|Meet Betty White.|
Over a year ago now we renovated our kitchen (that post is still in development) and our electrician's dog did some things to the chicken coop that required serious fixing. After multiple dodgy repairs on my behalf I finally nagged Mark into building a nice enclosed run for me, that kept the chickens in and the food thieving wild birds out.
In true Mark form he took forever to start the project, a long time executing it, and it looks amazingly professional now that it is finished. I'm really proud of the job he did, which has made my job of looking after the chickens so much easier, and really enjoyable since we can easily walk into the aviary and cuddle our girls.
|Structural posts set and roof framing on.|
We have finally learnt that when it comes to 'renovating', not to be held back by existing elements, so for the girls to get a deluxe chicken run three trees (one was dead, one has been struggling for years and needed relocating) needed to come out. Mark had all the fun with the chainsaw whilst I did the hard labour of carting all the deadwood to the trailer to be taken to the tip. We will attempt to propagate the frangipani, but it was never happy where it was, and my skills aren't what they used to be, so time will tell if it survives. Once the offending trees were removed I spent three whole days levelling out the site. Naturally it poured rain and turned the site into a mud pit....which the chickens loved free-ranging through. It was back breaking work, but it was a great and rewarding workout.
Then it was time to pour concrete and set the posts, and before we knew it we had a chicken run to be proud of. It helps that Mark is a draftsmen by trade so he drew* everything up to work with the standard size of the timber and the rolls of chicken wire.
|And viola! All of a sudden I had a fancy new chicken coop-brownie points for the husband.|
It is still a work in progress, with nipple waterers now added, and a very make shift water tank which we hope to make a rain water collection tank in the not too distant future. We are also in the process of designing a feeder that needs much less maintenance than the current feeder. And now that our old girls Stevie (Rhode Island Red) and Stickybeak (Australorpe) are terrorising our new girls Henny Penny (Isla Brown) and Betty White (Leghorn x ) we need to look at putting in some roosts and protection for the new gals on the block.
|The new girls using the waterer as a safety perch.|
|Miss friendly and curious Henny Penny.|
Sadly we have buried a chicken this week, which has been a great life lesson for our two year old. We were having discussions that the flock needed to grow to meet family supply demands before Cheeky died since she was eight years old and slowing down on the lay. The plan was to get three, day old chicks and hand raise them with Lara and Olivia, but when Cheeky carked it we went and purchased two laying hens, Henny Penny and Betty White. But don't be surprised if you see us with day old chicks in the new year.
|Half naked, walking in the dirt and feeding chickens...ah, the life of a suburban farmer.|
Early last week Betty White (before mentioned flighty chicken) thought Lara's curly hair looked like a lovely nest and flew and sat on her head. A prompt wing clipping of three out of four chickens (that Lara witnessed) and a hat for Lara meant that she was back in the run with her chickens faster than you could blink. She really is an amazing little person.
|Our early Christmas present, today all four girls laid an egg WOHOO!|
*If you could use the coop plans email me and I will send them to you.