A couple of weeks ago, I remarked that I could never understand why people stated that chickens were stupid. For their size, they seemed to be reasonably alert. They know when the wedge tail eagles are flying overhead looking for a tasty chicken sized snack and they all communicate as a flock and run for the cover of the trees.
When the Kookaburra sings, the chickens stop and listen to whatever message the wild birds are providing.
Yet over the past week, I've come to think that chickens are not stupid, they simply just don't like change.
Over the past few days, I've improved - from my point of view anyway - the vestibule to the chicken enclosure. The chickens haven't liked it one bit and now refuse to use the new vestibule to exit the hen house. They'll all peek outside into the food forest, but not take a single step onto the pleasant all weather surface. The inside of the chicken house has a concrete slab, so I don't believe that they're having troubles with the flag stones in the vestibule. Maybe, they just don't like change...
Oh well. I've had to scare the chickens into using the vestibule and it seems to be slowly working for about half of the flock.
Araucana chickens who is a little bit flighty.
At this time of year, the 14 chickens - all bar one of whom are heritage breeds - lay about 1 egg per day. Yesterday the first of the larger blue Araucana eggs was delivered. For the past month or so, only the Silkie_chickens have been on the lay. They generally lay during Autumn and early Winter because unlike most chickens, they do not seem to have to regrow their feathers after the summer moult during this period. Chickens generally can not regrow feathers and lay eggs at the same time, so Autumn is generally a lean period for egg production.
It hasn't all been about the chickens though as I'm in the process of increasing the water storage here and hopefully adding another two 5,500 litre water tanks (1,450 gallons).
However, being on the side of a mountain, means that there is no flat land, so any flat land has to be excavated. I can't afford to pay for an excavator to come in and dig out the site and neither do I wish to repair the damage that those machines do. Therefore, I chose to dig out the site by hand.
Nothing is ever easy though as huge rocks (volunteer garden bed retaining walls) float through the clay / volcanic loam and there are some tree stumps which I'm pretty certain pre-date white settlement. One of the stumps was so big it took four work days to remove. Fortunately the other four stumps seem to be a little quicker (or maybe, I'm just getting better at digging them out and cutting them up?).
The site itself will probably take another week or so of work before it is ready to receive the new water tanks. I also intend to build a steel lined wood shed on the site too.
The excavated top soil is going to good use too as it becomes new garden beds. You can never have too much flat land.
The weather here has been generally cool and cloudy and at about 4pm, it is 6 degrees Celsius (43F) outside and probably won't cool down much more over night due to the cloud layer. However, the humidity is about 99% and so far this year there has been 385mm (15.5 inches) of rainfall.