Tuesday, 7 October 2014

...a mini chicken salad bar

My chickens adore greens. Over the summer that is not an issue but over the winter it gets more problematic + they stay in their run more when the weather is bad and need some entertainment. For my chickens the only sort of entertainment really worth considering is food based. Other people's chickens seem to sit on swings or enjoy toys. Mine ignore these thing repeatedly making keeping them occupied and not letting them get fat from too many corn rationing toys a bit of a challenge.

I wanted to make the chickens an area in their run for ages that has mesh over it and grows plants so they have ready access to greens if they are in their run.  Problem is despite their run being quite large there isn't really room for one with the compost heap, the dust bath, the logs, the food and water oh and the chickens of course in there too!  Also it is nearly winter so nothing would germinate.

Bring on the mini chicken salad bar - a small hinged lidded cage topped box that you can put a couple of plants in. The chickens can go at them and nibble away without totally destroying them, allowing them to grow back for more nibbling. Pots in this case are planted with some clumps of grass from between some paving slabs and an old perpetual spinach plant that has gone a bit leathery (good tip for summer greens - old plants such as lettuce, spinach, mustards etc that are not producing human edible leaves will carry on keeping chickens happy for ages, put them in a pot, put the pot in the run, leaves get stripped off, take pot out after 10 mins, leaves grow back after 3 weeks, repeat). 

A couple of notes on the making. It looks shonky - it is. Amazingly we had some pallet wood (very clean used once pallet wood, I would never use dirty stuff) that was exactally the right size for the pots. Sadly the ends were a bit off square and due to my current hand situation drills & sanding ok, sawing and detailed work not ok. Doesn't explain why the lid does not fit though!! Nice thing about making things for hens is they really dont care about that kind if thing. Green = happy.

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