Now that the chickens have settled well into their new home, with the odd free-run around the garden, Frank and I thought it would be a good idea to give them a secure (for them and our garden) spot to strut their stuff outside of their normal run.
Not that there’s anything wrong with their run, but we want to be able to get their help weeding, fertilising and turning over the garden. And I’m sure they want the variety – especially any tasty weeds or fresh grass we can put them on top of. No doubt the grass in their run would also appreciate a break. And finally, the hen run is in a pretty shady part of the garden – perfect for our hot summers, but on a cold winter’s day, moving the chooks into full sun would probably be like a holiday in Fiji for them.
To this end, Frank’s been working away at a portable run. It’s made of lots of recycled and left over bits: old pallets the feed store was throwing out, bits of wood we had under the house, the remains of our last fence, excess chicken wire from the chook run, . . . Frank even managed to find the door hinges and a door latch in one of his many collections of utter junk – I mean, valuable stores.
I offered plenty of advice and supervision (Frank doesn’t know how lucky he is) and so did the chooks. After all, it is their little getaway he’s building.
Isabel was especially keen to make sure Frank used the proper tools.
The finished product is something we can all be pleased with (and proud of – could he have done it without our help?).
The new feed and water stations made out of old milk jugs work a treat. In fact, we’re now using these in the chickens’ normal run to give them an outdoor station that can handle the weather a bit better and that they won’t stand in.
We set part of a pallet on top as a “roof” in case it rains – but that often won’t be used. Sometimes we’ll put an ad hoc nest box in, especially on days when they haven’t already laid (3 eggs this morning before they went into their holiday run).
The girls seem content with the small enclosure – it might be small but it’s a change of scenery and there’s sooooo much grass to nibble. They picked grass, preened themselves, ate and drank and then sat and watched the earth revolve around the sun. Like the wise man says, a change is as good as a holiday.