Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Preparing for chickens.

All systems are go on the farm at the moment, as we prepare for the imminent arrival of our first flock of laying hens. We hope to have them on site and living in their new home by the end of this week. This means, as always, lots of hard work getting the farm ready to receive them, and making their new home as comfortable as possible for them.
Inside one of the sheds before restoration.
The floor of one shed before repair.
When you see photos of how the sheds were before we got to work on them, you realise how far we've come since this time last week. One of the sheds is now habitable although some fine-tuning is needed, another is roofed and painted but needs sorting out inside, and the third we have not begun work on as yet.
Painting the middle shed, having already replaced the roof.
Replacing the scrubbed-clean floor in one of the sheds.
Having re-roofed and painted two of the sheds, next job was to drag them into place on the field, by use of a landrover. The sheds are mounted on "skids" rather than wheels, but once they got going they were surprisingly easy to manoeuvre (thanks Chris and Kirsten!). The field was divided into three, and one shed placed central in each third. Each third will be divided into two equal paddocks, to allow rotation of the hens and give the land time to recover between grazings. At present we are only going to fence one sixth of the field, being one half of one third, due to financial and time constraints.
The sheds distributed across the field.
Our chosen sixth of the field has been mowed to give the hens short grass to scratch around in. Which leaves the construction of a fox-proof fence - no mean feat when you consider we are erecting sixty 8-foot-high posts, then the chicken wire, gate for tractor access, and lastly some electric wire to help deter foxes even further.
Group of volunteers getting started on the fenceposts today.
We hope to have the fence up and working before this weekend....

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