We received a couple of large packages on Friday, but missed one which was the chicken run we'd ordered - as luck had it I was working from Leeds on Friday afternoon, so I checked how far the depot was from me and it was only 9 minutes away - if I waited until Saturday to pick it up it was a 2 hour round-trip from our home...
The only possible problem was my car isn't exactly large, and the chicken run would probably be in quite large boxes... But I thought I'd risk it anyway! I asked at the counter if I could see the boxes first and the guy said "well it's in the large section but I'll bring it out and you can check". He brought out two massive boxes - one squat square one and one long one which was taller than me!
I ended up opening the squat box and spreading it's contents around my car anywhere it would fit - down the sides of the seats, in the passenger footwell, crammed along the roof area... Then the long package was stuffed across the passenger side, which worked quite well.
Driving home on the motorway was... fun. I had to hold onto it going round corners but got it home safely and mostly without any drama (although it's got my seats a bit dirty - grrrr!
The next day I spent a couple of 'enjoyable' hours in the afternoon building the frame:
The instructions are quite vague, so it's kind of like building a huge metal meccano set with Ikea instructions.
It slowly started to take shape...
Finally a confused half hour trying to work out how the doors work (I'd forgotten some of the bits tucked down the side of the seat in my car!), it was done (well, the frame at least) - it's pretty big...
I didn't want to miss out testing it...
The next step is finding time to fit the mesh and making sure it's all secure - this is the most time-consuming bit apparently and is incredibly fiddly and will inevitably end up with fingers scratched to ribbons from cut wire mesh..!
After that is done, all we need is some space to actually put it - hurry up tree people!!!
This is how our kitchen looks at the moment (and will do for a couple of weeks until the trees are cut back and we can actually get things ready for the hens!)...
The main chicken run has been ordered! It's due for delivery in the next few days. This is only slightly worrying as we need some trees cut back (and some removing altogether) before it will fit in it's intended place...
And we've decided on a coop! It's the most fabulous Green Frog Designs Chicken Wagon which will be a great home to the hens and look ace on camera too.
Sharing a video of an alligator being trained to ring a bell using positive reinforcement (adding something nice, eg a food reward) and negative punishment (taking away something nice, such as attention when a dog jumps up).
The cool thing about force free training methods are that they work with all species, be it dogs, alligators, hyenas or humans! All around the world people are using modern, gentle training methods to teach all sorts of animals. This includes (but is not limted to!) pet rats, wild animals in zoos for a form of stimulation, and even zoo animals to willingly consent to veterinary procedures, such as blood tests!
How cute is that alligator?! :)
Yep, today our little Raiden turns 12 weeks old! He's gone from this:
To this, in a month
To celebrate we took Raiden for his first walk on the beach. We thought he might get to see lots of people and his first ever other dogs...but there was NOBODY there! :(
Oh well, Raiden had a wonderful time anyway.
He got to have a good explore. He had his first experience of thick gooey mud (and, unlike Zoey, didn't mind it at all)
And he had his first experience of salt water - cue the "Nooo Rey, don't drink that!!" calls :D
He had a whale of a time charging through really tall grass, smashing his face into it and flailing about madly!!
After the beach because we had seen no dogs we decided to walk to the field near our house to see if there was anybody there - nope! But, as there were no distractions, Rey got to try going off the lead 'properly' with no longline trailing after him :D
And here's a video of him playing with the bottle we carried his water in :)
We borrowed my nephew Joe last weekend to help with dismantling and disposing of the old rotten coop.
We thought initially it would be a quick 10 minute job - it ended up taking us nearly 4 hours with a crowbar, sledgehammer and axe to take the coop to bits and burn it... What didn't help was Helen's plants which took a bit of a burning - hopefully they'll come back in the spring!
The space looks a lot bigger without the coop, and it makes you realise there was quite a bit of wasted space before.
The only problem we had was the explosions as the stone flags exploded (!) due to the heat, spraying us, my car and our house with red-hot stone and burning wood - perfectly safe!
I might have some explaining to do.
My dad told me about the easier upload on the blog so I thought I'd check it out and try posting some photos from the past week!
Here's a photo from a sunny walk the other day (too hot...)
Zoey's wonderful smile :)
And Raiden at 11 week old playing with the turtle toy my family bought him :)
We've upgraded our blog thing!
Our new CMS (Content Management System, don'tchaknow!) is a bit new and improved over the old system - it means it's easier to add news which looks nice and has pictures and stuff, and you can click on an image for a full size version.
Let me know what you think. As a way of testing it, here's a pic I took on Saturday night of Ribble Head Viaduct as the sun faded...
This is where it starts to get a bit exciting - we thought it only fair that those lovely people that have helped us towards our new coop should be the ones that get to say which breeds of chickens we should try and get!
Although we haven't actually found a replacement coop yet, we are looking and so we might as well start thinking about what hens will get to live in there too!
Scarlet has found a breeder near her and they usually have some or all of the following, so Lynn, CC and Kate, what do you think of...
Welsummer (bantam or standard)
Rhode Island Red
And finally, especially for Lynn: Silkie!
We might have an idea of coop soon too so we'll run that past you too :)
Today, very suddenly, Zoey began acting seriously ill.
In the morning she woke in a playful mood and started trying to wrestle with Kasper. As I needed more sleep Lyle took Zoey downstairs and I kept Kasper with me so we could sleep more.
Once we were all up we let Zoey out from her crate and immediately something was very wrong. She walked slowly and seemed to be in pain and absolutely terrified...her tail was tucked right under her belly, her eyes were wide, her ears were pulled back and her body was curved. And she was trembling, violently, her body shuddering.
I went beside her and soothed her whilst gently checking her body over. Nothing seemed to cause her pain.
She took herself to the dog bed and curled up unhappily to rest. Five minutes passed and the violent tremors were replaced with gentle shudders, and then fifteem minutes later they stopped too.
We called the emergency vet and they said to wait until she was awake and see how she behaved. If she got any worse they advised to bring her in, but it wasn't necessary yet as she hadn't been sick, her stools were normal and there were no other symptoms.
After over an hour's rest Zoey woke up. She got up from the bed and came and settled beside me on the couch...and straight away the hard shivering began :(
Lyle called the vet and said we would be bringing her in. As soon as we were outside Zoey was much improved; walking almost normally and interested in her surroundings.
The vet did many checks (eyes, gum, joints, heart, temperature etc) and the only thing that showed up was she was slightly too warm.
The vet gave Zoey an anti-biotic and an an anti-inflammatory injection and said to bring her back in if it continued, but hopefully it's a one time thing.
Throughout the ordeal Zoey was OUTSTANDING - I have never been so proud of one of my dogs.
By the time we got back from the vets she was completely herself. Once we got out the taxi she had a little walk and then we came home. She played with her toys (including squeaky balls, which we usually hide from her as she's so noisy!) and now she's sleeping on the couch.
Please be better my little beauty.
For more info and photos please see the forum!
Happy Birthday dad :D
Hope you have a wonderful day -- the sun is shining for you...or at least it is as long as you have the same weather as us :P
Have an awesome day <3
We really want to get some chickens but the coop needs replacing and they aren't "cheep" :(
If you can, we'd love your help
If you came to hencam because you're annoyed that someone tried to send you a virus, it's annoying me too!
It seems, in a bid to get their rubbish through anti-spam filters, unscrupulous idiots are faking emails from @hencam.co.uk to get their spam through.
Please ignore anything that doesn't come from Neil or Scarlet @ hencam...
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their private parts.
Zoey began limping a week ago, so she has been on restricted exercise. She hasn't limped for several days now so we have been gradually increasing her movement and exercise.
I discovered that balance balls / discs were good for dogs; it helped tone their muscles, improve their balance and was good for recovering from injuries. Unfortunately the disc we would buy costs £50, so for now we would have to make our own...from couch cushions!!
This works really well and, as you will see from the following photos, Zoey really (really really) enjoys her training sessions with her balance stack :)
I don't give her any cues / instructions in regards to what I want her to do, I simply mark and reward her for interacting with the cushions...she gets rewarded for jumping on them, sitting on them, laying on them, waving her paws, digging...you get the idea :P
Waving her paw
Once she'd offered a few behaviours on the cushion I would click but throw her treat across the room. This meant she would chase after it and reset her position, so she had to jump on the stack again and could begin offering things from scratch
Lyle snapped this wonderful photo as I was refilling the treat bag. Zoey was happy to sit and wait on the cushions...in fact she was happy, full stop. This is training at it's best; the dog is involved, enthusiastic and both dog and trainer are having fun!
Check out the thread 'Zoey's balancing act' on the hencam forum (in the blog section) for more pics :)
Well, we haven't actually "found" a chicken coop, we've decided on which one we want to replace the old rotten one...
The good news is it's plastic so should hopefully be red-mite resistant (less cracks for them to hide in), and it's a good size for us to get lots of chickens and maybe a golden pheasant or some quails?!
The bad news is it's £699... So it might be a while before we can afford it!
Bit of a nightmare... :(
I should really update hencam more often, apologies, but things have been hectic so I'll try and explain a little.
A couple of years ago work became a bit horrible due to my (very nice) boss leaving as the office politics were becoming ridiculous (the owner employed a starbucks server on a whim to run the programming team for the entire company!), which left me in a terrible working environment having to deal with the new regime.
Anyway, long story short my ex-boss contacted me with an offer of a job at his new company - yay! I've been there just over a year now and it's head and shoulders better than the last one, so that's good. It involves travelling once a week to Pontefract (about 40 miles away) but it's not too bad considering.
We were hoping to replace the old coop (it's rotting in several places and the nest box leaks, and it has red-mite on and off due to the old-style roofing used). I found some easy-clean alternatives but as we were about to buy circumstances plotted against us. We just can't afford it at the moment :(
The main reason is we're having some major building work carried out - the front room, stairs and landing were in desperate need of stripping and re-plastering, the ceilings need ripping out, wooden cladding taking out, and our condemned wood-burning stove needs sorting for winter, etc etc.
On top of this, a few months ago some coward hit my car whilst it was parked outside my house but didn't leave a note - the scraped and dented every panel down the side of the car - the repairers said it looked like it was either a large lorry or a drunk-driver. As nobody admitted responsibility, I had to pay for the repairs myself. I am in the process of fitting CCTV outside my house (hencam has given me a bit of experience on this subject at least!) so if it happens again I'll have evidence.
And a couple of weeks ago somebody changed lane into my car (the same side I'd just had repaired) - damaging the rear wheel arch. Although the other party was very apologetic at the time, they haven't reported it to their insurer as of now so I've had to pay for the repairs AGAIN. My insurance will go up through no fault of my own. :(
On the plus side, we found a lovely original York stone floor when the carpets were ripped up so we're going to have it restored...
Since yesterday I've been working on getting Zoey to offer snorting / sneezing in reward for a treat.
I only marked the behaviour a few times, and then she began offering it herself! That's the thing I love about Zoey, not only does she catch on very quickly with what I want her to do, but she also offers new behaviours constantly...Kasper would sit and stare at me for minutes waiting for a treat, whereas Zoey will offer numerous behaviours in the hopes of winning it...all I have to do is mark one that I like! :)
(you might have to turn the volume up, her snorts are easy to miss!)
Damn this dog is clever and loves to learn :)
Zoey is our 2.5 year old rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She is trained using only positive reinforcement, and knows over 25 tricks!
Happy Easter everyone, from all of us at hencam HQ!
May the Easter Bunny bring you lots of chocolate eggs :)
Here's mine and Lyle's Easter eggs...needless to say a certain fat-dog (aka Kasper) was very interested in them :P
If you fill in the simple form at http://menunited.prostatecanceruk.org they'll donate 50p to the charity completely free of charge!
Today we celebrated having Kasper for four years!!
We've had plenty of ups and downs with Kasper, but he is my heart dog. He has taught me so much, I knew basically nothing about dogs before we adopted him, and I love him so, so much.
We adopted him at 9 months old. He had little obedience training, was very, VERY enthusiastic around other dogs, had poor recall, was scared of strangers (especially men) and flinched if you moved too quickly towards him.
In four years he has come such a long way. He is polite when greeting other dogs, and will tell them to sod off if they are rude! He accepted his sister Zoey into the family with quite a few grumbles, but now he loves her dearly. He loves his walks, loves his treats and, surprisingly, enjoys making new (human) friends when introduced properly. He's fantastic when people are in the house and, unlike Zoey, will readily perform tricks to impress them! (Zoey is too busy hanging off their arms to do tricks!!)
HAPPY GOTCHA DAY KASPER!
(Please check out this thread here on the forum for all the pics of Kasper's day!)
Ivy died yesterday, so we have no chickens anymore. :-(
Our first chickens seemed a lot hardier - although they were a 'commercial' breed so pumped full of anti-biotics and chemicals as a chick, which helped them be as resistant to pest and disease.
Unfortunately our later chickens didn't prove as hardy - it's been horrible losing them slowly over a couple of years, and now we're not sure if we want to go through it again.
If we do, we will have to replace the coop - it's lasted an amazing length of time, but it's showing it's age now and bits of it are rotting, the door hinges are snapped, it's becoming more susceptible to red-mite infestations etc. I'm thinking of replacing it with a plastic coop, or at least one that is easier to clean and look after (and red-mite resistant).
Not really sure what to do in the meantime - I'll try and get the outdoor cam working so at least there's something on.
Sorry guys. :-(