Changing Names

Why, Taubmans? Why would you change the name of your most excellent exterior paint from Taubmans Endure to Taubmans Allweather?

When we built the chicken coop way back in 2011 we chose Taubmans Endure for the paint. It has been 11 years out in the rain and sun etc and most of the coop looks as good as it did when we first put it there.

So when we needed to paint the shed at Mum’s current house, we went to look for more of this paint and could only find interior Taubmans Endure paint. We were standing there at Bunnings obviously looking lost and the paint man informated us that they had changed the name of the paint. WHY when it is so incredibly well known and you’ve spent so many years promoting it?

I first heard about it via Selling Homes Australia and that is why we chose it – we were influenced. But seriously this paint is so incredible. We’ve only had to put one coat on the shed and it looks amazing!

Here you can see the front done but the side not yet done, to get an idea of the difference between pre-painted and the end result. We did end up doing a second coat on the top fascia (here you only see one coat) right next to the green tape as that does tend to get the most of the weather.

Dad would have SO enjoyed painting this with me. My Dad loved all things handyman for most of his life, and he could always convince me to go along for a trip to the hardware store. We could both very easily get lost in there for hours even though when I was growing up we did not have the enormous Bunnings stores, it was a local hardware store which was smaller and with less range.

He loved to paint. In fact there was a time he did it as a job, for a while. He also had all the accessories one would like if you were a painter including a pretty impressive roller extender pole and a paint stirrer that looked a bit like a potato masher.

We did not find these accessories today while cleaning out the shed – apparently he left the pole behind at work when he retired and he seemed to go on a spree of buying new roller extender poles – we found at least four but none of them were the “special” one.

It was also tradition in our family to have a set of “grotties” – clothes you have specifically put aside to use for jobs like painting etc so it did not matter if you got paint on them or got them dirty. My last grotties were thrown out in a rash decluttering event Marie Kondo style plus they were too big for me.

To my new grotties – a pair of Uniqlo extra warm leggings which have been worn so many times they developed a ladder in the rear thigh area, and a tie dye t-shirt which did not keep the colour as well as I would have liked – much respect and we thank you for your sacrifice.

The chook pen as it is today after 11 years in the weather. The perches in here just get brushed off every so often and the chook poo comes right off. Honestly magical paint they have invented.

Either hilariously or tragically, when Covid was a thing and Mum and Dad being older were only allowed to have AstraZeneca it took three months before they could get their second vaccine, and Bunnings was one of the few places that did not require you to be fully vaccinated to visit. So I always would offer to take them on an outing there. It is a good place to go for a walk, completely undercover, no chance of getting wet unless it is raining and you are in the garden section or they are watering..

This was towards the end of Dad’s time with us and he suddenly grew to hate Bunnings because it was the only place he could go – he would rant and rave about them anytime I mentioned visiting. This was a shame as it meant I didn’t have a good place to take them on an outing.

I wanted some specific plants and when we went to Bunnings they were in a container that told us where Bunnings had sourced them from – a local nursery. So once they were double vaccinated I suggested we could go and look there, maybe they would be a bit cheaper at the source. In late October I talked Dad into taking a ride out there and because it wasn’t Bunnings, he agreed, and we bought our last plants together.

Driving home I was surrounded by a jungle of pittosporum in the back seat.

I would hate to estimate how many plants we bought together in my lifetime. Garden centres were a favourite place to go. I remember some gorgeous Japanese Maples we bought together when I was a teenager. Looking at real estate photos of that house we used to live in, they appear to still be going strong.

As are the pittosporums we bought together in October. Above you see them in January, having just been repotted a second time, when to even look at them was hard for me but at the same time I loved the gorgeous shade they provided.

And here above you see them today, much taller and with a cooperative chicken. The chickens LOVE these plants, they use them as a special hiding place. In summer they could most often be found in the gap behind them, hanging out and waiting for any unsuspecting bugs which might wander by.

I now have two pairs of Uniqlo Ultra Warm and to be honest I do not want to leave the house without them at the moment. Extra warm are ok for inside the house, but having used ultra warm outside I really notice the difference between them. I would have ordered more ultra warm but they are sold out in my size NOES.

The shed is painted now and we could not be happier with it. It does cost as bit more to buy Taubmans Endure OR allweather or whatever they want to call it, but it is worth it. The chickens agree. :)

Chickens, family, things to remember

Sorry All..

At the moment I’m pretty amazed if I can remember my own name and where I live, I certainly have no spare thoughts to put together comments for your blogs or a decent post for this one. I do manage the occasional comment, sorry there are not more of them.

My offsider has mostly flaked out on me, I can’t rely on them to do any of the essential tasks that need to get done at this time of year, so it is all me all the time. It is a lot more work than I was expecting, but it is 100% work I am capable of and suited to. The levels of organization.. alphabetization.. I’m feeling pretty happy about it, while at the same time completely exhausted.

Today is my first full day off where I have no intentions whatsoever of dropping into work to make sure things get done, and I have some plans – hairdressing, Christmas Shopping, a nice lunch in Berry, then a stroll around a late night Christmas Shopping event. I might see if I can park the car somewhere it can be washed, too. Hopefully this might be fodder for a post next week.

Tomorrow I have another day off and I am going to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING all day. I need a day like that, before heading back into another 5 day stint of insanity. I might see if I can manage my November wrap up post, though.

Chooks are good if perhaps inundated with treats, kitties are good. We seem to have a rodent problem. They started chewing on the coop/run as they are locked out of it at night, and that is where the food now resides.

We’ve had to put some metal capping on. We may shout ourselves an electric chair for Christmas.

Chickens, Home

Chook Time

This past weekend was the last one I will have to myself until after Christmas. Rather than clog it up with plans and going places, we spent almost all of the weekend at home, sleeping in, resting, reading, watching teevee, and watching the chickens.

Sometime on Saturday afternoon I noticed a lot of wrigglers in the pond, so we tipped all the water out. The chooks thought this was a great plan, and deeply enjoyed digging up the ground underneath, looking for bug treats.

Here is Finn, dustbathing until the white turns grey.

On Sunday afternoon, after plenty of lazing about, we suddenly decided it was time to do some jobs we’d been meaning to do for a while. I did clean out the chicken coop. For over 7 years now, the floor of the chicken coop has been covered with lino.

The lino has been deteriorating slowly, today part of it kinda gave up. It is ok, the floor is painted with many levels of undercoat and then Taubmans Endure. But I’d rather there be something between the sand and chicken poop, so next coop clean out we might have to figure out a new plan for this.

While I did that job, The Other Half did the clean out the gutters job. The chickens were gifted with the leaves and gleefully picked through them looking for bugs to eat.

Then they were given some corn on the cob, and the last bit of cabbage. Plus some blueberries. Earlier in the day they got watermelon, and the day before, egg and cucumber.

Every night since the fox attack, the chickens have been literally boarded into the enclosure each night with a piece of marine plywood. This was partially for our own comfort levels, but also because we needed to figure out a new door solution which we could rely on.. We believe we have worked it out, we have installed tracks for this door.

The trouble with this solution is they do need an adult to come and let them out in the morning. They are most unimpressed with this plan. The early bird has to sit inside and watch the worms from a distance, they cannot catch them.

Two weeks have passed, in which time the fox has not returned. We have a motion activated camera and we had a trap set up – we took the trap back today and have now moved into defense mode, with motion activated sensor lights. The only thing seen on the camera has been rats, and a one very stealthy cat.


The Return

Keeping a chicken in isolation is not quite as easy as one might think. We’ve done this twice before now, with the help of our sick tent and setting up a large cardboard box in the nirvana. When Kitty returned home from the vet on Sunday afternoon, we tried setting her up out in the nirvana but all she tried to do was fly out of the box. Rest was what she needed, flying was not on the rest menu, so the small chicken tent was set up for her. She can’t fly out of that.

The photo you see above was sent to me by Sephyroth, all the way over in America. We have the technology, we will use it. This camera allows us to check in remotely and make sure everything is ok, without going into the room and disturbing her.

However unlike the previous chickens, Kitty was mainly bruised and just needed some painkillers, antibiotics to be on the safe side as there were a couple of tiny breaks in the skin, and time to heal. We soon discovered any noise that we made in the house disturbed from her rest. That was ok during the day, but we really wanted her to sleep at night, so efforts were made to be as quiet as possible.

In the day time, if you would walk past the door you could hear her making her little chicken noises in there – enter the room and she would chicken talk up a storm. For the most part we left her to rest with medication sessions in the morning and afternoon, and a couple of other checkins to remove any mess she’d made, and to collect her daily eggs. Yes, she kept on laying! However those eggs cannot be eaten by us or the other girls due to the medications. I can feed them back to her, though.

How do you medicate a chicken? Depends on the chicken. With our previous sick tent chickens, syringes were the order of the day. But with Kitty that meant a little too much handling her and we wanted to avoid that as much as possible – not because she would mind being handled, but because due to her bruising handling would be painful for her. We had to get creative.

We would measure out her painkiller, which is almost like a gel, and add it to tuna. Chickens love tuna, Kitty is a huge fan of it, and there would never be anything left on the plate. So that worked quite well.

At first I tried adding her antibiotic tablet to cucumber and I was surprised to find she went right for the little pieces of tablet I’d put into small knife holes in the cucumber. She did that for three or four doses and then suddenly decided she did not like the tablets, so would pick them up and drop them, then go back to eating the cucumber. Not so optimal.

But give Kitty a blueberry, regardless of the size, she is going to make very short work of it. Chickens do not have teeth, they usually pierce a blueberry with their beak and then swallow it whole. Kitty does not even bother with the piercing, I can’t quite explain what happens but one minute the blueberry is there, whole, and the next minute it is GONE. A small knife cut, pop the piece of tablet inside, and she is none the wiser about the tablet being there. The white thing you see in the middle of the blueberry is the tablet.

She seemed to be doing quite well, and by Thursday when she decided to leave the sick tent for a stroll around the spare room, we both felt like the weekend would be a good time to reintroduce her to the flock. Friday morning was her last dose of painkiller, so we would only have to worry about giving her the antibiotic – which is difficult when there are other chickens nearby who loooooove the blueberries too.

When we got home from work on Friday I gave her the afternoon antibiotics, and then we carried the sick tent out into the yard. I will not lie, we were both a bit unsure what would happen. Sometimes girls are not accepted back into the flock, or they have to put up a fight to regain their position. We let Kitty out into the free ranging yard first and the other girls were so excited to see her.. there was a lot of noisy chicken talk..

Then we let the girls out to join Kitty, and it was like she’d never been away. She took up her normal place in the flock, second on the pecking order right underneath her sister Lizzy. They all went into the garden bed to madly dustbathe, and we humans had a nice hug to celebrate this moment. There may have been salt water in our eyes, too.

She has been out living the chicken life all weekend, we have not been very far away so they’ve been allowed to free range and have had a great time eating all the bugs they can find. We did 4 doses of antibiotic hidden in the blueberries, and I distract the other girls with a different treat while The Other Half gives her the blueberries.

Lizzy is asking what kind of treats do you have for us, human? I think the better question would be.. what treats haven’t they had? They have been terribly spoiled this past week. Tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob, cucumber, cabbage, blueberries, watermelon rinds, mango, tuna, egg..


Somebody Is Watching..

As I made the preparations for Cottage Pie last week, I had this feeling, somebody was watching me.. and then I found out I was right. This is Foo. However over time, as the two white ladies usually travel together in a pack, their name has become finnfoo or foofinn.

Immediately afterwards I heard this song in my head. We have that song on our playlist. The original is actually a Michael Jackson song. I like the techno beats version better.


The BeeGee

At what point does one decide their chicken is on the mend? Is it when you place your chicken on a towel on a chair while you run to grab something and when you return you discover your chicken has decided to take off, fly down, and run over to visit with their chicken friends who are on the other side of the shadecloth? They had a lovely chicken chat.

Is it when this chicken decides it will prefer to keep the large plant pot in between itself and yourself? When you have to chase her to pick her back up? Or does one want to keep from thinking this in case of jinxing her? I’m a bit superstitious like that.

In some ways all of this progress stuff is a very excellent sign. Sure, she is not anywhere near ready to rejoin her flock. When she walks she is still a little off balance. But this time last week she was not even able to stand. She does not seem to want to eat on her own but she will eat when we offer her food held at the precise location most convenient for pecking.

More than anything else, I want BeeGee to get back to living her optimal chicken life. Having said that, these moments I am getting to spend with her, where she is sitting on my lap eating chicken crumble mash out of a bowl.. these moments are very special for me.

The hours – quite literally – that she has spent sleeping on me after a feed while I gently trace the patterns in her feathers.. the way her gold feathers reflect the light in the evening, these are all memories I am storing in my memory banks and keeping.

For now, I’m just planning to enjoy these moments. I have a lot of hope that she will get back to her normal chicken life. It may take a bit longer than any of us would like. We’ve done everything possible for her and we will continue to do so. The rest of it is up to her.

I’m not going to bore you with too many updates – non-chicken posts for this next week on the blog are already scheduled. Until she is back with her flock you may get a quick Saturday post.


Sick Chicken Update

This has been by my side pretty much everywhere I have gone since Friday last week. I do not know how we would do any of this without the video camera. It allows us to keep an eye on her without having to disturb her all the time. At night it is infra-red, so we can see her in the dark.

On Friday I spoke to the vet from Easter Sunday as well as the exotic animals vet, who wanted to see her at her next available appointment which was Saturday morning. I felt it was important to point out that the symptoms we were seeing on Thursday were quite different to what we saw on Sunday, where she just seemed unbalanced. Partly it is our fault for picking up on the chicken being unwell so quickly – the tell tale symptoms took more time to develop.

Saturday morning we took Beegee to the vet, who wanted to do some tests and an x-ray, she would call us in a couple of hours with any results. We returned home and energetically cleaned the delicate nirvana. I’m not good at waiting at the best of times.

The x-rays showed two different internal infections – one in the ear, and one in the last stage of the digestive tract. Either one of these on their own would be no big deal, but the two together means her chances of survival are around 30%. So we had a tough decision to make – euthanase or throw everything possible at her and see how she does.

This is never an easy decision to make. Beegee had shown me over the previous week that she is a fighter and we wanted to give her every chance, so the vet loaded her up with antibiotic injections – meaning we would not have to dose her for the next 24 hours therefore she could rest as much as possible.

Saturday evening we managed to get some good feeds into her, and she was eating beautifully. We’ve noticed she is more alert in the afternoon and evening which is not quite normal for a chicken, they usually sleep at night and you can’t really wake them up to the normal stage of chicken alert-ness.

On Sunday we focused on medication, food, and making her super comfortable. Sunday night we needed to get some good sleep, so I asked Sephyroth if he could help out by watching my chicken and letting me know if she tried to stand up AKA poop, or if anything weird happened. Above you see a screenshot I sent him so he could know what he was seeing on camera. He could message me if I needed to get up and check on her. That worked out great.

Monday we began to see some positive signs – her poops began to smell the way chicken poop should instead of OMG get that smelly thing out of here! She stood up and stayed standing up, then she took off across the room without falling over.

I spoke to the vet and gave her the link to the camera so she could see what I was seeing. She said that the standing meant we were having success on the infection in the digestive area. It did make life slightly harder for us, because we needed to find a way to best support her in sleeping and standing. An extra rolled up towel mostly did the trick.

Monday night around 11:30 we went in to check on her and she was looking a lot better suddenly. The ear infection was making her tilt her head and neck to the side – this straightened right up. When I checked on the camera feed about 2:30am, I was so freaked out by what I saw..

Beegee had decided she needed to be “up” on a roost. This was an incredibly good sign.

So we both got up and created her a roost with a piece of wood sitting underneath her, like she would be used to in the coop within the “nest” we had made her which was supporting her neck and head. We slept a lot better with the knowledge that if she did poop, she would not be sitting in it, which was the thing keeping me awake the most. Once a chicken is settled on the roost they usually stay there all night.

Tuesday has generally been a day of medication, feeding and trying to get her to stay in her special chicken roost bed. She is making progress. We are by no means out of the woods yet. The biggest concern is that the ear infection might spread into the brain, and that she would be unlikely to recover from.

We have hope, and for now that is enough. :) But just so you know, I am a bit sleep deprived and not around much, and I have a lot of unread posts in my feed reader. I will catch up eventually. :)


In The Sick Tent

For 99% of their lives, our chickens have it pretty darn good. They are regularly spoiled with healthy treats that they love, everything from tuna to tomato to lactose free yoghurt to blueberries and watermelon and many other treats in between.

They have a large chicken pen where they can safely roam. They have a great chicken coop plus an indoor run where they can hang out if it rains, and an area underneath that which mostly remains dry where they can dust bathe even if it is raining. They have food and water inside the indoor run itself, plus several choices of water to drink from in the large chicken pen.

Most days they get to “free range” a grassed area, garden beds, and hidden away safely from most prying eyes, they have their own special leaf litter dustbathing extravaganza.

And if all of *that* wasn’t enough, they have two owners – Snoskred who loves to observe them and notes when one of them is Not Feeling Great, and The Other Half who grew up a country boy and is able to handle them very deftly when required, plus he is technically crafty and can create solutions when they need them. We have needed the latter this week and Snoskred has begun to learn more handling skills herself.

On Good Friday I began to notice something a bit off about BeeGee. She was not her usual speedy self, and seemed to be having some trouble with reaching the ground to peck. It almost seemed like her crop was swollen – the crop is the area all food goes into once it is swallowed. It is kind of a chicken fuel holding tank, before it moves into the stomach.

Most of the time when something goes wrong with a chicken the best thing is to observe. As long as they are eating and drinking and pooping and flocking, many issues do resolve of their own accord. It can be difficult as a chicken owner to know when to step in, especially when your girls are a bit flighty and catching them causes stress on its own.

The next morning – Saturday – the swelling had mostly gone down and she ate her food like a normal chicken. As the day went on, however, we began to notice that swelling again, and when I took them a treat of tomato in the afternoon she did not show a lot of interest. I figured some lactose free yoghurt might be a good idea, and she certainly did not miss out on any of that.

My general rule is, as long as they are eating, drinking and pooping, we observe and don’t intervene – and if we do have to examine the chicken more closely in that instance, we would do it at night time once all the girls get up on the roost and are less.. upset about humans because they are half asleep. So after the yoghurt, we’re back to observing her some more. There are some exceptions to this rule but this post is going to be long enough. Another time.

On Easter Sunday, she was not at all interested in the scratch mix, and I could see she was pretending to be a chicken – pecking at the scratch but not actually picking any of it up. That decided our next course of action – catch her, put her in a carrier and head to the vet.

Of course it had to be Easter Sunday, so this would be an Up Money vet visit. I’m firmly of the belief that you buy it, you bought it, you take care of it whatever it costs. We were not sure what the outcome would be or even if our well versed in chickens vet would be available – sadly she was not and the vet on duty admitted she knew a little but not a lot. As a chicken owner that can happen fairly often – many times we’ve done our research and we know more about what could be happening than the vet we were seeing.

Even if you do get lucky and have a vet with loads of chicken info, chances of getting a solid diagnosis are pretty slim. The vet did find a temperature variation with one leg, which could mean there is something going on in that leg. Chickens do a lot of jumping and they can sometimes injure themselves. But it could also be a host of other things, everything from ear mites to a stroke. She was off balance, that was for sure.

We came up with a plan of treat with anti-inflammatory, isolate, syringe feed if necessary, and see how she does. We also included in this plan to dose all the chickens with Ivomec which treats external and internal parasites aka worms, mite and lice. This is something we do from time to time, though it has been a while since we’ve done it.

We do have a zip up tent we can use for isolation. So on arrival home the tent was set up with a roost, a feeding and water station, and a cardboard base for easy cleaning.

I personally find isolating a chicken to be Tough Work, not for them, but for *me*. It is really difficult when a girl cannot be a part of the flock, out in the world living her best chicken life. If you isolate for too long they will lose their place in the flock and have to fight for it all over again, so you want them to be in the best shape possible before you re-introduce but it is difficult to know what shape they are really in when they have a small area to reside in.

BeeGee is an incredibly sweet girl though she has always been of the opinion that humans should stay a respectable distance away from her. Since becoming ill she has decided humans are not so bad, and is quite happy to sit on us and be given medication or food. During her sick tent time thus far, we have had many discussions – she talks in chicken which I can speak. Of course I have no idea what I am saying, but she does not seem to mind.

By Easter Monday we were able to get some fluids into her each time we gave her medication, and she was eating watermelon, tuna, sweet corn, and soft chicken crumble mash.

One minute you think things are going well and she is eating up a storm which is always a great sign, the next minute you are not so sure, the following minute you think something really terrible and unfixable is wrong with her due to a new symptom you spot or – warning tmi – a not so great poop. We think the medication is the cause of that.

On the Tuesday after Easter, we were starting to feel like she needed a bit more space to move around, so The Other Half looked for a large box while at work, and we set up Sick Chicken Palace. This box is huge!

First we laid in a plastic table cloth. Chickens can be messy- everything from spilling water to food to pooping – and we wanted to protect the base cardboard.

Really, there are only two things missing in here – a dustbathing box, and some turf, and you would have everything a chook needs in one convenient spot. And considering that she might be here long term, we may well add those things in.

Wednesday she was eating and drinking on her own. She was still not very steady on her feet, but she was now able to reach the ground and peck and eat.

In the afternoon I went out and sat her on my lap and offered her all manner of treats but the only thing she wanted was chicken crumble and water, and she ate a fair bit of that which made me very happy. After she finished eating I sat there with her for an hour, with her falling asleep and me supporting her head with my hand. I’m getting very attached to this chicken by now.

Update –

Things took a turn for the worse over the weekend but it is a bit of a long story, for another blog post. Right now on Sunday evening, Beegee is resting in a smaller box indoors and we are keeping a very close eye on her mostly by a video camera stream so we don’t have to bother her too often in between her regular feedings and waterings.

We do have a diagnosis – it is an ear infection, plus another infection internally. If it were just one of those, there would be a good potential outcome but the two together makes it less certain.

Not much sleep has been had in Snoskredland the last two nights, we’re both pretty exhausted. This chicken is a fighter and we will do everything we can to help her win. She is comfortable, she is receiving antibiotics and pain medication which is helping her and she has everything she needs close by plus two doting humans to attend to her every need.

Please keep a good thought for my lovely Beegee. :) I will update on Wednesday.


The Old Chook Pen

Any chicken owner who has built a chook pen of any kind will tell you all the things they would do to improve it next time. I have a list of things so, so, SO long. Some of them we have already done – you see the winged roof we added to protect the run a bit better from rain. There is just one thing I would never change..

That one thing I would never change is the type and colour of the paint we chose to paint it with – both the exterior and the interior.

I first heard about Taubmans Endure on the TV show Selling Houses Australia. I’m not usually one who follows recommendations but the folks on that show explained enough about how the paint works plus I read the tin when we bought it.


Seven years later, this chook pen has been out in the weather 24/7 and we have only had to replace one door just a couple of weeks ago – due to our bad design water runs straight off the roof onto the nesting box lid and due to a poor choice of materials water collected there and ended up, eventually, after a heck of a lot of abuse, causing a small area of rotted wood.


I chose my favourite shade of teal green for the exterior and a pale yellow for the interior. Here you see some recently painted batons which we used for the sarlon screens with my most recent manicure in the foreground. Is it coincidence that they almost match? Nope. Not even a little bit. I love that shade of green. ;)


We have just replaced the door with a new one – this time we are using marine ply, and we are protecting it better with some plastic tablecloth material, instead of the leftover linoleum flooring we used from inside the chook pen.


You really cannot tell the freshly painted door from the 7 year old painted parts. There are some areas where a good clean of the surface might be required however for the most part it looks as good now as it did when we first finished it.


And that is quite a feat considering the amount of dirt, rain, dust, chook poop, and that one time Rosie tore off a toenail and splattered blood all over an interior wall. Lucky for me I already knew what to do after that one time I cut her toenails – you dip the toe into cornflour and it stops the bleeding.

That roost in the photo above is where the chickens sleep at night – you would expect it to be a lot more dirty from 7 years of chicken sleeping and pooping but this Endure paint is a bit awesome.

Anyway, if you have something you want to paint once really well and then forget all about it, I can’t recommend Taubmans Endure highly enough. They rather sadly are not paying me anything to say this.

If they happen to stumble upon this post and wish to offer me another tin of paint I will take it, in the exact same colour of green – and that is another point. We are still able to use the leftover green paint from 7 years ago. I’m sure that is probably a big No No and not supposed to be done, but it works for us. :)