DIY Projects

Chook shed DISASTER!!!!

I couldn’t write about this yesterday, it was too stressful! I mentioned on Tuesday’s post that the weather was blustery. It turned out that it was the windiest day we had had in a very long time! So much so, that our wonderful new DIY chook pen blew over. I couldn’t believe it. I was coming back from going around our lambing ewes (with two new orphan lambs, but that can be tomorrow’s story) and as I pulled back up to the house, I was greeted with this sight…..
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20140626-143301.jpgActually I took this photo after I had walked around the yard collecting all the stuff that was supposed to be in the vegie garden half of the shed – it was spread all over the place, as was various feed and water dishes. And you can see the little chicken cage had got caught up and lifted up in the air!

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It had blown right over and was resting on its gutter and the nesting boxes. The chooks didn’t seem too phased and we’re still just pecking around as normal. In fact the roosters thought it was great because they had access to the girls again! Segregation was over!!

I texted a couple of pics to Cam, but he couldn’t get home until about 6pm, so it was dark by the time we attempted to right it again. Again the chooks were unphased, and were perfectly happy to roost on a capsized house!

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I was thinking we would have to pull it back over from out in the paddock. I had visions of it coming crashing down and falling to pieces, but clever Cam knew how to do it safely.

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As you can see, he drove the tractor right up to it, and chained it to the forks. Then it was just a matter of slowly driving backwards, and lowering the forks at the same time. Some of the chooks had decided by this time that they would wake up and get involved (complaining loudly they were, too) so while Cam was lowering their house my job was to make sure they didn’t get squished!

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20140626-145216.jpgit was still blowing a gale as we were doing this, so we left the tractor in position to stop it from happening again. This is how it still looks now! Even though the weather has calmed down I’ve been too nervous to move the tractor away, until Cam has time to drive some solid posts into the ground to anchor it down.

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I’d stacked the pumpkins on the top of the nesting boxes. All were squashed except two butternuts, and this Queensland blue ended up wedged up in the gutter!

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We still have a bit of work to do, to put the panels back in position for their yard, and straighten up the gutter so we keep collecting rain from the roof. But at least it’s operational again. I restocked the nesting boxes with straw this morning, and carted their feed and water drums back into position. The amazing thing was we still got 7 eggs from them on the day it blew over!

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Rabbit Run!

Last Easter we bought Danny a rabbit.  Archie already had fish (that’s a WHOLE long story for another day!!), and Jasmine had claimed the cats, so Danny thought he needed a pet too.  Being Easter, of course it had to be a rabbit.  My previous experience with rabbits was that they grew so big, with such powerful back legs, that kids couldn’t really handle the adults rabbits.  So I looked into the different breeds, and we decided on a dwarf lop.  They only grow to about half the size of other breeds, and their floppy ears make them very cute!!

So meet Coco!

Boy and His rabbit photo

This was Coco last Easter. Danny Looooved him!!

Anyway needless to say, he still grew up, and although he is still not as big as other breeds he still has very powerful back legs, and as such was getting less and less cuddles.  His cage is not terribly big, and we thought that so we could still enjoy him we would build him a run on the back porch that we could carry him out to regularly.  So yesterday Danny and I brainstormed and we came up with some wire panels, covered in chicken wire, that are attached together with cable ties.  The advantage of this is that it is easily dismantled and put up again, so that we can put the run away in between uses.

boy and his rabbit photo

Here is the result.  Its not exactly pretty, but it is very practical.  An added benefit of using connected panels is that we can change the shape of the run.  Some days we can make it long and thin, other days it could be wide and round, and today, we made it go round a corner, so half could be on the grass and half on the bricks.

Rabbit photo

Shed Cat thought it was very interesting, and spent a good half hour following Coco up and down the run.   But before too long, they were both ready for a nap.

We are hoping that by having most of the run on the bricks we might wear down Coco’s back toenails a bit……We’ll see!

He seems really happy with his run, enjoying the ability to really have a good hoppity hop!  A perfect Easter Present for a Hoppity Rabbit!

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The chook pen is finished!

During January wonderful Cam had a real run at getting the chook pen finished – and we finally got there!  I was so excited that we were working on it that I kind of forgot to get more photos along the way…  But here’s Danny putting the finishing touches on the doors.

DIY chook pen

Once it was completed we had to drag it across from the shed where it was built to its final position.  Pickles thought it was a very interesting process.

Home made chook pen

In fact she was quite excited about it – leading the way!

DIY Chook ped

Here it is in it’s final resting place.  If you go back to this post you will see images of our old (and very embarrassing)  chook pen.  You can see with the new one, that we have used the same large red panels to create a “front yard” for the chooks.  The pen with the red yard is for our hens.  The little one next to it is for either clunky hens that I want to use to raise some chickens, or our roosters – who are in there currently.  And the door to the left of the photo is my gardening shed, as the new chook pen location is right next to the vegie garden.

Chook pen chicken coop photo

You can see in the photo above there are a couple of hens coming out the little doorway that we made for them, so that we don’t have to leave the main door open all the time.  We have put a red tank on the far end to catch any rain water that runs off the roof.  There is a gutter running along the back.  In the two shade cloth cloches at the front are a couple of kiwi fruit vines.  The yard gets very VERY hot so I’m hoping that I might be able to encourage them to wind their way up the wire to provide some shade.  I have put up some temporary wire to make a little run for the roosters, so they can get out into some sunshine.  Below you can see our arucana rooster having a crow, and the other pic, is his girlfriends next door, a couple in the nesting boxes, and some on the perch.

Inside chook pen photo

Its amazing how quickly they make a mess of everything though.  Those nesting boxes were bright white when they went in, and perch was new pine!  The drum to the left is up on a stand, and has a piece of PVC pipe coming from a hole in the middle at the bottom which falls into a small container.  This is our self feeder – we can keep about a months worth of feed here with out having to top up.

I love seeing other peoples chicken coops/chook pens – if you have seen a great one online please leave the web address in the comments section below, so I can check it out!

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Chook pen progress

Well we really had a huge run at the new chookpen over the Melbourne Cup weekend.  The frame is well and truly taking shape.  While Cam was welding new bits together, I was coming behind, and painting all the welds with an anti rust paint.  I even had a bit of a go at welding myself – although I won’t be posting any closeups of my work!  Its MUCH harder than it looks, and those welding helmets really take some getting use to!

We have had a couple of old house doors lying around for a few years, and decided that they might make good doors for the chook pen.  So I gave them a light sand, and have painted them white (with a few helpers!!).  I still need to do a final waterproofing layer.   I sourced some old black hinges which I reckon will look great against the white.

You can see the nesting box frames here, on the far right of the picture, supported at the moment by a bit of wood.  They will be accessable from outside, so on rainy days, when the chook yard is muddy, we won’t actually need to go in, to collect the eggs.

Next step will be to clad the outside with mesh and corrugated iron, and then attach the doors.  I’m getting excited because it feels like we’re not too far away, but then, these things always take longer than we expect!

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Starting the NEW chook shed!

Yes – I’m very excited!  I have finally managed to get Cam to make a start on our new chook pen.  the existing one, as you can see below, leaves a lot to be desired. The old tank is one I rolled to this location from the other side of the garden – not an easy task.  That was 7 years ago, so our chooks have been very patient.  The tank has slowly deteriorated, and is not terribly weather proof any more.

Our existing chookpen - the tall drum is a self feeder, and small one has top up wheat that we add to the pellets we buy.  Mr Rooster can be seen here stutting his stuff!

Our existing chookpen – the tall drum is a self feeder, and shorter one has top up wheat that we add to the pellets we buy. Mr Rooster can be seen here stutting his stuff, with the girls!

I have had a plan in my head for the new one, so I got it down on paper, so Cam could start working on it.  So far we have the front and back walls welded up, and, surprisingly, it hasn’t taken as long as I thought it would!  Its going to have three compartments.  A main chook area, and then a smaller one that will be for clucky chooks, or for raising chickens in, and then the bit on the end will actually be a garden shed, because the completed shed and pen will be next to the vegie garden.  Currently all my gardening tools are just leaning up against the fence of the vegie garden or sitting in a tray on the ground!  The plan is to clad the frame three quarters of the way up with corrugated iron, and fill the top gap with chicken wire.  Finished photos will follow – don’t hold your breath!

Here's the back wall of the  new shed. You can see the three divisions. The half way line will be where the nesting boxes will be, and the

Here’s the back wall of the new shed. You can see the three divisions, the closest one (and widest section) being for the main chooks area, the middle section being for clucky chooks and the far section will be the storage shed. The steel half way line will be where the nesting boxes will be.

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