Welcome new neighbours! For my birthday I happily got our first residents of Abbyville. Mrs. Black, White and Brown forage our lawn under surveillance of Mr. Rooster. So far they have rewarded our love and food with an average of 0.3 eggs per day, so we need to work a bit on that.
Yes, I would prefer to see our chickens in large number and free range, but let’s start this collaboration with a controlled situation.
The Chicken tractor
In an egg shell it is an easy to relocate chicken coop you move throughout your garden or farm. They will get rid of your grass, weeds and seeds feed on bugs and kitchen scraps and give you class A poop in return. These egg producing, ploughing, fertilizing garden friends are excellent workers and will do good for your earth.
They made our first step in our organic approach in which we try to let everything work together. I have wanted to make a chicken tractor since I read Hemenway’s Gaia’s garden and there are tons of examples to be found on the web. A good example you will find here.
Mother Earth News published some articles as well to give you some ideas. We especially liked the idea to put the coop over (raised) garden beds to focus the work and, well, the output.
The tractors we found would still cost around a hundred euro, which I definitely wanted to spend on other things. We went shooping in the old shed and found the materials to go for no budget. Iron plant trellises would make a perfect outdoor coop, pegged to the ground and covered with chicken fence, yes I did spend 5 ekkies here, and with my new power tool (yeah, man-stuff!) I screwed all the planks and posts together I could find.
Happy with the garden residence number 15a, there still were some rookie mistakes: the house is pretty heavy and with two people it is quite a lift with four feathered friends inside. Not as smooth as the two wheeled tractor in the pictures, huh. But on the other hand, we also don’t have the same picture perfect straight lawns as the exampled picture, so because everything can be dismantled, it is much easer to carry it around our irregular land.
A second thing I would have done different is to make the house higher so it can function as a shelter as well.
Up to now we receive a mere 0.3 egg, not enough for our daily sunny-side-up. With adapting the food and regularly add kitchen scraps and dug-up weeds they should get a varied diet to start a flow of eggs in the spring. Keep you posted on that.