Henny Pennies!

I thought many of you may be asking how my chickens are fairing after their horrendous ordeal with the red mites? The answer is very well indeed! And so they should... this is their new penthouse apartment.

We had a little fun the first day they moved in... we popped them into the house at bedtime and closed it up. In the morning when we opened the door they stood on the brink and looked out. It is higher than they are used to... and they hadn't negotiated a ladder before, we wondered how they would manage... would they be stuck forever in the house? No, they simply fell out, all at once in a flappy heap! Going to bed took a little longer than usual too since negotiating the ladder is a skill that takes a little time to acquire. Bluebelle flew up without touching the rungs. Wilma took it steady one step at a time and Blackie had several goes but managed to slide down the edge a couple of times before making it all the way to the top.

Inside they have a cosy nest for egg laying in luxury, the side simply open up and gives loads of room for getting at the eggs.!

And today we had 3 eggs for the first time since the red mite attack.

Wilma the old girl, lays roughly every two days... a giant whopper of an egg. Bluebelle didn't give up in spite of the red mite attack, but poor Blackie was so dreadfully unwell she gave up laying for the last two weeks and we were beginning to think she might just be a freeloader forever, until this morning, that is. Well done Blackie!!

The new house is a dream to keep clean, I line the drawers under the perches with paper and then every morning I simply compost a layer of newspaper and droppings. Then every couple of weeks you can hose the house down or clean it with bird friendly disinfectant... it drys very quickly or you can use old towels to wipe it dry.

So there you have it... crises over and done with methinks. And now on to the other all-consuming passion of my life at the moment. The allotment... yes I know this is turning into a gardening blog but it is taking up a lot of my time at the moment. Sigh... it's also a bit disheartening... can you spot it?

I think I may have underestimated the dreaded couch grass. It looks like we are growing a lawn now... in fact my lawn at home was never so good!!

There is only one solution, we will have to garden through plastic or cardboard for this year. Some of the potatoes were already poking up so I made holes for those but there is no sign of the others, I shall have to watch for them coming through and then make holes in the plastic.

The row of beans and fennel that I sowed will probably not come to much with this amount of grass growing back so quickly. From now on I shall sow into modules at home and then plant seedlings through plastic or cardboard. Of course the downside of this is that now the slugs and snails have a lovely dark, damp place to live under the plastic...

I fleeced over the two brussels sprout seedlings - that's my Christmas dinner veg and I don't want the deer eating them...

Talking of the deer... I wondered if 'Gladys' could help. Do you remember Gladys? - my Scarecrow bride - well she's dressed down for the allotment but I hope that she will deter the deer a little. We shall see... she doesn't do much raking though.

Oooh and I was given a very useful tip to combat the slugs and snails... scatter some of those coppers (2p and 1p pieces) that you have been saving for a rainy day around the base of your lettuce plants. The small amount of copper in the coins gives off a mild electric charge which deters slugs. You can always gather the coins up again once you have eaten the salad!


  1. Beautiful penthouse, wish my place was half as nice. :-)

  2. The copper thing doesn't work.
    I have tried everything to get rid of slugs humanely, ie not killing them.

    I have entirely bounded tubs with copper strip only to go outside and find a slug on the leaves of the plants.

    I can't bring myself to kill them though as they are only after a meal. Fortunately, so are the chickens so now any slug I find goes in there!


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