Thursday, 24 September 2009

New chicks on the block

This post written by Sophia, when she was recovering from an impaled foot incident involving a 6 inch brass screw...

The continuing urge of self sustaining living has driven us to chickens. Other than being very tasty and productive little things for the non vegans amongst us, they are massively useful when applying permaculture principles. We now have fluffy chicken tractors for the land. The chickens will allow our sun burnt soil to become prosperous veggie patches, fertilized with organic chicken waste, whilst eating up our dinner scraps.

(Note from Editor: actually, thus far they have clawed up any living thing on the soil in the coup, rampaged through the veg gardens when let out to wander and produced nada on the egg front since day one. Still, in principle...)

Applying our best salvaging and scavenging techniques we built a moveable coup so all of the growing terraces can eventually benefit from our new feathered friends. Whilst on a trip to the James Bond river (more of that later) we harvested some wild growing bamboo to build the structure of our coup.

Luckily, this was ideal as it perfectly fit our two design criterions: lightness of the structure and height. This meant we could move it around easily and not look like an aged crone when you’re collecting the eggs (and for Heather, our newest volunteer, to play with the chickens). The bendability of the bamboo allowed for a beautiful arched structure. Although aesthetics aren’t everything by any means, it’s still great to have an organic flowing structure fitting the natural landscape, than a plastic monstrosity!

Getting the structure to stand firmly without braces (which we didn’t have enough resources for), required notches to be taken out of each piece of bamboo to create a tight fit and then excellent knotting skills, learnt from a friendly Italian visitor. (That'll be Ricardo)

The chicken laying house, to go inside the coup, was scavenged from the shell of the house. Old doors and shutters have been cobbled together to allow the chickens to provide us with omelettes once they come of age. But for now, they continue to look cute and be clucked over by Heather, our mother hen.

(Editor again: they are now SO much bigger, a bit more grumpy and less cute, but still chirping away. Oh, and we tripled their enclosure and stopped them rampaging across the gardens, which was a shame because they used to appear in the kitchen for chirps and shade).

Sophia, current author, having built herself in.

1 comment:

Elie Losleben said...

What inspiration for our own work! I like that you scavenged the materials for the coop and that it's moveable, to get the most benefit from the chicken droppings. I was pleased to recently learn that hens don't need roosters around to lay eggs, which means that as soon as we're Robertsport-based, we'll be reading your blueprints to create a coop of our own.