Preparing for the chickens

We had the blessing of the local Council to keep chickens on our allotment. Since we returned from hols we’ve been busy first killing the weeds, and then starting to build our new chicken run.

Here’s a snapshot of progress:

Believe it or not, that’s three day’s hard labour! Day 1, we cleared the area. Most of it was an onion bed, but the eastern edge was full of blackberries that had been grown over rusty angle irons, and the paths were covered in several layers of carpet which had now integrated with the soil and had to be prised free.

Day 2 we dug in railway sleepers to form the base of the run. I’d bought 6 sleepers when we first acquired the allotment, having read that they made good raised beds. That never came to anything, but they’ve now come in handy. Only two had to be cut down to suit the 9’x12′ run. Railway sleepers are very heavy, especially when you’re lifting them several times to level the trench. We were extremely relieved when we’d finished that part of the job.

And today, day 3, we’ve laid slabs for the coop to stand on. It’s part of the fox-proofing, too. We’ll eventually extend a line of slabs around the run, but for the moment we’ll rely on a wire mesh skirt.

Phew! But the rewards of the allotment continue. 2011 is a record breaking year for us. We’re now picking plums. The Victoria plum tree is so laden that we’ve had to prop it up:

And even the decorative crabapple tree in the front garden has delivered a bumper crop:

Now processed into crabapple sauce.

Tomorrow we’re planning to take the coop to the allotment and cresote it (against the dreaded red mite) and start assembly. More of the saga soon.

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