I have been considering how I will initiate this plan I have for producing chickens. I have been looking at producing a “chicken tractor” type pen, to allow me to keep my chicks safe from predatory birds (there are many eagles and crows down here that would love to have a chick for their meal), safe from Possums and local pets (such as dogs and cats), and ensure that the chicks are moved onto new grass at a regular rate. I have encountered a problem with this… the size of the pen I want to/will build will be around 3m long by 2m wide. Sounds fine to you? It did to me too, until I remembered that chickens require a certain amount of space to be happy. According to the books, chickens need around 1.2m2 in order to be comfortable and not feel crowded. My 6m2 pens would only enough space for 6 chickens (or fully grown chickens). Discovering this I felt a little crushed, I had such hopes for giving this a try. I couldn’t make a pen large enough to fit 20 chickens, as it would be 5m by 5m… way too big to move easily. I told Kitty my concerns and she was a big help in showing me that I was thinking too large. I didn’t need to start with 20 chickens… I could start smaller and build up to that. In addition, I could consider having 3-4 different pens of the 6m2 size, allowing me to have the chickens safe and secure.
Kitty is right, I don’t need to go in with 20… it would be smarted to start smaller, with 6 chickens and watch how this works. I don’t know how often we would need to move them, which is crucial to this working. I could start with the six, and document the amount of time that it takes them to eat the grass in their pen, as well as how long it takes for the grass to grow back and how often we need to move the pen. This will give me an easy first step before moving deeper into the pool of chicken wrangling.
I have also been busy, with planting more seeds and building up more garden beds. I mentioned that I bought/was going to buy some new seeds. I found a few of interest, although they are pretty expensive, they are locally produced. I planted these out the other day into some cardboard toilet paper rolls that I have been saving, which is something that I read about this technique from the Little Garden Company. Some of the seeds germinated within the 24 hours of being planted… something I don’t think I have seen before. This is a huge difference to the old seeds, some took days or weeks to germinate, before growing into a spindly looking seedling.
Speaking of the old seeds, I decided to get rid of those old seed packets. I sorted out the expired ones from the viable ones, and placed all the old ones in a container. I estimated that I had around 10,000 seeds in there… sounds like a huge amount, yet some of the seed packets had 1000 seeds within. I decided to spread these seeds on to various bare patches of dirt (most of which I had to create myself, as things are growing everywhere). I figured, if some of them work, great… I might get some food and harvest some seeds for next year. If none of them work, at least the bugs have something to eat.