just for you.

My favourite is the “sax and the city” hen, with me being both a hen keeper and saxophone player.

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Beaming Bright

Although it’s not getting dark until after 5pm these January days, it’s still a short day for the Gillybirds, and often I don’t get out to shut them away for the night until it is really dark. The coop can be a minefield of cauliflower skeletons, roosting logs, drink containers and lots of chicken poop (yuk) all hazardous materials regardless of wearing slippers, boots or bare feet, so thoughtful Gillyboy number one bought me a Mr Beams spotlight and installed it in the top corner of the coop to ensure my passage to the coop door was well illuminated.
Mr Beams lights are battery powered motion detection operated LED spotlights and really this light has made a huge difference in my hen keeping activities.
Super at night, it is also great in the pre dawn gloom and as the girls move around they set off the spotlight and I can see them shaking out their feathers for the first scratch and peck of the day.

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Living the Good Life

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.
Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post. If you’d rather not write a new post, revisit and edit a previous one: excise your adverbs and replace them with strong, precise verbs.

We are a small community of peace loving sisters. We have one purpose In life, a daily task to be fulfilled regardless of the weather, rising in the early dawn light and retiring as the sun’s last rays sink below the hills. What we produce is taken and used to improve the lives of others. This work takes a toll on our bodies, though had we been born in different circumstances, we may have spent our entire short life in cramped dark conditions and been disposed of once we had outlived our productivity.
We spend a considerable amount of our day eking out an existence from what nature and our generous benefactor provides. Our fare is plain and simple, mostly vegetarian. We drink nothing but water.
If any of us gets ideas above her station she is reprimanded with speed and severity. Strict order is observed at all times. Our conversation in general is quiet and respectful, our voices rising in a joyous song only when our task is completed.
A recent move finds us in much improved accommodation. Our boundaries have been extended, we have new territory to explore and navigate, rather than the limited area we occupied since we first joined the community. From the confines of our private space we enjoy watching the comings and goings of those around us, who often stop to encourage us with their chat. There is shelter from inclement weather, we are protected from those who would wish to harm us.
It is a good life here in the coop.

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Omlet Eglu, a really good investment

It was a great opportunity to give the plastic Eglu coop a really good clean out before it was installed in its new home.
I can heartily recommend the Omlet hen houses. After two and a bit years it is as good as the day it arrived.
Easy to clean out, sturdy, double insulation for heat and cold, dry, insect free, no rotting wood, it comes in bright funky colours (I went for green but there is gorgeous purple and bright yellow among others).
There are roosting bars, an easily accessed nest box, the cute ladder, poop trays which can be removed and cleaned regularly, and a secure door for night time.
It’s great.
Omlet does a good range of pet things – mostly for hens and rabbits.
Check out Omlet.co.uk

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