Margo wants chickens.
The mass-produced farm egg has no flavour in it. The shell is thin, the yolk colourless, and the eggy taste of the country and what we had prior to moving west has disappeared from our modern carton variety of egg. It was time to resurrect a little of what we had in Dayboro Qld by bringing in the specialist egg producer itself: The laying hen!
We’ve a lot of building products left over from the house renos. There was timber, roofing iron, hinges, locks, bolts and steel purlins all nicely stored behind and in our new garage. We looked at them and thought, we’ve enough to make a chook pen out of all of that. What we didn’t have was cage-wire.
Roll-it-out-chicken wire wasn’t our preferred choice of cage wire. That thin hexagonal stuff looks sloppy and daggy if it isn’t stretched taught and straight. There’s also the fox problem to consider. Foxes can bite through, snap and fold that type of wire back with ease. We wanted something much sturdier. The only thing we had to buy new was the welded mesh. It’s 3mm thick and is rigid enough to span a good distance. We buried it about a foot into the ground and then laid it on the walls and part of the roof to create an open section for the chickens to sun themselves in. One third of the pen is roofed and walled in corrugated steel. They are leftovers from the house cladding, and that includes the timber!
During the day, chickens like sitting in sand / dirt and flicking it over their backs. They also like roosting in a safe, weatherproof place off the ground at night. When it comes to egg-laying, they are total mothers and look for a soft, quiet corner to put their babies in. So at the other end of the cage we’ve built a nesting box, complete with it’s own roof, laying shavings for a nest and two compartments for the girls to do their business in private. Ordinarily, boxes like these are set in the same roofed area as where the roosting takes place. That didn’t suit us at all. The roost is at the rear of the cage. We wanted to get our eggs from a more accessible place at the front. A long ramp leads from the ground to the box. A hinged lid allows us to reach in and get the eggs from the outside of the main cage. With luck, we’ll only need to go inside the cage to change the food. (The water is accessible from the front)
Check the video out!
Anyhow, we finished it today and Margo wanted to get the chickens right away. She just couldn’t wait. We found the number of a local supplier and picked them up right away.
Here they are, check this out!
Well that’s the latest for today!