Hello stranger, sorry to have neglected you for so long. So what has been happening? Oh yes, with the blackcurrant harvest imminent we decided to move the chicken run from outside the garden (and therefore right in the way of the giant picking machine driven by my baby brother) to the garden’s inner sanctum. Well inside the fence, anyway.
As we placed the coop in its intended spot, I noticed a faint itching sensation along my hairline. It very quickly changed from being faint to being actually quite maddening. I didn’t have to look twice. We had red mite infestation in the chicken coop (goodness, even writing about it now makes my scalp itch). The tiny blighters were hiding under the perches, inside the nesting boxes and pretty much in every nook and cranny. With the benefit of hindsight I realised that the chickens had been preening a little bit too much. No wonder, poor little mite-bitten birds.
Action was needed.
We moved the flock into their new run and moved the coop out again. The cockerel, indignant, watched me as I (now sporting a fetching headscarf) hosed down, sprayed and scrubbed his castle. I turned it this way and that. So much so that by the time I finished with it, the little wooden house was falling apart. Fair to point out that it had been given to us for free by a friend, who used it for years before that. It was coming to the end of its life anyway.
Cue internet search, fill in my card details, new chicken palace arrived a couple of days later (by that time the hens were laying eggs into kind of ‘convertible nesting boxes’ (read: roof falling off). New coop assembled, the cockerel celebrated by walking inside in circles, clucking very loudly.
The red mites are gone now. The chickens far from being grateful for this expensive exercise, however, have their sights on a new (and somewhat bigger) dwelling. They sit as close to our house as they can in their new run.
Every time I walk past the window, I feel being watched by wistful poultry…