I'm still really excited about our new chicken run and have been thinking of ways to make it as much fun for my small friends as possible. After a successful visit to the tip last week and always one to re-use, I had a wonderful time this weekend coming up different ideas for 'furniture' to keep them happy.
As our fruit trees are still very young, there is no shady shelter for them in the run. This heavy iron frame that we have had lying around for the past couple of years was perfect to cover with some shadecloth to create a foraging tunnel. Chooks, originally being jungle animals like to shelter under low shrubs/trees to feel safe from predators and roost up high at night. The girls made their way into this one straight away!
A nesting box need not be expensive or fancy. They can be made from the most basic items. Here, a tip-scrounged milk crate and an off-cut of lattice do the trick.
Again, with no tall trees in the run, there is nowhere for the girls to perch if they feel the need. This frame used to have a double swing-seat attached but had long since buckled in the wind. It makes a great perching frame, with a ladder of lattice to help them up (I clipped some of their wings...another story!). The frame has been covered with plastic netting (more tip scrounging), and I am thinking of growing some sort of vine over the top....maybe kiwi fruit.
And my gate! I was quietly pleased with myself this weekend, as I finally used the cut-off power saw!! I have aways been so worried (scared), about it, but realise after making this gate what a useful and time-saving tool it really is. The timber all came from the tip, (quite a pattern emerging here, eh?!). The paint colour was not important, it was the only 'weathershield' we happened to have lying around. (I have NO idea what I used this paint for originally!).
The girls were also treated to a new roosting set-up in their night pen. The previous two perches were struggling to house our newcomers. These perches (cut up curtain rod), are about 70cm off the ground. This set up is working really well....
...along with a cute little ramp made from second hand timber. (And they DO use it, I checked/spied on them!). All in all, a productive weekend.