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Chicken Coop & Greenhouse Lockdown Project Part 2

Well we're out of lockdown now, and trying to fit in completing our project, in between being back at work, with a deadline of the end of May. Thus being when the chickens will be ready for collection. If you haven't read the first part of this project blog, check that out first so you can see some before pics.

The chicken house has now been completed, and the greenhouse moved into position, so now to start on the yard... We have all these lovely old totara posts from my aunty and uncles farm that had been sitting idle. So we've chosen to use these to form part of the chicken yard fencing and gate. We've put in 2 gates, one to give access to the chicken yard, the other to give easy access to the citrus trees which are in the chicken yard area. We've also used totara battens to create the garden edging next to the paths. Once that was in place I could start with the fun part of planting up those gardens! I didn't want to have to spend any money on these, so most of these are plants that have self seeded and been moved from other areas of the property. In went some decent soil, as well as jonquils, mint, oregano, parsley, chives, allysum, sweetpeas and some flowering annuals, which I did have to get from the garden centre - violas (my favourite) and some primulas. This area doesn't get much sun, so we'll see how these plants survive in this spot.

On the other side of the path next to the grisilinia hedge I have planted Camellia Sweet Emily Kate, which is a compact pendulous camellia with scented pretty pale pink flowers, and then mulched these with some of the tonnes and tonnes of pine needles that had previously been coating our driveway, rooves, and cars from the massive pine trees lining our property. Pine needles I believe are quite acid, and camellias love acid soil, so hopefully they will be a match made in heaven. During the chook yard installation these trees got cut down by the neighbour (great timing), so we are stoked to not have to contend with pine needles falling everywhere over the chicken yard, house, basically everywhere, not to mention the extra light we now get!

We managed to complete the rest of the chicken yard using upcycled posts and windbreak, as well as a few warratahs and chicken mesh from Farmlands. We had it ready just in time to bring the chickens home!

So now introducing to you all: chook, chook, chook and Daisy. Haha my daughter has only named one so far. They have settled in well, at first they were quite frightened, pretty much staying in one spot, but now a week later, they come running whenever you go near their yard. Which I do find pretty cute, like a faithful dog waiting for you to get home.

We're just currently in the process of training the chooks to use the Grandpa Feeder, and to perch on the perches inside rather then sleeping on the floor or in the nesting box. I've been doing some research on caring for chickens, taking advice from my current favourite garden gurus Monty Don, and Kath Irvine (down near Levin).

There's still heaps to do to finish this project:

  • the greenhouse will need finishing and painting

  • the garden edging needs to be completed

  • the yards need to be completely finished so there aren't any gaps for escaping chickens

  • we want to put a gutter up to catch the water off the greenhouse roof, to utilise for the chickens water, and maybe watering in the greenhouse

But that will happen in good time. In the meantime I have loved utilising my greenhouse to grow seeds! So far I have grown some roquefort beans, leeks, ornamental carrot, onions and parsnip, which have all since been transplanted into the vege garden. Now we're just waiting for the first eggs to be laid... can't wait.

Ah well, that's that mission completed (well nearly), hopefully I'll post some more photos in a years time when the garden is starting to take shape, the greenhouse is looking amazeballs and the chooks are fat and laying loads of eggs!!

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