Monday, March 5, 2012

Putting the Chooks to Work

I love re-arranging furniture in my living spaces. I get tired of sitting facing the same wall and I very often find myself dragging a couch from one end of the room to the other and sitting on it and then deciding that it doesn't work there and dragging it to another spot and then deciding that the coffee table looks wrong and re-jigging that. And so on until I'm happy. And then I'm unhappy 'cos I notice the scratch marks I've made on the floor with my dragging and quickly decide to re-arrange the rug too.

And so it was a couple of weeks ago that I found myself sitting in the garden considering a garden furniture re-arrange. Problem is hauling rocks and logs and benches outside is a tougher job than dragging the bookshelf or couch about. And when I decided that the bench seat I'd re-arranged didn't quite work where I'd re-arranged it I didn't have the energy to drag it to another spot. So it took a few days to get right. But Littlest Monkey had whined to get his very own hammock so the re-arrange had to be done.

And when all was re-arranged to my satisfaction and the little monkeys and I were happily swinging on our very own hammocks (yep it's a hard life) I got to contemplating the chooks. They have been scratching about in a run that goes from their shed, along the back fence and under the trampoline since they were chicks. And they have well and truly scratched it bare. The poor chooks need their greens and surely they are sick of looking at that same bit of yard. I decided that they needed a re-arrange too.

The great thing about chooks is that they are very good lawn mowers. Actually, there are several great things about chooks but this was the first that occurred to me as I was re-jigging their run. The weeds and grass growing taller in my yard has been bothering me for quite a while now and I'm surprised that it didn't occur to me earlier to employ the chooks to do my work.

I made a run down the other side of their shed. It's not as big as their previous one but there's lots of grass to gobble for the time being. The good thing about silkie chickens is that they can't fly or jump high so I only need little fences. Some chicken wire and a few stakes are all that's required to keep them in check. I've decided that when my tomatoes are finished I'll extend their new run to include that veggie patch. They can scratch it up and deposit their fertiliser there until I'm ready to plant something new.
And then I was reminded of the very long weeds that are growing up my fence in a rather hard to reach spot near my back door. Well I've been telling myself that it's a hard to reach spot but it's possible it's just hard for my hand to muster the enthusiasm to reach and pull them out. Anyway, I was thinking that the next stage could be to reduce a bit of my veggie patch and make a very narrow run all the way down the side to my back door weed patch and they could fix that up for me. I might just need to get myself a couple more chooks to do all the work that I'm planning because silkies are prone to broodiness and two of them very lazily spend their days sitting in the nest boxes at the moment. I'd have to put a stop to that if I want all my weeds sorted by winter.

And by spring I figured that I could put them back in their old run. By which time some grass will have grown. But to help things along I threw a few handfuls of salad leaf seeds under the trampoline and along the back fence. I only had a packet of "gourmet" salad leaf seeds but I decided they'd deserve a treat by then. And as I had some extra silverbeet seedlings needing somewhere to go, they went in too.

And I must say I felt very pleased with myself and the chooks looked quite happy too. In fact everyone looked happy except Wokee who very much wanted to play with the chooks in their new run.


  1. I love those smiling eyes!

  2. You know VG,I reckon you could get this post published as a children's book.
    ha ha, love the little monkey peeping over the hammock.

  3. I see we share the same pair of Silkie chooks haha! Great idea about the extended run, who has time to weed anything when you have kids anyway! Lol.

  4. Great photos. I am just in the process of drawing up some plans for a chook run and I must say I do like this idea of getting them to do some work for me - I'm thinking perhaps a permanent run and then a moveable bit that I can put around the garden where it needs the most work.

  5. Hmmm, and here was me thinking that it was goats which did the required lawn-mowing, not chickens. But I'd better not mention goats in present company, had I?

  6. what a great idea -using chooks as your lawn mower. By the way an easy way to move furniture without scratching the floor is to place heavy items on a blanket - they slide so easily.

  7. Littlest Monkey looks a very happy monkey! So cute.

    I had to laugh when I saw the photo of Wokee. Just like my dog...she's a shih tzu too and always wanting to be in on the action :D

  8. Great idea VG! With 5 full size - massive - hens roaming our place we are looking at an enclosure and only letting them free range completely for part of the day. I can't deal with the poo everywhere...ugh...more pics of your hens and your runs please!

  9. Aw- Wokee is so cute! So are your little monkeys actually, but I'm such a sucker for a smooshed face :)

    I would like to do the same thing with my girls - I'd like them to keep the grass down behind my raised beds, but not sure how to do it. Maybe some chicken wire tubing? I'm having difficulty imagining your run setup - I agree with Mrs Bok - more pictures needed!

  10. Ok I'll do a post showing the setup soon.


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