Working Weekend Round-Up

We spent this weekend hard at work building a modified Ussery Pasture Shelter.  As such, today’s post is going to be a mish-mash of what we’ve accomplished.  Later this week, I’ll walk you through the changes we’ve made to Ussery’s design, which I can’t recommend enough; however, if you want the design, I’m going to have to recommend his book to you, as I don’t want to infringe on his copyright.  I have included some photos below for your amusement.

Elliot, helping out.

We started off the weekend with a trip to Lowe’s, where we purchased both a storm and screen door (to be installed in a few days).  The one thing nobody mentioned when we started planning a backyard wedding was the amount of home improvements we would endure accomplish.  Later this week, we’ll be putting on a new roof!

We also lowered the grow light as soon as most of our seedlings had sprouted.

Spinach

Tomatoes

The flock started producing more eggs after the fall off of two weeks ago; we’re back up to about five a day, and I’m fairly certain that it has everything to do with hours of daylight and my new, earlier schedule. And as I didn’t note it last week when it happened, everyone is now back in the same coop.  Not because we have eggs and know who the rooster-daddy is, but because it was too cold to maintain one flock outside and keep them in water.  Operation flock-separation will likely start early next week, especially now that we have the new coop just about built!

And without further delay… our new coop is up and almost operational.

We spent Saturday picking up the roofing and framing out the coop. Here, you can see Jason attaching the wheels to the bottom.

Next, we designed and built in a flock box that Ussery does not include in his design, as this is a chicken tractor and not just a pasture shelter. If you look closely, you can see the drawbridge hatch that lets the chickens out during the day and pulls closed at night.

Finally, we attached the roofing.

Check back later this week or friend us on Facebook, so you can follow step-by-step as we make Ussery’s design pasture safe without an electric fence!

Abby, supervising construction and guarding the flock.

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One thought on “Working Weekend Round-Up

  1. Nice- I love Ussery’s book, too! I actually have the materials to make one of those pasture shelters sitting in my garage… where they have been for almost a month. A lot of other projects have taken precedence! But my plan is to use mine as a summer shelter, but not inside of electric netting, as the netting doesn’t appeal to me at all. I know Ussery LOVES it, but I’m not that careful so I can see myself wrecking the expensive stuff, and we don’t mow more than every two weeks, so they grass would mess it up. Plus (knock on wood) I don’t have a very high predator load, so I’ve been able to free range my chickens with no losses (knocking on wood again to be sure!). But I do plan to build a series of pens and do a rotational pasture thing, eventually rotating garden into two of the pens and planting the existing garden (already fenced) with pasture to give it a “rest” while it houses chickens. I’m not explaining it very well… It’s similar to an idea I saw in one of those “self sufficient on one acre” things in Mother Earth News, only they were doing it with a cow instead of a flock of chickens. Anyway, I love the book too, it is the best chicken book I own. So many of the chicken books I’ve perused are either too specific to conventional chicken raising (static run, commercial feed, etc) and contain basic info that can be easily found on the web nowadays. Ussery’s book is so much more insightful and inspiring. I especially love the chapters on feeding, and plan to start growing more of my chickens’ food!

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