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New Plan for Chook Yard
Copyright © Beverley Paine March, 2007

In a few weeks we'll be moving the geese from their old home with the chooks to their new home down the hill, in what used to be the bike shed. It's actually a general storage area but once upon a time our lads kept their motorbikes in the shed and the label stuck...

At present the geese and chooks are kept separate as we divided the chook yard in two with chook wire - this allows us to let the geese out but not the chooks. We used to let the chooks roam but they don't scratch, they plough! They eat everything except the weeds... It's sad seeing them restricted to their yard, but it's big, with plenty of space for a short flutter of the wings and has one or two trees to scratch beneath. Shade is provided by a passionfruit and kennedia rubicans on the chook wire overhead (which, theoretically keeps out birds of prey and foxes).

The plan was to pull down the divider once we shift the geese to their new home, but upon reading an entry in the permaculture forum on groundcovers to use in the chook yard, we've decided to leave it in place. This way we can rotate the chooks from one section to the other, allowing the first section to have a rest and - better still - try to grow some food for us in the well-manured, wonderful compost they leave behind. At the same time we can establish some chook food species for them to enjoy when it's time to switch back.

This bold new plan will only require a small door to be cut into their chook house to facilitate entry into the northern yard. We will retain the temporary bath in the lower section for the ducks to continue to use (our muscovys live with the chooks as they find the geese a little intimidating, plus their survival rate when free ranging is bleak).

I liked Susan's idea of using mesh fence (the kind found in old school fences - any one else miss school fences? It worries me to see school's unboundered, especially junior primary schools on busy roads...). She suggested pegging it about 100mm above the ground and sowing the protected area with bird seed from the supermarket. The chooks can eat the greens but not scratch up the soil and seeds. It's one idea I'm definitely going to try. We'll use ordinary builder's mesh until we can source the mesh fencing material. It's not as good, but it will do.

It's going to be good to finally plant the wormwood, yarrow and rue that have been sitting in pots patiently waiting for the chook yard makeover.

With luck I'll remember to post a photo or two when all the changes have been made!




photos of the ever changing view of the coast from our living room window
Our ever-changing view!
Moonset ~ Roll Cloud ~ Sunset

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care for earth,
care for people,
return surplus,
reduce consumption

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.