Muddy Chickens

chicken run

We had planned to visit the allotment again yesterday but attempting to weed in heavy rain and hail didn’t seem very appealing. It was far too wet and cold to do anything constructive so we decided to stay home and tackle a job from our long list. Despite the new chicken run roof (put on about a month ago), the ground was being saturated by wind-driven rain and our poor hens were sinking inside their muddy enclosure. As predicted, the grass didn’t survive enthusiastic chicken feet for very long and the ground quickly became a swamp. Leaving the ground like this will eventually cause disease problems.

IMG_2692chickenrun

The first thing we did was to attach a sheet of tarp to the back of the run (another piece is needed to finish off the back and side), we used bricks to weight it down giving a snug fit. It doesn’t look particularly appealing but it does the job of keeping the rain out. After generously sprinkling Stalosan F poultry disinfectant over the soil we slabbed the floor of the enclosure using patio slabs stored away in our garage since moving day. The sodden ground made it really easy to bed them in.

chicken run

To finish off, a generous heap of horse bedding (chopped straw and dust extracted shavings mix) on top of the slabbed chicken run floor and the girls are dry and happy again. Our chicken enclosure is far too big to move around to fresh ground, slabbing the floor over prevents the ground from becoming ‘sick’ and prevents rats and predators from tunnelling underneath. It’s simple to clean too. Patio slabs are expensive to buy so keep an eye out for them on websites like Freecycle.

Our New Garden

Part of our new garden. Can you see our chicken run over there?
Part of our new garden. Can you see our chicken run over there?

It has been a month since we moved house, how time flies. We’re more or less settled in the new house with just a few boxes left to unpack, just bits and pieces that we didn’t really use before so they’re sure to find their way to the loft space at some point. The weather has been bitterly cold and dreary for weeks on end but today was just glorious, feeling as if spring had finally sprung in the warm sunshine. I took the camera for a wander to snap a few photos of the garden to post to the blog, it was a perfect opportunity to get an idea of where the sun reaches throughout the day. I take it as a good sign if an area of garden receives sunshine during early spring, going with the theory that it should be better once the sun is higher during summer.

We have a number of very tall huge ex-Christmas trees down one side of the garden, planted over the years by the previous owner, whenever I see these lovely pine cones I think of all the wonderful things I could do with them for Christmas/Yule celebrations. We’ve heard pine cones are edible but we have no idea if these actually are.

pine cone

We positioned the chicken run in the shade these trees create to eliminate the heat problem we had in our previous garden during summer. The trees also protect the chickens from snow and frost too.

chicken run

The girls have settled in well
The girls have settled in well

There are 9 fruit trees in total (with a couple more of our own to be planted). The exciting part is finding out what they all are. The area at the bottom of the garden is probably where our new veg patch will eventually be. It needs a bit of clearing first and new fences are being erected soon.

fruit trees

fruit tree

Nearer the house there’s a pond full of Koi and a well planted rockery surrounding it, screening the house as well as the pond. It must have taken some doing to get all those rocks into the garden.

koi pond

rockery

At the bottom of the garden there’s a greenhouse tucked away, the staging is now in place and ready for seed sowing once conditions are right. I’m really looking forward to spending some time in there, sowing seed for the allotment and planning our new little veg patch for the garden.