Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Little Chook House Project

I'm not a builder, as I like to tell everyone my help towards the house is being on the dumb end of the tape measure and doing a bit of the donkey work, lugging things around, pulling on ropes and every now and then Trev lets me use a hammer (sparingly). My skills are next to nil, so I figured I'd get around to a small project of my own to increase them without the issue of making a mess of the house at the same time. I was inspired by an article in the ABC Organic Gardener Magazine, either last issue or the one before. It was the chook clock. Mine is separated into 15 minute intervals. Basically the large area is divided into four by the central chook pen. From each corner a fence (will) radiate out to the corners of the paddock, dividing it into four wedge shaped garden beds. Each side of the chook pen will have a human sized and chook sized door. When I want the chooks in a particular garden bed, I open that side, leaving the others closed. So I rotate them around the beds without having to relocate the chooks, and pen.

I've already made the mud bricks for two of the walls, and as soon as we have strawbales I'll be able to complete the other two. Wanted to have a trial go at rendering too.

Run into the usual 'trap for young players' as Trev calls it. One of my post holes had a weird natural hole at the bottom, and of course once weight was placed on it my post collapsed into it, I had to do the wonderful Tasmanian trick of propping one corner of the chook house up on a few rocks. (some sheds around here have been sitting on piles of rocks as foundations for over a hundred years). The usual not quite square issue, matched with Trev's reject wood which is bowed, twisted and not square in the first place and I'll have some interesting doors to make.

Still, it's all experience, I just wish I wasn't still scared of the drill, the one that twists your wrists off your arms off their stems when you've got your screw in. It's also convinced me even further of Trev's natural born brilliance... I can only look on in wonder.


Baudains Family said...

I was just reading that very article on Sunday. Good luck! Hubby and I are currently building a chook house and I have learnt how to use the drills and a mitre saw. Never thought I would be brave enough. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Fay (ordinaryeco)

Sharon said...

Thats a great effort. I am like you, not so good with the building stuff, whereas my hubby is a whizz. Makes me realise how good he is, when I try to do things. But I try to help and I'm the one to go get this or that, while he does the 'real work'.

I too was inspired by the chook clock. I love it.

Gavin said...

Well done Linda, at least you are giving it a good go. I wish I had the land for a chook clock.

Mine are only able to free range for about two hours a day, otherwise they will eat all the grass. It hasn't rained much in Melton of late!

Darren (Green Change) said...

I loved that article. I just wish I had the space to create something like that.

I'm really looking forward to reading about your experiences with it. I've seen them written up a few times now, but the articles have always seemed a bit theoretical. I want to see a real gardener such as yourself have a go and report back her experiences!

Linda Cockburn said...

Hmmm, that's interesting Darren, what makes a gardener a real gardener?

When they spend half their life in it?
When they can reel off Latin names?
When they can eradicate all weeds (counts me out?)
When they write about it? (done lots of that, not sure it's made a real gardener out of me).

A serious question. I don't know the answer to it. I always feel secretly ashamed of the garden, I think lots of people do, because it's always a work in progress, it's never something you say, viola, it is done! The darn thing never stays did long enough to point the finger.

So what makes a gardener a real gardener?

Saver Queen said...

Hi Linda! Just wanted to let you know that I just finished your book, Living the Good Life and absolutely loved it! I'm recommending it to all my friends. Very inspiring. I live in a high rise condo building in Canada, and I'm constantly looking for new ways to make my lifestyle more sustainable. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Good luck with the chook house project!

Kimbo said...

Wow Linda. I just finished reading "Living The Good Life" and jumped on the web to see what you are up to now. I have been using a chook clock for 5 years, but I didn't have such a groovy name for it, so we have been calling it the rotating four field system. I have some action photos if you are interested, we also use pigs in ours-works a treat! Keep smiling!