Sunday, May 22, 2011

the Chook Hilton is open for business!

all hats off to my husband for getting the chook hilton done.  a real feet of genius.  and the two really good things about it are that 1) he had fun doing it and 2) it cost us about $30 in long screws, bolts and hinges!  woo hoo!  <g>   tonight the chooks are perching happily in their new home and we are toasting our accomplishment!  i could wax on about this bit or that bit .... but this is one time when a picture truly does paint a thousand words.

we start the day with the framework that had been put in place last weekend.  note the mesh for the bottom of the coop.  the idea being that when the chooks are roosting the poo will drop through the mesh into the deep composting trays beneath .... which can be cleaned out from time to time and chucked in our main composting area.  it will also keep the chicken coop heaps cleaner!

the walls are going on!  we do love pallets!  bolted to the base with securing boards across the top.  these boards will be critical in holding up the u-beaut roof we have!

roof is on!  and the perches are being placed.  we are choosing to use branches of timber that have been harvested from the trees in our yard.  they are more natural and provide a bit of uniqueness to the design.  but even more than that .... they cost us zippo!

we are setting the perches at varying heights and angles.  we are hoping to add another 6 or 7 chooks in the next year and setting the perches up this way will allow us to easily add these new birds without running the risk of over-crowding.

here is a great shot!  you can see through from back to front.  the level area at the back is for the nesting boxes.  this will be accessible from outside the chook run to make for easy egg gathering.

note the pitched roof on the chook house!  this will allow for higher roosting if the quantity of chooks requires it -- at least that was the thot at the time.  little did we know that one of our girls would take to it straight away!

the log that is in place can easily be removed and allow for clearing of the hay to the ground below ... for the chooks to scratch and dispatch as they see fit.

my major contribution to the effort .... the ladder for the girls!  an old board hanging that was around ... nice and long so that it isn't a steep descent for them.  i have taken smallish sticks from the yard and simply nailed them to the board at set intervals.

and on goes the front door!  note the double door set-up.  the whole door is meant to be left closed for most of the time - opened mostly for easy access if needed.  the smaller hinged door is opened each day to let the girls in and out.  you will note the board sticking out at the bottom .... this will have a hook hanging from it for the water .... keeping it elevated and clean.

so the doors are on, front and back .... next it's time to get the fence up.  the chooks will be on the side of the backyard .... with heaps of leaves and scrub to scratch around in.  they haven't been in this area of the yard before.  hoping for a double hook here .... fresh and interesting area for the birds and the poo'ing and scratching the birds do in the run will help to improve the soil and allow us to plant a few fruit trees along the fence line.  

a final look at the hilton before the girls are brought in.  
the front of the coop, door open and ladder installed.

that's me .... putting straw in the back of the coop for the girls to lay their little eggs in.

a final glance inside .... nice and cosey, don't you think?  all ready for the girls to come in!

that chuffed look on scott's face is because he has never handled a chook before.  so he helped with the transfer of the girls to their new abode.  we waited until late in the afternoon so that we could close them in straight away to get used to the space.

so the girls are in.  amusingly enuf the australop has found the top shelf!  getting as high as she can!  well, she has proven that it can be done and that their is indeed room for all the new girls we want to add come the spring.

welcome to your new digs.  up on perches already and checking the world out.  hope you like it.  it is certainly dry and well protected.  good night girls!

the exciting part of this chicken coop and move is that it is our first major step in achieving our backyard vision for sustainability.  it means that we can start thinking about setting up the no dig beds, modifying the current raised beds and getting our food crops in the ground.  the sooner we do that the sooner we will be feeding our family and not relying on the stores.  it's a step by step process and  it's certainly not gonna happen overnight ....but each week we seem to be seeing something change and morph in our yard.  it's quite exciting really.  this winter season is great to be bedding in some fantastic changes in our way of living.  it elicits in me the quiet hope of amazing crops and possibilities for the spring and for our families health and well being.

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