I haven’t had chickens since I was a little girl growing up on a small farm in NSW. But a few weekends ago my dream of having chooks in the backyard was realised!
A few of you have asked me to post up photos of the enclosure and run…..so here we go. A big thank you to my husband and dad for building it all…..it really is a “Chook mahal”!
The chook run is fully enclosed with chicken mesh – we’ve made it this big to include the fruit trees….hence we don’t need to net the fruit trees anymore! And the mesh on top stops visits from unwanted birds of prey that we have nearby….including 2 very beautiful Wedgetail eagles. NOTE – those plastic rings around the base of the trees are temporary. We’re going to make up some chicken mesh skirts for each tree to stop the chooks from scratching and exposing the roots. But a bit of pecking around the base of the trees is good – especially for helping with coddling moth!
The mesh of the chook run has been dug about a foot into the ground and then runs horizontally along the ground (outwards) and pegged into place. This helps prevent foxes from getting in – because if they come up to the mesh and start to dig, they just end up hitting mesh……and hopefully give up!
The chook hut was made using a bought bird cage and adding on the nesting boxes at the back, made of marine MDF board. These nesting boxes poke out the back of the hut, so they can be accessed without entering the chook run to collect the eggs. As a general rule you will need 1 nesting box for every 3 hens. We’ve also installed perches for the chooks to roost on overnight. Perches should be 0.7m off the ground and 75mm wide, with slightly rounded off edges. Do NOT give them small round perches (like bits of dowel) as this can cause foot problems.
The chook hut sits on a concrete slab for easy cleaning. I’ve covered the floor with a layer of saw dust and then straw which can be taken out and changed regularly.
In the photo below, you can see the external access for easy egg collection.
And here are my girls (and one rooster)! The 2 grey ones are Lavendar Aracaunas, they lay blue tinted eggs! The 3 white ones are Coronation Sussex (the one with the darkest red comb is the rooster). The central black/grey one is a Plymouth Rock and the far right black one is a Barnevelder, they lay brown speckled eggs.
I’m going to get another 2 Barnevelders soon as they are my favourites – we had lots of them on the small farm I grew up on, they didn’t mind being handled and they are really friendly birds!
Do you have chooks at your place? I’d love to see photos! Send them on to: firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our facebook page HERE