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A Summer House for the Hens

A Summer House for the Hens

Sickness has plagued our family for the past two weeks, but I think we have finally shaken it!  Illness, two extra children (we are foster parents) and two birthday parties filled my time so much I did not even have time to think about the the farm and this blog. I have been blessed by one friend who has been a true servant and comes once a week with her beautiful children to help me with whatever I need.  Last week the extra set was especially welcomed!

This week, however, has brought sun and above zero temperatures that are driving Mike outdoors to work on the next project:  a mobile coop for our laying hens.  The success of prominent American farmer, Joel Salatin, has brought the mobile coop to the forefront of the farm blog world.  Many farmers have tried their hand at it using various modifications of his system.  The main idea is to move your hens around the pasture a few days after the herd animals (cows, sheep etc.) have moved on.  The hens get constant access to fresh grass and multitudes of insects, newly hatched worms and flies which they thrive on.  Some farmers claim their chicken feed consumption has been reduced by as much as 75%!  A bonus of this approach to poultry husbandry is that the birds eat a lot of the pests and parasites that can become a nuisance to the other livestock and the farmer, such as worms and flies.  We have wanted to do this for awhile, so this week Mike proceeded to convert our hay wagon (our only one actually, so if any knows of a hay wagon for sale??) to one.

The new deck with the mesh floor.

The new wagon deck with slats.

One of the great things about the internet and farm bloggers is that we love to share our ideas and help each other to be profitable.  We have researched plans for some time and never have we came across a request asking that the plans not be used to make money.  If you search for patterns for almost any craft item, however, you will most often be asked to not use the plans for any sort of saleable product.  These fellow farmers have taught us a lot and we are very grateful for their help and advice.  In the end Mike decided to make a coop similar to this one by The Promiseland Farm, but make a few changes to reduce the construction cost.  One of the things that they did in the video was use metal mesh floors.  After checking out some prices on that we decided to use a wooden slat floor (made out of 2x4s cut in half lengthways) covered with chicken wire. By the end of day one it looked like this. You can see our house with the natural pine siding in the background.  It has started to go grey because it has not been painted yet.  Maybe we will get around to painting it this year, but probably not! Red maybe…

Walls and some rafters

Walls and some rafters

Update on our electric mesh for our goats.  We bought the Premier 1 brand through Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers in Carleton Place if anyone is interested in buying it.  They had a good price and because we could pick it up there were no shipping charges. The jury is still out on this one.  I think it will work great in the summer when we put the spikes directly into the ground.  Since the ground is frozen we have had to put them in the hard snow for now and as the snow melts, the fence falls over.  Argh.  The fence itself works great however, it gives a really, really good jolt.  I am sure the neighbours wondered what I was yelling about when my five year old son thought it would be helpful to plug the fence in at the same time as I was setting it back up.  For the third time in one day. Oh, did I mention that I had a thirty plus pound child on my back?  Enough said on that subject.  Moving on…

Out of trouble...for now.

Out of trouble…for now.

One last note, we finally have eggs for sale.  Check out our products page or contact us for more information.

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Fresh organic eggs for sale $6/dozen.

 

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Written by Vanessa White


Website: http://welshhill.com

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