Chooks Ho!!…..

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m helping a nearby friend put together a vegetable garden. She’d spoken casually but (I thought), not seriously, about getting some chooks, so I was surprised when, a couple of months ago she rang to say she’d bought a chook house.

I went round to have a look and despite it being made of treated pine (a bit of a concern), I was suitably impressed. We Googled treated pine + chooks and found opinion was divided about 50/50 on whether it would be OK or not. In the end it was given a coat of paint, hopefully to seal in any nasties.

It’s only small, a couple of metres long and a metre high and wide, so her neighbour straightaway offered to make her a larger yard to go next to it. That duly appeared and soon so did the chooks, a Barnvelder (Barnie) and two White Sussex (Bridie and Molly).

I made them a nest box (see photo in my previous post) and now it’s a waiting game. They’re about 4 months old. In the meantime, they’re funny to watch. I take a bag of greens from my garden and they tear them to shreds in minutes. They run around, colliding with each other, trying to catch flies on the wing.

I’ve always promised myself I would get chooks some day, but with a free range egg farm at the end of the street, producing ginormous eggs, there wasn’t any hurry. My friend has been gently pushing me in that direction, however. My real need is fertiliser for the veggie garden. I don’t want to keep buying bags of blood & bone and mixed manure. I want to be self-sufficient in all things.

So……

I went out earlier in the week and bought myself a chook house!

It’s a put-it-together-yourself job and it came in a convenient flat pack which fitted neatly in the station wagon. It’s imported from China (what isn’t nowadays) and the wood is lightweight, but I hope it’ll be robust enough to last a couple of years at least, during which time I can make a stronger one, to the same design, if needed. It’s stained a reddish colour, but I don’t think that’s going to be enough to weatherise it, so I bought a can of marine varnish and will give each piece a couple of coats before I put it together.

Here’s what it will look like when I’ve done screwing & glueing:

It looks big, but it’s only 2 metres long, a metre high and 75 cm wide. It has a nice feature which you can see protruding from under the open door on the side. It’s a shallow tray which slides in under the night-time roosting perches, to collect the droppings. I’m already thinking I can line that with newspaper and simply fold it up and put it in the compost.

I’ll incorporate the house into a larger yard which will have a deep litter system and some landscaping to provide places to encourage soil-dwelling critters for the chooks to dig up.

And that will be another piece of the permaculture system in place.

Getting there!

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6 Responses to “Chooks Ho!!…..”

  1. dancingwithfrogs Says:

    You’ll love your gerls. They’re so fascinating with their little chooky ways, and the noises they make when they’re clucking happily away are very relaxing.

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  2. Veggiegobbler Says:

    Yay! You’ll love them. And they’re not too hard to look after. Lots of fun.

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  3. foodnstuff Says:

    Thanks Frogdancer & Veggiegobbler. I was planning to be very laid back about getting this chook thing set up. Your comments are making me want to push ahead with it.

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  4. Kerrie Says:

    Would it be ok for you to share the details of your chook house? We are looking at building/buying one soon and I really like the look of yours. Can you share the brand and supplier, please?

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Kerrie,

      These coops are imported from China and there are plenty of them around. I suggest you Google “Chinese fir wood chicken coops” and see how you go. You might also like to look at this site:

      http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7987204

      and read the comments there. I was a bit dubious after reading what others had to say, but well…I’ve got it now and will have to see how it goes.

      If you can make your own, I would go for it. It will be stronger and cheaper. I searched in vain for a good plan and ended up buying the one in the photo in my post.

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      • Kerrie Says:

        Thanks a lot for the info, will definitely do a lot more research. I will keep watching for your comments after you have used it for a while, too.

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