I love all animals and after moving into the country in April 2013, where I can have some more chooks I have now done it!!
To start our story, I moved here with Bluegum 4yo whippet, then I took on caring for Gypsy 12yo Tenterfield who is nearly blind with cataracts.
3 months after moving in, I bought x2 alpacas Annabel and The Earl:
6 months later, I bought a new shed kit (why not?!!) for getting my chook project off the ground.
It is a cream/slate gray colour with colorbond steel walls/roof, 4mx2m with a gable roof, a single door, gutters, and 2 louvre windows.
The previous owners had already fenced off an animal run (for kangaroos?!) but I knew it was going to be perfect for my chooks.
Here is a chooks-eye view of the Peppertrees & Plum tree in the chook run.
With the help of a very kind and generous friend and many free beers for him, it was constructed on my birthday (by accident) - Happy 45th Birthday to me
The finished shed...
I couldn't wait any longer and bought some cheep cheeps from the local pet store.
x6 ISA browns, and then x4 RIR's all just starting to feather up.
then I installed the windows... and a second hand old rainwater tank...
The guy I bought the tank from reassured me it didn't leak and promised my my money back if it did - confident man!!
Next I installed an automatic pop door which I bought/ordered online.
I can highly recommend this company www.hensafedoors.com.au and their product!
It is super reliable and well made out of aluminium.
It has a solar panel on the north roof face connected to a battery, a timer, and a motor.
Once I worked out how to programme the timer, all is good and I know the girls are going to be safe.
Next I laid some left over pavers by the door (my first paving ever so don't be too critical - I know they aren't level?!)
I soon realised that the floor was going to get pretty nasty over time, so I had another go at laying pavers and put down some more inside the chook shed.
I have subsequently filled in around the edge of the pavers and between the steel walls with cement to make it waterproof and somewhat rodent resistant.
Now I can relax knowing that my girls will have dry feet and no draughts.
The nest box with 3 compartments arrived at about the same time as when I installed a chook roost.
I studied BYC forums for quite a while trying to work out if I should install a natural (round) roost pole or a square 4x2 beam.
In the end, I went with a 4x2 beam as I couldn't find a suitable 4m long natural limb which was reasonably straight and consistently thick enough for my purpose.
I have learnt so many new skills and how to use different power tools while doing this project.
Once I had my very own angle grinder, I went to work installing the nest box, windows, pop door.
Here is the installed next box...
I have a kept an old second hand headlight window I would like to install also, once I can work out how to do it in a corrugated iron wall?
(any suggestions will be welcome!)
The girls will love it!!
With the loan of a Triton workbench from my dad, and a few drinks with my sister, we built a small ladder which I thought the girls would appreciate using to get up onto the roost - I don't ever think they have used it but...??!!
So... here are more snaps of the girls as they have been growing up.
February this year brought some welcome but very unseasonable local flooding rains... then the mozzies...
(Sometimes I wish chooks would eat all the mozzies and flies!)
At the start of April my girls finally produced their first cackleberries...
The first ones were only ~42g sometimes one of them will push out a bruiser close to 90g... ouch!!
After reading (lurking) more on BYC I was inspired to give some thought to definitely wanting my girls to remain healthy and disease free as long as I can.
So I decided that I can keep the shed "sweeter", hygienic, and also possibly make the muck out less of a burden for me if I installed a chook roost poo shelf (CRPS)!
I had some left over recycled timber from an old double bed and again using dad's Triton, I made a couple of frames, stapled some chicken wire on the fronts/side and painted a couple of coats of paint for long life.
I wanted to install a marine ply shelf (expensive) but I was advised to go with some left over iron sheeting which I think I will just put a layer of DE on (if I can get some?!)
I hope this will work OK as I am proud of my frame construction so far.
It doesn't sound like much but to an absolute beginner at anything like any of this, I have achieved good results for myself.
I have already modified it when it became obvious someone? was pooping down into the gap behind the (relocated) ladder...
I was also been inspired to hang some vegetables on chain from some low branches for the girls to pick at.
They have enjoyed butternut, cabbage, and cauliflower so far.
In March Magpie (3mo greyhound puppy) arrived and life has not been the same since...!!
She is beautiful, georgous, and super mischievous, generous, and respectful of all my other animal companions on the property.
She has put a permanent smile on my face which has been hard to find at times.
Just around Easter time I was offered a rejected twin lamb to care for by my neighbours and so Shaun the sheep began life with all the others.
The Earl just dotes on him and Magpie would play all day with him if I were to let them together.
She is just toooo boisterous and unintentionally rough.
For his first night I wrapped Shaun up in a towel and put him next to Magpie for a while.
We have also been visited by a Peahen for a day, and a frog (“Painted Frog” Neobatrachus pictus).
Recently one of the RIR's started to crow so another level of variety has arrived.
Initially I was convinced that I didn't want a rooster, but now... so he lives on and his crowing is improving every day.
My closest neighbours have indicated that they are not bothered if I keep him, and well hell, I am living in the country!
Here we are, I hope any readers have enjoyed my page.
I will see if I can edit it with updates too - if I can find enough time again when I am not picking up poop!!