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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:24 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Hello,

I started my chicken journey in a somewhat backward fashion. I got chickens & figuring out what to do with them as I go. :oops: I'm learning the hard way!!

I have 2 chickens, currently housed in a small pen (apparently large enough to house 2-3 chickens, but frankly looks too small). Because of the hot weather & my lack of preparation prior to getting the chickens, their pen is under our pergola beside the back door to catch the air con draft on the hot days. I'm doing up a currently barren yard for them which is largely full sun most of the day, so want to plant it up before shifting the out there.

I'm planting a couple of ornamental pear trees in raised beds, the plants are still small, so not much shade. I have visions of small to medium shrubs in various positions offering shade, protection & hiding spots with a scattering of edible plants & yummies for the chooks to scratch up. I don't really want them to eat the shrubs as it may be their only real shade for a while. I've read through a few posts & will go look for some Lilly pilly & New Zealand spinach. I need relatively hardy plants, OK with occasional drought (for when I forget) & a fair Amount of frost in winter. What suggestions do you have for me?

Currently in the barren yard there is a scattering of various weeds. Do I leave these for the chooks to sort out or weed kill them? It may be a few weeks before the yard is ready for the chooks, so can I safely use weed kill on these? Th ground is covered with crushed rock & the rain has hardened it like concrete so I can't pull them out.

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:31 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Location: Albany, Western Australia
You can use week killer (especially as it will be a few weeks before the chooks are there) or leave them for the chooks. Whatever does it for you!

NellyG

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:29 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Location: near Albury.
Chooks will scratch the weeds out in no time, my place is covered in patterson curse and marshmallow weed and I put new pens over it all the time, lasts about 2 weeks max and won't hurt your chooks, I wouldn't bother spraying.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:19 am 
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Champion Bird
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Location: Tasmania
As far as plants go, fast growing drought tolerant natives will do the job.
Here's a few that will be suitable-

Acacia (Wattle), Acacia floribunda is particularly good. very fast growing!
Callistemon (Bottle Brush) medium shrub to small tree, red flowers, tough as nails.
Hakea species, H. laurina grows like a weed.- pretty pin cushion flowers.
Westringia species, W. fruticosa- bushy shrub to 2 or 3 metres- really easy to grow- just add water.

Protect any small plants or they will get eaten or scratched out of the ground.
Use a cylinder of wire mesh about 600 mm high around every plant. You can remove this once the plant is tall enough not to be eaten.
Place some rocks or pavers over the root zone to protect from scratching.

Your chickens will be so happy in the garden you are creating for them. :-)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:23 am 
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Gallant Game
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Location: NE Vic
I have a mature lilli pilli amongst other bushes and it is my chickens' favourite spot in hot weather.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:14 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Canberra ACT
Mulberry trees are a loved by chickens for shade in summer and their food is adored by them and then they are deciduous and give sun in winter.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:15 am 
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Sultry Swan
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Location: mid victoria
i second the Mulberry tree. we have planted 4 here over the last few years; our kids love the fruit off it & the chooks take care of the fallen ones.
Hakea and Bottle Brush have both grown here too chook assisted.
have you got a Lime tree? chooks like it in lemonade(was my drink put down to do something). :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:22 am 
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Great Game
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Location: Hurstville, NSW
artemis wrote:
As far as plants go, fast growing drought tolerant natives will do the job.
Here's a few that will be suitable-

Acacia (Wattle), Acacia floribunda is particularly good. very fast growing!
Callistemon (Bottle Brush) medium shrub to small tree, red flowers, tough as nails.
Hakea species, H. laurina grows like a weed.- pretty pin cushion flowers.
Westringia species, W. fruticosa- bushy shrub to 2 or 3 metres- really easy to grow- just add water.

Protect any small plants or they will get eaten or scratched out of the ground.
Use a cylinder of wire mesh about 600 mm high around every plant. You can remove this once the plant is tall enough not to be eaten.
Place some rocks or pavers over the root zone to protect from scratching.

Your chickens will be so happy in the garden you are creating for them. :-)


I second the idea of protecting the plants especially the root zone. I didn't have enough rocks so I used plastic trellis mesh and chicken wire held down with weed mat stakes. I even use this on areas of my lawn where the chicks have been digging.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:36 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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So...I've been out shopping...

I have 4 lillipillies (2 different varieties), 2 Arcacia bushes, a Raspberry tree (was supposed to be a mulberry, my bad!) and a strawberry bush for the kids.

They are all fairly small, so will need a while to establish before the chooks are let loose on them! I'll plant them out in the evening today.

I also have 3 small raised boxes in which I will plant a variety of vegetables & herbs for the chooks to pick at as they please.

Now just working on fashioning up a shaded dust bathing area, then I think I'm done for now. Thanks for the help & suggestions. Might even post up a pic when all complete.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:48 pm 
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Sultry Swan
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Location: mid victoria
sounds like your chooks are going to love it SoGreen! lucky girls.

why wait on the pictures? we like to see a project in action. well we being me anyways; i definately do. :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:00 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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The boxes that you're planting out with herbs will be well-loved by the chooks.... making them completely enclosed with chicken wire on a hoop frame or similar will mean that they can nibble away when the plants are large enough to have grown to the chicken wire, without eating the lot or digging them out of the boxes.

Photos of your hard work would be great !


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:46 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Here's some of the work in progress.


Attachments:
File comment: Same garden bed, other half...need one more plant at the back...maybe lemon or lime tree?
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 2.63 MiB | Viewed 2268 times ]
File comment: Same garden, just a bit of a close up view
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 2.53 MiB | Viewed 2268 times ]
File comment: The Chooky garden
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 2.23 MiB | Viewed 2268 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:49 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Some more pics...


Attachments:
File comment: Overview of the whole chooky yard.
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 1.91 MiB | Viewed 2268 times ]
File comment: No herbs yet...feel free to suggest. Once planted I will take Winglet's advice & cover with a wire mesh so they can eat the leaves that extend out but the plant may live on.
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 2.05 MiB | Viewed 2268 times ]
File comment: I'm going to put an edging between these two beds & fill with soft soil. I will put up shade cloth for now, but eventually the trees will shade this area & will make a nice dust bath spot.
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 1.65 MiB | Viewed 2268 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:13 am 
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Sultry Swan
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Location: mid victoria
my herb ideas:
i like basil with my eggs, sometimes thyme too.
they would be great added straight to the girls diet.
mint for fresh breath; it comes in a few different types and is hardy.
parsley self seeds and grows at my place so it is sturdy.

and tree: i'd go for lime cause they are so expensive at the shops and lime juice in a bottle isn't as good as real stuff.

have your girls had a visit to the yard to be, yet?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:50 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Hi Grabby, they haven't been out there yet, the gates are not up & I need to get more more rocks to protect the plant roots. They've had a few wanders through the pergola undercover area, and very short ventures onto the grass with Susie on lead...

Great herb ideas, I think parsley & Basil are definites, I use them a bit in my cooking, don't know if the girls will share but if they do, those two herbs will be useful. Thyme I could use too...is there anything I shouldn't use. I was thinking of chives or marjoram.

The go some lettuce off cuts today, they seem to like that.

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