20 November 2013 | Posted in Gardening by
We had a really busy weekend finally getting round to installing the new hen house, it's only been made and waiting since May!
The reason it's taken so long is because I wanted to take up the old paving slabs that were under the covered area as I had seen some evidence of rats and I wanted to make it as rodent proof as possible.
As well as the base we needed to add a new roof section as I had temporarily covered it with polythene which somehow managed to last a year before the wind finally ripped a section of it the other week!
So we took up all the old pavers and sure enough there was a little tunnel from outside running under the slabs and out again! The paved area is bigger now with small gauge wire on top of soil and a layer of sand. We didn't use individual slabs but some long 6ft-1ft reinforced concrete sections that my husband had at work, I have no idea what their proper use is but they certainly made a great job of the chicken run!
The complete run is 6ft wide by about 20ft long with a 6ft tall fence between us and the farm at the back so only three sides are wire and they are strong panels rather than chicken wire and partially buried so nothing should be able to dig underneath now
The paved area which is roofed against rain is 9ft x 6ft and the rest is just earth for scratching about and dust baths. There is a wire roof to keep foxes out and a Sorbus tree grows through the middle of it with a couple of other shrubs for shade and some perches.
Of course they also have the run of the garden when we're at home and are pets rather than egg machines although they are very good in that department too! They eat all our veggie leftovers except root veg and they go mad for tomatoes and sweetcorn. They clean up my veg beds over the winter so I don't need to do any weeding just a bit of levelling out before sowing and planting - of course I do have to keep them off the beds once they're planted but I just cover any bed that needs it with hoops and butterfly netting and it works a treat.
I ached in places I didn't know I had places but I'm really pleased with the result. I really hate to think of chickens being kept in really small runs, when I bought my first coop the run was 3ft square and allegedly the right size for three chickens - not in my garden it's not! Maybe we did go overboard a bit with the size and strength of the whole thing but at least I know my girls are safe and sound now.