Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moving the chicken sheds.

On Thursday 12th January the Mayor of St. Just brought his tractor down to the farm and helped us move the chicken sheds onto new pasture. Our chicken field measures 2.26 acres, and is evenly divided into six sections, each being fenced off to create a separate chicken run or paddock. Our plan is to rotate the birds every six months to give them fresh pasture and allow the old pasture time to recover. Whilst our first flock of 40 chickens had been happily living on their run for over one year without it looking degraded, the other two flocks each of 80 chickens had worn their grass down to bare earth and certainly needed moving on. Before moving them we wormed and de-loused them.
Towing a shed from one pasture to the next.
Each shed is large enough to house 100 birds under organic conditions, and each run is also measured accordingly. The sheds are mounted on skids, like a sledge, so they can be dragged by tractor without the need for lifting or for wheels. They weigh a ton (or more!) but the tractor just about managed.
Lucky girls leaping out into fresh green grass.
We have been lucky this winter, and our 200 chickens have between them kept supplying the farm with at least 5 dozen eggs a day for us to sell at the gate, Pendeen Farmer's Market, and in our weekly veg-boxes.
Re-installing the internal fencing between flocks.
Having taken down some of the internal fencing to allow the sheds to be dragged between runs, afterwards we had to put it all back together again. This job was only completed today, when small wheelbarrow-size gates were installed in the fences between internal runs, making collecting eggs and cleaning out the sheds a much easier job (even if only one person were to do it). We also put skirts of wire-netting around the bases of each shed to prevent the chickens from excavating under the houses to lay their eggs out of our reach.
Spot the difference between old pasture and new.
Many thanks to Morley, Deb, Sonja, Jenny, Anne and Jim for helping.

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