Chickenopolis has moved. That is to say, we’ve moved our tiny flock of hens from one paddock to another. I am actually rather astonished at all that we’ve done to our smallholding since moving in October. But there’s still so much more to come. It’s our intention to build up a kitchen garden and a cutting garden for flowers in one of our smaller paddocks and for that to happen, the hens had to be rehomed. I’m a bit fragile at the moment and so today we enlisted some help to move the chicken house.
We’ve had to use the temporary chicken netting that we used when we first let them out of their little enclosure before we decided it’d just be easier to chicken-proof the whole paddock with chicken wire. The chaps hauled our henhouse to the next paddock and situated it in a corner next to the old livestock shelter that the alpacas used to use. I was going to take it down but it occurred to me that they might like another sheltered area where they can get away from heavy rain or bright sun. So they’re currently in situ in their new, temporary netted enclosure waiting for us to chicken-proof the rest of the paddock with chicken wire on the weekend so that they can go back to roaming far and wide as chickens are supposed to do.
Moving the henhouse was relatively easy (mainly because someone else did it!) but moving the hens was a pain. Ours are suspicious of us and although they quieten as soon as they’re picked up and become rather pleasant round balls of feathers that you can carry about, getting to that stage requires some coordination. It quickly became clear that a trail of corn from one paddock to another simply wasn’t going to cut it after the first hen fell victim to our clutches. The others suddenly became very wary and disdained all food. A second was unbelievably charmed by my sister’s pigeon burbling and was lured into some fencing where we snatched her up. But the last four led us a merry dance and took more than half an hour to round up and catch. It was all worth it though when our little boy decided that he wanted to cuddle a hen and carried one of his new white chickens triumphantly around her new patch showing her the grass and where she could find her hopper, house and water. I have to say, watching him come to accept smallholding life, complete with daily livestock (bit grand when it’s just hens) chores as completely normal has been such a joy.