Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chicken tractor is planted

Fabulous news (and especially for Gramps), our chicken tractor is finally finished and in place.
Jan made it from an old cart base, sheets of corrugated sheeting, reclaimed square metal tubing and other bits and pieces from our pile of treasure. For the floor, we bought thin ply and made a strong support structure below. It is sealed with EnviroTouch's wood sealer. The roosting poles are wattle lathes spaced out from the walls by square metal tubing.
The nesting boxes are a very thick carboard box (double corrugated) which we painted with water-based enamel paint to be able to clean easily. Jan used bottle tops to raise it just slightly off the ground so ants did not find it a good place to live.
 
Above, Jan used Gunda to pull the tractor into place. The area we have chosen for the chickens to work over, is part of a slope we are busy reclaiming. We had our Italian friend help us dig it over and we set tyres in place in mini-terraces and this part is the left over piece we did not finish at the time.

The right pic is the tractor levelled with tyres below at the back and above on the front so I can climb in to clean.

We added a yard on the front and more pics will follow with the new hens and rooster in place. The yard will be moved around so they can clear new ground for us.

With regards to our old ladies (3 of them- Hope, Mimi & Jessica Simpson), they were not happy to move from their cushy but tiny home next to the house. It took them 3 days to decide it was ok and we kept having to take them back when we let them "free-range". When the others arrived a few days later (caught at dusk from a friends huge flock), there was bedlam in the morning. The old ladies attacked the juniors (and still do sometimes) and even the rooster took a week to crow. I am pleased to say that they have all settled in ok. Today was our first day of 3 eggs again and hopefully one of the new ladies will start laying regularly too (she did lay an egg the first day they arrived but nothing since then).

more to follow...