Due to the exploding population of sparrows who are determined to make good use of the food we supply our chickens, Kim and I decided that it was time to make the chook house sparrow proof. I swear that we now have 4 chickens and about 50 sparrows living in the back yard!
We had some spare reed screening in big rolls left over from when the back fence was replaced so decided to put it to good use. I cut it to size and we nailed it onto the east and west sides of the coop. It will also help to provide shade for the chooks during summer.
We were also sick of cleaning up chicken poo all over the patio area and tied of sweeping back the rocks around the garden at the end of the day. So we bit the bullet and gave them free run of the clothes line area. To make it easier for them to get out of their cage, I made a hole in the back and made a little door that serves a dual purpose as a ramp.
The plank that I used was vanished pine from an old shelf that I took down about a year ago and it was very slippery. When the chooks first ventured out, they slid down it like a slide. It was very funny to watch. Anyway, I glued some coarse sandpaper to the board and now they have no trouble at all. I used a couple of spare piano hinges I had in the shed to fix it to the structure, and it hooks up with a piece of rope and two cup hooks salvaged from the old fernery in the garage.
Then I made a makeshift gate out of a piece of trellis, a broom handle and some cable ties, and then blocked the rest of the gap off with some bamboo screen. You can see the happy little chooks hiding behind the gate.
Another piece of bamboo screen was used to block off the gap between the fence and the lattice screen to prevent them from escaping.
Once I had finished all the building work, I gave the lawn a rake with the leaf rake. There was so much rubble left over from the fence work that it filled an entire wheelbarrow.
Then I set up a few perches, including the one I made out of the dead tree from the front yard. It looks like quite a playground. I didn’t fence off the garden bed, mainly because I want them to enjoy their daily dust baths, and secondly because I want them to turn the bed over for me. Here they are having fun in their new permanent digs.
As you can see, there is not much grass due to a lack of rain so far this winter. We water it once a week with grey water from the washing machine rinse cycle, so it keeps it growing for the chooks to eat.
I hope this will keep them happy now they are a proper place to scratch around in. It was a great idea, because it means that I can now plant Kiwifruit and other vegetables in the area that I removed the Jasmine from about a month ago. Full steam ahead for the east side garden transformation!