Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Archive for September, 2007

Noodling over nest boxes

Posted by Nika On September - 30 - 2007

The chicklings have arrived and they are growing like crazy. We have them set up in a large enclosure in an upstairs bedroom (that is naturally hot these days) with a heat lamp. Things are getting interesting because they are NOT ready to go outside but the little guys are getting a bit feisty and are deciding to fly on occasion, not a good thing inside one’s house.

Garden Project: chicklings upstairs at home

The little chicks are growing proper feathers now.

Garden Project: older chicklings - feathers

Ed has done a whole lot on the chicken house and its time for me to put in the nest boxes.

Garden Project: chicken house with double walls

Garden Project: making the door

I am working on a set of 5 boxes to start, with room to make more, that will have roll out bottoms that feed to little ramps in the back that then feed to a hole that is accessible from the outside of the house. This way I do not have to open the house to get inside to get eggs and let out a ton of heat in the middle of winter (when its -20 F around here).

I think I am going to use some of the roofing plastic material for the egg ramps in the back. It wont come together for me until I am actually putting the thing together because I am not certain how much of an angle is best to get the eggs to roll but not too fast.

This is rather academic in some ways because the chickies are MONTHS from egg laying. I just want to get the boxes built before we put the little things in the house.

We still have to do the run in the back. Once that is done, they should be big enough to be put out with a heat lamp and perhaps some seedling mats to help them transition.

Rembrandt of a swine

Posted by Nika On September - 27 - 2007

Rembrandt hogs

I just wanted to let you all know that I am indeed very much here but that life has been whirlwind as of late (including our first brought-home-from-preschool sickness).

I just wanted to share a couple of images I took this last week while on a project which I will post about more later.

Just wanted to do a shout out to Ingrid and say “You are the best for asking!”

peeky pig

Avian Abode

Posted by Nika On September - 10 - 2007

chicken house construction

(3/4 view of in-progress chicken house. Front door is rough cut, will be full height)

Tomatoes are coming at us fast and furious, watermelons and squash have met fates which I will write about after this post, sometime soon.

Our attention is turning to the chickens today as I have some photos of the house in progress to share.

What you see above is the house in most of its glory :-/. The front door will be full height and not all topsy turvey like that. Notice the roof, its made of clear plastic roofing material. I didn’t want to build a cave like house so I requested that.

Here is what the ceiling looks like from inside.

The join between the roof and the walls looks like this.

And this.

Let me just say this – do not ask me WHY things were constructed as they were, its just the way my husband felt they needed to be.

This is a shot of the roof from the outside.

All those openings you saw at the top will be sealed with wire mesh. They will be open in the summer to allow cross breezes and then stopped up with insulation in the winter, as needed.

I requested a little manure sweep-out door at the base of one of the walls so that all we need to do to get rid of manure is to open the flap and push the manure and litter out into a waiting wheelbarrow.

Seen here from the inside.

Seen here from the outside.

Wire mesh lies beneath the flooring to inhibit rodents and also the ferocious Fischer cat weasels that we have indigenous to the surrounding forest.

Here you can see some of the foundation to the chicken house.

There is a huge amount of stones in the foundation into which radiant flooring tubing has been buried. It will serve as a heat sink for the radiant heating system, allowing for very low energy input but good returns on temperature control. Those orange tubes are the radiant floor tubing.

We will be painting the interior to waterproof it (and keep chickens away from the pressure treated wood). We will be building a deck in front of it which will also be covered. We will sit on this deck to enjoy the garden and also, around the side, watch the chickens in their back enclosure, if we feel the need.

I will be building roll-away nest boxes that will feed to a central collection point where I will then have a hole made through the wall so that all I have to do is walk up, open a little door in the wall, and pick out the eggs for the day.

I will shoot that when its done.

All gaps and such will be sealed with the wire mesh. We are determined to not lose our chickens to the fox and weasel which have been so awful in previous years.

We are thinking about setting up a motion detector system inside for nighttime to scare away any predators that may have gotten too close to or into the house. I am thinking of rigging up a speaker system that will emit a lion’s roar should we have a break in.


It will be tempting to also put up some sort of cam to be able to watch the girls during the day and capture predators in the act of breaking in and then losing their minds when the roar lets loose. (These are all fun ideas which come WAY after getting the darn thing done in the first place!)

Yeah, we are scarred from predator attacks, can you tell?

About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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