How to keep chooks in your backyard
The 72 year old professionally trained actress won the S pandora bracelet unshine Coast Living Smart Award Edible Landscape in 2009 and ever since then she has been running gardening workshops through the public libraries.
Here Rosina shares her knowledge on how to keep chooks in our Sunshine Coast backyards with details on everything from pen designs to building the pen, nesting herbs and pandora bracelet chook feeding. You can catch Rosina talk on how to keep chooks in your backyard at the Kawana Library on Thursday 29 July, 2010 at 2pm.
A couple of years ago, after thinking long and hard about having chooks in my gardening system I decided I had to do it. First of all I needed to create a suitable space. I decided to remove six useless palms inside the back fence, which thankfully backs on to a reserve. This created an area 7m x 2.3m. Since the southern side of my shade house was placed 2.3m from the back fence, there was my other long edge for the chook pens, already there! I then only needed to divide that area in two to have two chook pens each 3.5m long x 2.5m wide, close in each end and put in doors for access. As I only wanted two chooks I felt this space would work well.
Herein I will describe how this plan became a reality and in the process showed me how, having a couple of chooks in my gardening system is so beneficial to both the garden and my personal well being.
Why you should do this:
Growing your pandora bracelet own food reduces food miles (how far food travels from paddock to plate and is an indication of how environmentally friendly the food is). Food freight, especially by air and road, consumes pandora bracelet fuel and energy, and releases greenhouse pollution. The lower the food miles, the better choice it is for the environment.
Fresh organic eggs every day.
A fantastic resource for composting and enriching the soil in your garden.
You are not supporting the hen system”.
Chooks are cheerful pets that require just a few necessities to be happy and healthy.
Chooks are the best recyclers; scraps, eggs, manure and compost.
Look at the financial benefits for one year:
Two of lay chooks cost $34.
Say three bags grain for one year cost $42.
Add another $20 for bits and pieces and this all comes to $94.
Two laying chooks lay approx 600 eggs per year.
That 50 dozen eggs at $4.95 equals $246.50. A great investment. Think about your choices in designing a chook pen:
Firstly, I would advise you to check out your local council regulations. Don give up if it all looks too hard as you can still keep bantams which are great little chooks. They are classed as birds and are wonderful pets.
Please note I am describing below what I did to build my pens. Obviously there are many alternative possibilities including movable chook pens often referred to as chook tractors.
Another idea I have seen that works very well in a well managed garden is a moveable pen, made to fit existing uniform garden terraces. Attached to the pen is a tunnel made from joinable lengths of chicken wire which lead the chooks out of the chook house during the day, to scratch in an old garden bed and return as necessary to lay or to roost in the evening. Brilliant!
Naturally ranging your chooks is the ideal if you can keep the little destructors away from your veggie system! For instance an orchard would be great with a chook house attached. The chook house would need to be secure at night against predators like pythons and goannas etc.
Diagram of my two pen system:
Wood for central roof and end frames and moveable perch (the perch is attached to two old star pickets).