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Barred Rock rocks the Hen House

All I can say is that we have had some really sad days in the Hen House! Our sweet little Vanilla died very unexpectedly. She was always small and frail – we sometimes called her “Cardboard” because she was so lightweight! But she was the noisiest one of the lot!! Always ran out first and complained when lunch was not served on time!! We are going to miss you, little one!

This is the last photo I took of Vanilla

Much to my pleasure, Hannes came home this week with two new chickens – they are Barred Rocks!

About Barred Rocks

The Barred rocks breed of chicken is casually referred to as “rocks” in breeder circles. They’re a cold hardy breed that is ideal for small individual farms. They’re also a favorite of small backyard flock owners since they double up as great pets too. Their name comes from the odd greyish rock pattern of their feathers. It’s eerily similar to rocks with a barred white pattern. This chicken breed is sometimes also referred to as Plymouth Rock. However, it’s better to not confuse these two as the name “Plymouth rock” refers to its extended family and not the barred rock variety by itself. Now let’s get to know a little more about this unique breed of chicken.

This breed of chicken has an interesting history too. It was first introduced as a breed in England in 1869 following a long process of cross breeding that involved Dominiques, Cochin, Black Javas and probably a couple of other exotic chicken breeds like the Malay and Dorkings.

The Plymouth Rock breed came from the original Barred rocks breed. All varieties of Plymouth rock were produced by crossing the Barred rock breed with other chicken breeds. The Barred Rock is the first and oldest member of the Plymouth Rock family. This chicken breed carries a combination of some of the best farm chicken qualities like docility, hardiness and broodiness. The barred rock chicken is also excellent at producing meat and eggs and is renowned for being a very docile bird that doesn’t create much of a ruckus like other chicken breeds do.

By nature, Barred Rocks live quite long. Though they are prized for their egg laying abilities, they also make excellent meat. The hens usually weigh about 3kg while the cock weighs about 3.4kg to 4.3kg. They are friendly birds that get along really well with people.


 [one_half]This is Tara and Rocky[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tara in front, Rocky Behind[/one_half_last]

Tara is the more curious and friendly of the two. She is also the more submissive of the two – sort of the hen-pecked one. I took an immediate liking to this one and named her Tara.


This is Rocky – she is the more formal and aloof one. Hannes called her Rocky – taken from the name Barred Rock.

[one_half]They settled in quickly[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And they love the Hen House[/one_half_last]

However, they have now stepped on Skollie’s turf and she is not having any of this. She makes sure they stay lean and slim by chasing them all around the garden. I think she is getting more of a training then these two fresh young athletes. She can only really get a good swipe at them in the Hen House when it is roosting time. Oh Boy!! She gets a few pecks in – ouch!!!

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Garden Colour

I have been in a gloomy mood of late, with my favourite chicken not doing well. Buffy has been suffering from Bumblefoot and had a major operation in December on both her feet. But alas, it is back – regardless of all the medication and the scrupulous cleaning of her feet and her New Hen House and the daily wrapping of her feet. The Vet warned of this and that it could possibly go systemic. Well, I fear this could be the case. Difficult in walking and she has pretty much stopped eating – I can manage to get soft food in – she likes porridge and yoghurt and blueberries. Shame – so I have been dismal these past two weeks and my garden has not given me joy – but wait……… what is all this interesting colour.

This is the lovely Ice cream Bush – given to me by my sister-in-law. I have always admired her garden and this bush in particular.

[one_half]Such beautiful foliage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pink, cream, green-what a combo[/one_half_last]

Love this little helper Lady Bug. They always make me smile when I see them.

[one_half]My Gerbera still delighting[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tansy is bright yellow-colour of sunshine[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love my garden art[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hearts from my friend Christine![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Yarrow has such delightful foliage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Happiness in my veggie patch[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sweet and juicy summer figs[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fur on the quince-so peachy![/one_half_last]

[one_half]The sign of new things to come[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fennel has charmed me this year[/one_half_last]

My poor, sweet Buffy. Never a moan and always trying to keep a brave face! Wish I could do more!! Let’s see how she improves!


Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Destruction 101

If I had to commentate the happenings in my back garden it would go something like this – “….The garden was devastated by Hurricane Skollie and Tornado Vanilla….” I am shattered at the total destruction 2 small chickens can inflict on an area large enough to hold a large house!! The garden is a total mess and the beautiful stone path around the house has been scratched to death.

I have lost total enjoyment and the appeal has gone right out of the window! This has all happened because the planning of the new chicken run has not materialized. We were set back this past week with a sick chicken needing surgery on her feet. Oh dear!! Poor Buffy had bumblefoot and needed to have this removed before it caused systemic damage…..that is another post (sigh!)! She is on the mend, but ….

No words can describe what you see here…… wish me luck that in the next weeks before Christmas, I can get this looking like a garden again. We have to get the chicken run up this week…..or else!

[one_half]The bed under the potato bush[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The stones are all scratched up[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This area is also destroyed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The culprit lurks[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Tornado Vanilla[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hurricane Skollie[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Potato sacks destroyed-ripped apart![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Raised bed has been infiltrated[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The new bed has not been excluded[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Plants ripped up![/one_half_last]

[one_half]A big mess!Yes-I’m talking about you![/one_half]

[one_half_last]The patchwork wrecked![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Ripped up and out! Plants uprooted![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Closer look at the devastation![/one_half_last]




I have so much to do. It will take me days to get this right! And a few trips to the nursery! Wish me luck…..

Happy Gardening xxxx

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What a Hen House?

We thought we did our “girls” a favour this weekend by buying them a brand new Hen House – well, it’s a dog house but we won’t tell them. It was not expensive and George, who builds these great pet houses, uses old pellets to build then, so they are made from 100% recycled material! George makes a living buy building these and he does a really fine job. He is a homeless man and this is a good initiative to support.

Well, getting back to the Hen House.

We put it up on “stilts” so they can either sit underneath for shade or sit in the hen house and make eggs! Lots of room, warm and cosy inside, I even put blankies in there for them.

Well, Buffy got the girls to one side ….. I heard them whispering and, next thing I knew, the gate was open!!

Buffy??……. Vanilla?…….. Skollie???? ……..

I have a feeling that they don’t like their new Hen House…….

A quick glimps of them escaping ………

Where did the rascals go?????

Ah, here they are! Pretending that they did not hear me!

Hiding won’t help, Buffy!

Well, looks like we need to make some improvements, but it is better than the old chair they used to fight over. I am sure that we will have peace in the home once they have had tried it out!

Will keep you posted!

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Miscellaneous

Destruction 101

I have been out of sorts these past few days. I have spent an enormous amount of time in the garden of late with my homemade sprays in hand and keeping all the pests at bay. I have managed to cause more damage than good with one particular organic spray by getting the dosage wrong and it damaged some of my plants, especially my broccolli and squashes! Huge yellow spots – almost as if they have been  burnt! I have also managed to give some plants too much water (that’s a first!!) and they have turned yellow and flopped. They are the baby marrow plants and …….

The worst of the damage is done by two of the three chickens – Vanilla and Skollie!! They manage to break out and destroy the raised beds! I am so downhearted and I cannot get cross with them because it is just what chickens do!! I run around shouting with my feather duster in my hand but tomorrow they will have gotten loose again (I still do not know how they get out!!) and will have made mince meat of my broccolli, cabbage and my spinach! The rest on the plants they just trample all over or scratch out!  I still have not had a real salad from my garden yet!

Oh well, I still get great pleasure from my garden and it just tells me that I have to make a plan with these chickens!

Happy Gardening xxxxx


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Before and after continued ..

Thank you all for the interest shown in the Before and After! of my front garden. As promised, I have taken the latest photos of the back garden today, so now I can show you the big changes!

The Back Garden


It was a ruined area, the chickens had taken over the back garden and as any chicken owner knows – I’ve learnt – they scratch and peck until it is pretty much all gone! So now, they have their own area behind the shade cloth and I have taken back my garden! Hooray! Let’s see the process.

[one_half]The place is bleak and bare….shame![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Just a pool of mud in May[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Only an idea at this stage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Still a long way to go![/one_half_last]

[one_half]The great gardening project starts![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cleaning and digging and composting![/one_half_last]

Now that I look back at what I have accomplished, I am amazed where all that energy came from! But man oh man – It was so worth it! I enjoy my garden so much now and I love sharing it with you, my garden friends! It will be wonderful to enjoy it this summer! My hubby takes care of the pool, so we are all ready for the summer sunshine!


[one_half]The back garden as it is now![/one_half]

[one_half_last]This patch is looking so lush and full![/one_half_last]

[one_half]The patchwork patio works so well in the garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]All my herbs I planted in the patchwork  patio[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The raised beds with vegetables[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Potatoes and beetroot growing well[/one_half_last]


The Chickens had the whole run of the garden to play, and now they have to be contained. Not happy campers, but still a large area for them to play! They have plenty of space and a new house – the three little pigs could not have built a better one ….with a huff and a puff …and …well at least it’s brick! It’s only temporary until we can build them a real nice place and fix the area up for them to play! Ok….I know ….. another BIG project. But something to blog about.


[one_half]The girls play area[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The rest area in some shade[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of room for 3 chickens[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Love their new lapa[/one_half_last]

Thanks for sharing and Happy Gardening xxx


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She’s back! Whew!

Runby 3Whew – found Ruby! Last night at midnight, I was in bed and still worried about my little chicken all alone in the rain. So my fabulous hubby said he would look again. It was pouring with rain by this time. With torch in hand, he found her under a bush in the neighbours front garden – thank goodness because they have a dog!! – a white alsatian. Oh my word! I cannot even imagine what would have happened this morning!

Hannes said you have to look so carefully because they lie very, very still. She was so happy to be back and got a special plate of seeds!! She is my favourite one, you know! And she is the one who comes in every breakfast time through the kitchen door to see what I’m making. I can see the other chickens outside egging her on to check what she can bring back for them! heehee!!  I sit on my stool and she jumps on my lap like a little dog and we kiss and hug and she just loves it. Out little ritual in the morning.

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Destruction in my garden

Oh dear, oh dear! I am mad, sad, angry but had to laugh at myself chasing Ruby the Chicken out of the veggie garden today!! I had the feather duster (which the chickens totally hate!) in hand and chased her all around the front garden shouting – “Get to the back, Get to the back!” I am still giggling about it now! How funny it must have looked. But in all honesty, I am upset at the total destruction of all my new plants I so lovingly planted and fed and mulched these past two weekends! 

I don’t know how she gets into the front veggie patch all of a sudden. I saw yesterday a few chicken footprints in the veggie garden but could not identify which chicken it was because they were all at the back…..hmmm………. then I happened to hear something through my window. There she was, Ruby in the dirt!! She is sooooo cheeky! She even took a couple of bites out of the one and only swiss chard plant. Check out the mess and the cheeky culprit! Back to the drawing board this weekend and a better gate system. The joys of gardening!!

[one_half]Destruction in veggie patch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tomato plant destroyed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Spinach eaten[/one_half]


Design Miscellaneous

The Nogg Urban Chicken Coop

I just stumbled across this Urban Chicken Coop by Nogg and thought you might like this. If I was going to have chickens (would love to, but Dexter & Hercules … well, you know!) I would so get me one of these for them to live in. How cool and stylish is this?? The blurb goes … A stylish & sculptural piece of garden furniture with breakfast thrown in!

Here is a review I found about it …. “The prefabricated chicken coop from British designers Matthew Hayward and Nadia Turan offers an alternative to the traditional chicken houses of yesteryear. Dubbed The Nogg, the egg shaped chicken coop appears to focus on aesthetics over long-term functionality and practicality. Any chicken farmer, urban or otherwise, knows that the key to chicken health is a well-ventilated spacious coop that is easy to keep clean. The Nogg is constructed from locally sourced cedar and features a glass top for sunlight and ventilation“.

I think its über-cool, but it might not be the best thing for the chickens it seems …


Door open – Nogg Coop

Nogg Chicken Coop[/one_half]


Door closed – Nogg Coop

Nogg Chicken Coop[/one_half_last]