New Fencing

Wanting to bring the chickens closer to the house over winter, we decided to make some chicken/duck proof paddocks at the back of the cottages, using weldmesh fencing. At the moment we have a partially temporary hard surface running along the paddocks, but we’ll lay a blue brick path to join the two areas that are already bricked, to help cut down on the mud-trunching in the winter!

Come spring we’ll seed the bare patches. The blue brick path will be laid where there are currently temporary yellow slabs, and the top soil we’ll remove from there will be added to one of the paddocks where the five-bar gate is, as the ground has a low spot which holds water in winter time.

 

Paddock Fencing NorthwardsPaddock Fencing North Eastwards Paddock Fencing Southwards Paddock Fencing Northwards Close

Sunrise over Chook Paddock

A random shot of the sunrise over the large fowl paddock, showing off their posh new coop 🙂Sunrise over Paddock

New Coop!

 

We haven’t totally escaped the storms of 2013 – the recent strong winds destroyed our two Doodle Coops. We managed to cobble the pieces left into one workable coop, though it needed a few screws to keep it together. It’s nowhere near large enough for our large birds, but it’ll do as a broody coop or hospital coop.

The answer? Well, I personally like plastic coops – less trouble with red mite, easier to clean, less sticking in winter when wooden coops can swell. The goose houses and field shelters we have from Green Frog Design are excellent – well made, solid and very easy to clean. I also like their chicken arks, but the big problem is they have no run option for their coops. Part of our promise to ourselves is to try and get the odd day off every now and again, and the option to be able to come back after sundown and not worry about the birds would be lovely. To that end we decided to invest in an Eglu Cube, with an extended run. The run will hardly ever be used – it’s merely an option for when we want to be back late. At the moment it’s probably large enough for four birds, using the square yard per bird equation. We could actually do with another two extension pieces, but we’ll see how this goes for now before investing any more in it. I have to say, having built it, it’s nice and solid, and well thought through. It’s not as easy to clean as a Green Frog ark would be, as they use flat plastic sheeting, but it’s certainly a lot easier to move (as you can see) and very self-contained. It’s the only coop on the market, mass-produced, that has the anti-dig mesh skirt around the run. Believe me, we looked at so many options before deciding on this purchase, I’m not one to jump in to buying something. Let’s hope the chickens like it as much!

New Trees Update

We’ve tracked down a local Beeley Pippin from which we’ve been kindly allowed to take a scion from this winter. To that end we’ll graft two or three on to MM106 rootstock and replace the rather ill cherry trees in the small orchard. So in the old cherry line, we’ll have the surviving Morello cherry, and then we can squeeze in another six new MM106 apple trees. These will be:

  • Beeley Pippin
  • Lamb’s Seedling
  • Pendragon
  • Breunsdorfer
  • 2 x Newton Wonder (from last year’s self-grafting session).

This leaves us with eight Newton Wonder to find homes for – I suspect we’ll be giving away some apple trees this year!

The Beeley Pippin the geese ate this year is looking quite dead now, so we’ll replace it with a Roxbury Russet – the oldest USA variety, dating back to the 1600s. It’s not the prettiest of apples, but apparently makes quite delicious juice and cider, so a useful apple.