Monday, August 1, 2011

The coop is getting there!

So whilst the coop is getting made, the girls have been sleeping here!

They don't seem to mind at fact they're getting quite tame being around us so much!  They are sticking to their huge circle of newspaper because anytime they scuttle off the newspaper onto the floorboards they slip and slide and hurriedly flap back to their makeshift perch and newspapery area.

I took them outside for their first foray into the Great Outdoors.

At first they were reluctant to leave the inside - their perchy box and the house!

But after an hour or two they got used to being on the grass and had a good nibble at the broccolini plant I dug up and gave to them.

Little Florence or Fizz as the kids call her kept wanting to come back inside though.

She escaped from the temporary enclosure and got lost wandering back in...

Can't wait for the coop to be finished...needs steel mesh reinforced all under the coop so foxes can't dig in, a nesting box lid, perches, a new roof (this one isn't insulated so will need to insulate it)...nearly there!  I have one of the first prototypes of its kind so the maker and carpenter are refining it as we go...a painful process but I'm patient if it means my girls will be that much safer.  Hopefully next weekend they can move in!  


Making the steel mesh as tough as possible.

You know that the mean fox(es) took our entire last flock...well during the week I went out into the garden to look at 'things' and found bits of my favourite girl Astrid.  And a huge hole.  The fox had obviously murdered and buried her - then came back to dig her out again and cart her off. I was physically sick.  Very much so.  Couldn't bring myself to blog about it - the grizzly aftermath - so I've stuck this in here amongst a sunnier post.

So I'm focused on making the coop as tough and predator proof as I possibly can. I've investigated lots of fox deterrents, from bait (!) which I still couldn't face, to getting Mr Bok to pee on the fenceline! and this odd idea of hanging human hair collected from hairdressers and sticking them into old stockings and hanging them from the fence! I'm sure none of these work but it just goes to show how desperate folk are to protect their livestock from foxes.

I've decided to order foxlights - who knows if it'll work but I'm willing to try.  I couldn't bear going through that loss again.  I won't let them free range unless I'm right there in the garden with them.

Hope that all your hens are safe and that you go out and have another look at your chook pens.  Have a great week!


  1. Oh I am so sorry you had to find Astrid like that :(

    Your new coop looks great, and the reinforcing sounds like a fabulous idea... and the lights, although I have no idea what they are!

    How about getting a BIG dog?!

  2. Mrs Bok, I don't know if this helps, but Linda (Woodrow) designed her chook dome with a very high roost (about 160cm high) to keep the chookies safe from foxes. They need to learn to fly up there, but once they're there, hopefully they'll be safe while they sleep. Our ISA browns can't fly very well, so we built them a swing for them to hop onto and then up to the roost.

    I'm sorry you had such a tough time finding Astrid.. :(

  3. Thanks ladies! Ali, I've been thinking and thinking about it, a maremma maybe!! but Mr Bok still isn't over the loss of our dog and doesn't want another one! I saw foxlights (I hope the hyperlink worked??) somehere and then looked them up on ABC's the new inventors, sound interesting! Expensive but if they work then I'm all for it.

    Thanks Celia, one of our hens is a d'uccle and they aren't good proofing the whole thing is our only hope I think!

  4. Great post Mrs Bok. You made me laugh as well as cry for you again. Our gorgeous little mini lop bunny went missing for 7 hours today, and my thought went to you in losing your flock last month. As the sky darkened and she couldn't be found anywhere I was afraid the foxes or possums would get here. She normally sleeps the night inside and I knew she would be scared. We ventured outside for one last search with torches, and low and behold we found her. The tears naturally flowed. It's funny how we get attached to these funny little animals

  5. Oh what a distressing time. Foxes have such nasty habits despite their cute little faces.........

    Your new coop is looking wonderful, I hope it does the trick. A friend used to call her hen house Hentridge, she joked that there was razor wire and spot lights to keep the foxes away..............

    Love the pic of the chick on your shoulder, so sweet.

    Might just go and check on my girls before I go to bed.

    Claire :}

  6. Whilst I'm still sorry about the circumstances behind your new chicks, I have to say Good Lord, they're super cute little fluffy things!

  7. I hope all of the safety measures works for the new flock.The babies look beautiful!
    I can understand your reluctance to leave them alone outside now, so sorry you had to find Astrid like that too.

  8. The pee and hair thing has always worked for us. (We think and.. touch wood)

    Your new girls are lovely. Really, really lovely. We got some new bantams recently and we couldn't be without them already. Adorable little things!

    All the best,


  9. So good to hear the new flock is doing well. I too am sorry about your find. I hope all the bad is in the past, and all new things are good.

  10. That looks like a really safe enclosure for the girls. And I am so sorry about you finding Astrid...that must have been so disturbing. The grils are so pretty. I like the photo of one on your shoulder.

  11. YAY Mrs B!!! The coop looks great and your chickies are so unusual looking! May your girls in the sky watch over your new ones and keep them safe!

  12. We have foxes here too Mrs Bok and I will be mental noting all of your fox-proofing tips. Your coop is looking wonderful and you can guarantee the end result will inspire something here at SJW... gxo

  13. What a horrible discovery for you last week :( This new coop is coming on wonderfully though - it looks gorgeous. Although I can understand the flock not wanting to leave the cosy house!

  14. I'll bet the new coop will be perfect and then they won't want to leave that one!

  15. Your coop looks quite solid. Just make sure that the wire mesh is tightly secured and if you can dig it into the ground so that the fox can't dig under neath. Here we worry that the raccoons will try to grab a hen through the chain link, so we made sure to buy small gage fencing and of course lock the hens up at night. You just do the very best you can to keep them safe. Here we might be inclined to have a shot gun handy, dare I say?

  16. so glad you're getting it all together. I think of you when I go and check my girls at night to tuck them in. It would be such a loss.

    Mine never free range unless we're home. We shut the gate to the back yard and keep a close eye on them. The rest of the time they're in the run which is connected to the coop - and is very tall!

    Your little babies are so adorable!

  17. cute. Can't wait can't wait can't wait to have our own flock somewhere in the future.

  18. They look so sweet! They will have a lovely and secure home soon and have plenty of nice outdoor time :)


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