It’s been (more than) a year since we moved to our lifestyle block. I still remember leaving Auckland at 5am with a boot full of chickens. The other half left with a boot full of cats and the trailer full of random odd items that we didn’t want on the removals truck. I arrived in Whangarei at 8am with a boot full of very smelly chickens. The other half arrived a little later with the type of hearing loss that can only be achieved after spending 3.5 hours in a car with 6 unhappy cats.
Since then we’ve expanded the chicken collection and added ducks and more recently geese. I’ve learned how to make chicken coops, and then had lots and lots of practice perfecting them as every chicken on the premises decided to go broody at the same time. I’ve made everything from a small rabbit-style coop, through to a walk in shed, and even a portable (sort of) walk in fully-covered aviary.
On the downside we’ve dealt with a mysterious respiratory illness in the chooks, which remained mysterious even after extensive testing was carried out by MPI, though we have a long list of things that it wasn’t. With that over and done with (thankfully only affecting a couple of hatches), we then had fowl pox make an appearance. Fowl pox is basically chicken pox for chickens (and other poultry) and isn’t generally problematic unless a chook is unfortunate enough to get a pox in a really stupid location (like on its eyelid, or worse still, inside the mouth).
As well as poultry, we’ve (well I say “we”, the other half has) removed fifty or so olive trees from the bottom paddock and replaced them with a wide variety of fruit trees, including apples, pears, avocado, fig, loquat, oranges, nashi, cherries and almonds. Eventually one of us will get around to installing some chicken wire around that paddock and the recently acquired geese will move in there.
We’ve bought and learned how to use a ride-on mower. Mowing the lawn (or the orchard…) has never been so much fun! Anyone that hates mowing the lawn should get a ride on 🙂
Speaking of mowers, the sheep are doing well. Stinky, the ram, is in with them and we will hopefully have some lambs in spring. The two Anglo-Nubian dairy goats are still respecting their fences (when they’re turned on anyway). They’ve also had a visit to a buck and likewise are hopefully expecting in September. The goats had their living quarters expanded as part of the mad build-a-billion-coops campaign, using a variation on the walk-in chicken shed design (because goats totally NEED a chicken sized door, right?)
Off the lifestyle block I’ve become involved with badminton in Northland. I’m playing on a couple of their teams, playing 3 times a week most weeks, and some weekends as well. I’ve also discovered that yoga is not just for hippies.