Thursday, June 6, 2013

Getting ready for chooks

We finally built the chook pen in October 2012, after contemplating about it for several years; but summer passed without the friendly animals taking home on our property. The pen measures about 15x10m and is built in a rectangle with the garden shed in one corner.

The area has a bit of shade during summer, from an olive tree near the she and a ficus in the middle of the garden which is our oxygen lung and guarantor for a cool backyards even in a hot summer. the area also it holds two raised garden beds that were unproductive last winter due to a slater invasion. The chooks will sort that out. I am certain about this.

Home made fence spreader for the top of the pole
It was easy to erect the fence, just dug a whole and inserted the fence poles into the sand as is. Spreaders hold the poles apart, the mesh is tied to the top and bottom of the fence poles with wire. It took us two afternoons with two people and turned out a decent exercise and accomplishment.

The decision still had to be made where to house the chooks and where to put their nesting boxes. We decided against putting them into the shed and have started to built an annex on the back of the shed just for the chooks, between the shed and the neighbour's garage.

We hope to finish it this Sunday and the hens are already waiting.

My neighbour is on long service leave in Europe at the moment and she has agreed for me to mind her five chicken in our backyard, giving them a holiday from home. Chook minding at its best. This gives me an opportunity to check out whether having hens is the right thing for me, does not tie me down past September 2013, hopefully results in a friendly slater eradication outcome and might even give me some eggs. Lots of benefits in this temporary arrangement.

Hopefully on Sunday this saga continues and the chicken can settle in. They are rescued battery hens and are still laying. However, I have not found any eggs yet, despite the neighbour being away for 6 days already, as the neighbours chook pen is a gourmet place for some nifty crows that take care of the eggs. Another neighbour just told me that he saw them fly up to the gutter with an egg in their beak, then drinking the egg in the gutter, leaving no trace of their crime. I swear to make life very uncomfortable for the crows if they venture into my chook yard. We will give the hens proper nesting boxes that keep out the crows, hopefully.
More learning and the promise not to neglect this blog for as long as I did since the last post 6 months ago.

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