Keeping the Girls cool and dry

I had the secure chook run covered in a couple of those blue pastic tarps from the $2 shop, but they weren’t really satisfactory as they didn’t cover enough area and the rain still got in, so I replaced them with a larger, more robust one from Bunnings.

It’s providing plenty of shade and keeping the rain off the coop now (this was taken from the back deck, looking down. The post with wires, on the left, is the clothesline):

Beside the long, outer side of the run, I’ve planted a narrow garden of various things. There’s a lot of parsley (I just threw the seeds in), and several mints. Also comfrey, nasturtium, climbing beans, a passionfruit and a grape which I’m trying to encourage to grow along the wire. It’s probably over-planted, but the more there is, the more chance that something will survive. The Girls can eat whever they can reach through the wire:

This area gets well-watered and even in the slightest drizzle, water runs off the tarp into the garden. The soil on the inner side is always cool and moist and on hot days, the Girls love to dig out a trench and lie there in the shade of the plants. It also seems to attract whatever edible goodies they get out of it and they’re constantly digging out the soil along the edge and throwing it into the centre of the run creating a mini mountain range, which I dutifully rake back every so often (I get indignant looks when I do this, but I tell them: “you dig it out, I rake it back and it keeps us all off the streets!”).

The main thing I’m pleased about is that their water container, which is hooked onto the wire at the far right hand end is now shaded by the plants (you can’t see it) and the water keeps cool in summer. It also gets topped up when rain runs off the tarp.

So this part of their home is working well. I now have to do something about the adjacent netting-covered area (which I call their playground) and which isn’t really secure or satisfactory.

I let them into the playground each morning and they’re free to go between the secure run where the food and water is, and the playground, all day. I lock them in the secure run overnight and when I go out. They don’t like being locked out of their playground during the day and a lot of wingeing goes on when they see the lift-up door come down, so I really need to get my act together and fix the problem.

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