Wednesday, February 27, 2013
We finally got our expanded chicken yard made and covered over with netting. At last the girls can run and flap their wings and explore a little more of the world while staying safe from predators and our playful dogs. I know the new area looks a little bleak - this is the desert after all. However, once the pecan trees start leafing out and our old lawn grass starts to grow, things will look better.
I know that any grass growing within the pen will get eaten before it can grow much but luckily I discovered grazing frames for chickens: You plant grass to come up through screens, allowing the chickens access to the greenery while protecting the roots, which the hens would otherwise tear out. See photos and instructions on how to make grazing frames here: http://www.thegardencoop.com/blog/2012/02/07/grazing-frames-backyard-chickens/. We may not be the greatest carpenters, but we'll try to convert some wooden pallets into frames so that we can plant some grass, marigolds, and nasturtiums for the girls.
In the meantime, I've been looking around for thoughts on what sorts of things make chickens happy. I've collected lots of articles and information on my Pinterest board, called "Chickens!" You can find it here: http://pinterest.com/clairz77/chickens/. If you haven't done so already you might have to sign up for Pinterest to see it. Don't worry, you'll enjoy yourself.
Not shown in the picture above are some of the things I've just added today for the chickens' delight: Some semi-rotted leaves which probably contain lots of interesting bugs, nice green weeds I've pulled, an old log to climb on, and a somewhat dead potted plant for the girls to deconstruct.
They've rewarded me a thousand times over. I love to sit out there, little Dweezil the Pup in my lap, and just enjoy the chicken world. The girls hum, and cluck, and chuckle and sing; they announce both upcoming and just-laid eggs, and they call out congratulations to the latest egg layer. They run after flies and take dust baths in the sunshine. They wander from the yard to their waterer inside the coop, and from the sun to the shade. They look like happy chickens to me!