Today we got three eggs for the first time, so I thought I’d celebrate by letting you know how we’re progressing with our chook system.
Finishing the Straw Yard
When I last posted about the chooks, the straw yard looked like this:
Since then we’ve finished enclosing the yard in chicken wire, attaching a second layer which we used the full width of and so didn’t need to cut up except once we got around to the end of the yard. We attached the two levels of full width chicken wire with these little wire tie things and a special tool that squeezes them together:
We used an old security door that friends gave us, turned upside down and inside out, so it opens out away from the fence:
The lock is on the inside, so our ankle-biter can’t open it up and let the chooks escape:
We’re using these for water and food. However, soon to replace the food dispenser with a fully enclosed one that the chooks have to step on to open, because sparrows are stealing a good portion of the feed from this set up:
I also put out an extra bucket of water in the shade on warm days, as I’ve read that they won’t drink water once it reaches a certain temperate (from memory in the high twenties, Celsius) and this seems to be true from observation.
Extending the Run
Once we finished the straw yard we gave them access to two adjacent sides leading to the fence-line with a make-shift fence to keep them in:
We gave them access to the additional area by adding a sliding door, that we open each morning to let them out. Here it is open:
The door slides up and down inside these two panels of wood:
We pull it up using this pulley and rope:
And the rope is attached to the door like this:
This tie holds the door up/open:
And the nail here is a back-up holding the doop up, in case somehow the tie gets undone:
At night when the door is down/shut, we put this nail in to hold it close in case, we don’t know, a really, really strong and unusually dexterous fox finds it (the door is pretty heavy):
So because we know our chooks would be happiest free-ranging, not least because the Isa Browns keep escaping into the garden from the extended run anyway….
…we plant to give them access up this short, steep hill:
And into the back-half of the backyard, which we need to fence off from the vegie patch (you can see it where the corn and tomatoes are growing in this shot):
I also want to start thinking about tidying up around the straw yard and getting ready to prepare the ground for some plantings. I want to plant some deciduous trees (fruit of course!) to provide more shade in summer and some shrubs to add greenery and hide some of the ugliness. A gardener’s work is never done.