Recycling of an Old Field: From Bambi House to Chickens!
This field was Bambi house, Bambi was a rescued deer that we saved and took care of for 2 years until he was released this autumn in a safe national park.
I miss him every day of my life and he will always be in my heart but I know he is free now to run in kilometres of wood and has lots of girlfriends!
How we built the chicken coop!
First of all we started to clean the field that after two years was full of grass. We cut the field with a machine that is a hybrid between a string trimmer and a mower: the model is called “Attila AXB5616F” is more easy to use then a normal string trimmer and can cut easily also 50 cm height grass. After cutting we raked all the grass and put in a pile at the center of the field and we burnt it. We needed the whole day to do it, but at the end the field was another thing!
Our keyword is always recycling and reusing what we have, indeed the decided to use Bambi’s House made in stone as the house were chickens will go to sleep and brood eggs. We have some problems to adapt the fence to the house but we have to use what we have!
Here there are foxes so unfortunately we had to lock them all inside. After many days of drawings and meetings we decided the best option was to create a big fence on the left of the house and to create a bridge all lock between the house and the fence doing a hole into the house. In this was we can enter to take eggs and clean the house from the door without entering in the fence.
Chickens love to have a second higher level were to stay, you can do it with almost everything we decided to create it with an old pallet that fit perfectly. We built the little bridge to let chickens go to the second floor with an old wood cord were we nailed down some shorter pieces of wood. Do not buy it, it is free and very simple to do it and you may in this way recycle old small pieces of wood you have instead of through them away!
For the door of the chickens coop we found an old door that we found abandoned in the old dogana farm (probably also my grandmother had chicken-coops!). We sanded the door and the hinges of the door and we paint them. You can sand them doing it by hand with a sandpaper or if you have a drill you add on it a metal brush (here an example: Metal Brush) in this way it will be faster and a better work. Finally, we decide to do the coop with two colours white and brown, for the door we use a paint specific for wood (in the picture below you see the door how we found it at the beginning).
I advice to buy a drill is very useful if you recycle old materials and is easy to work with it. Being a women I advice this drill light and easy to manage: Black and Decker BDCHD 18k-QW with battery super useful!
HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHICKENS HEALTY
It is important to keep the house clean, to do so you can put inside straw or sawing. If you do not produce none of them you can buy them at your local agriculture consortium. I prefer to put straw because it keep it clean for more time and is cheaper but this is up to you! Here in Tuoro a 9kg pallet of sawing costs around €6 while a bale of straw costs around €3. I put the straw also inside the basket were they do eggs however this straw I changed only one per month because they do not defecate inside them.
Chicken have a natural instinct to keep themselves clean, you can help them putting cold ash into a recycled container (big enough for at least two chickens) that you may leave inside the fence, they will love to roll over the ash and in this was they took off the parasites. Ash is good also for the soil of your vegetable garden read the article here.
Some blogs say to change their water tank only one time per week, I change the water every two days and one per week I wash the tank with soap to avoid that any fungus or algae may form inside. I do the same of washing the food tank with soap as well. It is important also one per month to rake the external fence, I do it every two weeks as well as change the cold ash into the container (an antique metal basket I found in our attic.
Chickens will not do eggs in an empty basket, hence it is important to put inside it a fake egg like a rounded rock or a boiled egg in each basket.
When you buy chickens they normally need one month or also two before doing eggs because they are still not adult and also they need to settle in. If you would like to accelerate the process you may buy a specific type of animal feed. However I advice to let nature takes its course!
If you have a vegetable garden plant some sunflowers and corn that you will use to feed the chickens, their eggs will be absolutely more tasty and you will spend less in terms of animal feed. You can put directly into the fence the sunflower (you can hang it on the roof of the fence) they will peck directly the flower and the corn I advice to press it so to have almost a powder.
We decide to have chickens that produce eggs only, if you would like to have also chicks be careful to create for them and their mom a separate house and fence!