The eBay henhouse makeover is almost complete – it will do Mabel, in particular, good to have a change of scene. She’s gone broody – yes, little Mabel, the tiny Araucana. She’s so small – and it being only two years since she hatched out herself – it seems really rather sweet. Plus, she isn’t pecking or being remotely aggressive, she just wants to sit on her eggs and that’s that. We first noticed her maternal mood when it was only Audrey emerging from the henhouse each morning. On inspection, Mabel had lost weight, as broodies tend to simply incubate in the nesting box without eating or drinking. So we’ve been taking her out of the house – closing the pop-hole so she doesn’t return – and placing her by her food and water.
At first she simply sits there entirely still while Audrey animatedly pecks about, no doubt wondering what on earth is going on with her poultry pal. After a while she gets back on her feet and eats some layers’ pellets and has a drink, then impatiently paces up and down the inner run and up to the closed henhouse door. Still, stopping her from resuming her position on the nest seems to have worked over the week as she’s emerging out of the house of her own accord now.
The only oddity now is that she has taken to perching outside the coop at night instead of heading to bed. I’d suspect this to be due to red mite, but Audrey happily struts in and beds down as usual. Never mind, as long as Mabel resumes production of her beautiful pale bluey-green eggs soon, we’re happy to tuck her in at night.
We spent most of last Sunday getting the new (but second-hand) coop up to scratch (sorry) for her and our other exacting client Audrey. James channelled his inner carpenter crafting a very clever hinged wooden flap that keeps the draughts out while allowing access to a slide-out a tray each time we clean the coop, as well as various clever features such as a dual-purpose latch. I’d erected a cardboard canopy over the house so the rain didn’t stop us painting in that I’m-damned-if-the-weather’s-going-to-stop-us mode. We’ll complete it with finishing touches this weekend and install the poultry residents.