Tseliso has done a fantastic job upgrading our chicken coop and we are thrilled with the result. A while ago I wrote about how frustrated I am with the devastation caused by our free-ranging chickens in the garden and how we never have a reliable source of eggs (see Project Chicken!) Thank you so much for all the wonderful advice I received. It has been such a help and I am determined to learn more about what makes chickens tick. Anyway, there was unanimous opinion that the coop needed to be upgraded with an outside chicken run so that they don’t have to be let out as often. It has taken a bit of effort, but I think Tseliso has done a fantastic job so far. His brief was to re-use as much stuff lying around our yard as possible and to raid the farm workshop for any other supplies he needed. I downloaded plenty of photos from the Internet with ideas to show him. It is not the most fancy and luxurious coop compared to some we have seen, but I think it will do for now. We could add some more bedding and dry leaves, but already when I visited this morning there were four eggs to collect – the first in months! What’s for breakfast I hear you ask? Why boiled eggs on toast of course!
A beautiful old pepper tree hangs over the run so there will be plenty of shade during the day. Sticks and branches have been placed strategically to give them some places to roost outside. I also read somewhere that chickens love to scratch in ash so we’ve re-used an old water feature from the garden to hold ash from our fires in winter. We could also easily add dry leaves and food scraps from the compost bin as a treat. Inside, there are some new nesting boxes made from old plastic containers.
The best thing about this new coop is that I can sit on a rock and observe the chickens much more closely than before when they would simply scatter and run around the garden. In fact, this morning whilst counting and watching them I realised that we have one more white rooster than we’re supposed to. I have no idea where he came from! The chicks are also starting to grow up so we’ll soon be able to separate the hens from the roosters. There is much thinning out to do and some of the old ladies are definitely past their prime. One piece of advice I received is that hens stop being productive after about three years so no wonder there are no eggs!
It’s probably a bit of a shock for the chickens that they are not being let out into the garden, but I will let them roam a bit once or twice a week. They also seemed quite happy whilst I was sitting with them, clucking and chatting away. Again, I’ve read that a noisy chicken is a happy chicken. There is still much work to do on this project, but I think we’re making progress thanks to all of your great inputs and Tseliso’s hard work!