Sunday 24 June 2012

Build Your Own Chicken Coop

I have a terrible habit of never buying anything I can make - and I can make a lot of stuff!
Over the years I've made lots of chicken coops (never bought one) and gradually refined the design on every new build, but each time there's always something else I'd change on the next one!
Here's my latest design for laying hens
Large coop for 8-10 birds

Front pop hole (still need to build he ramp to get to it)
I clad the coop in feather edge boarding as it was so much cheaper than shiplap. Also I think this will be easier to clean as with shiplap red mites and other nasties can hide in the tongue and groove where you can't get to them. With the roof I use bitumen sheeting as I've had problems with bugs getting between ply and felt when I've used that (I think this stuff works out cheaper anyway)
House raised off the floor
I now always like to make the coops 18" off the ground. This means rats and mice can't hide under it and also being that high it gives the chickens somewhere to shelter out of the rain.

Large door for easy cleaning

To make cleaning easy I made the whole front open so there's no excuse for a dirty coop! 

Good ventilation is important (it's not a pill box)
Large nest box with a good slope to discourage chickens jumping on it
 How do you build your chicken houses? And what would you change on yours/mine? Normally I always think I should have built it bigger!
We should be getting the chickens this week so I'll soon see what they think to it.

Friday 8 June 2012

Turn My Back For A Second...

Oh the shame of it!
I turn my back for a second and (with all the rain) the weeds have come from nowhere and engulfed my fruit garden. I can't believe how fast they've come up and I've been working so much I've had little time to deal with them. Because it was grassland before there's thousand of dock and nettle seedlings along with everything else I don't want.
Err, spot the fruit bush anyone?

I decided to take action this week and every night I've been weeding, hoeing and raking. I think with a final push over the weekend I wont be too ashamed of my plot! I need to get some chickens soon - they'd love to peck at all the weeds I pull.
Anyone else let things get too far before they tackle them?

Sunday 3 June 2012

Landscaping Farmer Style!

Our smallholding of 5 acres is amazing but we've only just enough parking for two cars making it difficult when friends or family turn up (kind of like water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink - but more like space, space everywhere but not a place to park). 
A large front garden that I we won't really use
We decided enough was enough and with the help (and digger) of my father we decided to pick the wettest most miserable weekend to start it on!
Pulling the tree over with the digger - I only had to cut one root
First off we removed a tree farm style - roots and all - using the mini digger and set about clearing the area to be dug.
Taking the tree down has let in much more light and made the space feel bigger.
fir tree on the ground - a bit or rubbish firewood for the winter to mix with the good stuff
The next job was digging up and moving the soil to allow stone in its place. Dads a master on a digger and I manned the dumper truck in the driving rain - I wish mine had a cab, dad couldn't understand the glum look on my face!
Dad loves playing on his diggers
Looking quite wet stood on my dumper truck
A trailer full of hardcore delivered by tractor and a wet spaniel
Once we'd tipped the hardcore we could see how much stone we need to order. Dad did manage to make a path across the mud and level enough ground to park the car and the van on the drive again. We'll have to try and finish this next weekend - I hope it doesn't rain too much and become a swimming pool! 
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