Sunday, September 26, 2010

Adventures in Animal Husbandry

Brian has been wanting chickens for ages. And rabbits and a cow. But, for the time being, he's acquired just the chickens. Six of them. You may remember reading about our weekend with an escapee chicken from the Lyneham High School some time ago. When he returned the chick they told him that at the end of each year the school sells off their chickens when they are just starting to lay. So when the end of the term came around they emailed Brian and gave him first dibs on buying the chickens before they put out the for-sale sign. The prospect of such an easy way to acquire chickens was just too tempting for Brian and last weekend he set to work building a pen for them. The result is the beautiful creation you see below, made (at zero cost) entirely from scavenged materials (including two broken down old wardrobes from the garage) and using only three tools, a Leatherman, a bike multi-tool and a screwdriver. Note the ramp up to the bedroom where the wardrobe doors open to the outside allowing easy access for egg collection. On the left side is the kitchen.

On Monday morning, we went over to the school to collect our chickens and introduce them to their new home.

The project for this weekend has been building a mobile pen for them so that we can let them out to nibble on juicy grass and scrounge for worms around the yard. (Kristi, you'll be pleased to know that this structure was built using only grapevines, bamboo, duct tape and chicken wire).

So far, we've collected 70 eggs in 15 days and have calculated that with the cost of straw, feed and chickens that we will break even after week 14 compared to store-bought free-range eggs.

It's so wonderful that spring is finally here and we're able to spend some time outdoors every day! Some blooms in our backyard:

The chickens and the arrival of spring have motivated us to get our worm farms back up and running and to start our veggie gardens again. Here are my boys looking adorable while hard at work preparing the beds:

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've finally mustered the energy to get the few photos I've managed to take in the last month or so online. There are three public folders of Riker and friends on Facebook that you might like to see: Riker Month Nine, Riker Month Ten and Dickson Mum's Group (courtesy of Alison). Here are some highlights: