The inmates of Gul’egg’ A

Whilst the search for more breeding sows and boars continues I got to work on the chicken housing. Following my chosen path of recycle and reuse I found a design for a chicken house in the ‘Build it with pallets’ book and got to work. Unusually for me I have decided not to bore you with the details and images of the chicken house build but just skip straight to the good bits – the pictures.

A chicken home fit for a king.

A chicken home fit for a king.

Here are some more images for you to marvel at the new chicken house.

As you can see the chicken house is marked with a big A on the roof, this allows me to keep track of the number of chickens in each house (this is just the first of many) and how many eggs we get each day. In true soviet fashion I have named this house Gul’egg’ A and plan to have a whole camp of Gul’egg’s in the paddock just in time to sell eggs, along with bacon, at the farmer market in March. I estimate that each house could handle between 8 and 10 chickens but in the spirit of the farm philosophy I have decided to only house 6 chickens per Gul’egg’.

Having completed the house I manhandled it onto the back of the Landy and moved it into River Paddock 1 (which is about 1.5acres) , added some straw, a perch and set up the nesting boxes with some cosy sawdust. The next day Claire and I headed out on the search for chickens and having received a tip off we headed for the Big Egg Company on Roslyn Road in Levin, armed with Woody’s travelling crate that I doubt he will ever use again. At $15 each we very quickly became the proud owners of 6 ex “free farmed” chickens and set off back home to get them laying.

Arriving at their new home Claire and I lifted the chickens out of the crate and into the house, added their sparkling new water container and feeder and closed the lid for the night. I am told that you should lock the chickens in on their first night so they get used to what is now home, we did this and went to bed. The next morning Claire was up early and excited to get to the chickens and see if they had laid. We headed down to Gul’egg’ alley and slowly raised the lid…no eggs. Not an issue we were just as excited to open the door and let the hens have their first taste of REAL FREE RANGE.

Opening the door to the chicken house provided the chickens with their first opportunity to run free, escape their shackles and make a break for it. However the chicken were institutionalised and simply stared at the open door with a great deal of suspicion. Claire and I retreated a safe distance and watched….a minute later the first plucky sole decided to take a look outside, closely followed by another, they were happy at last.

A few hours went past and the chickens came and went at their leisure, I decided to have another look in the hen house and look what I found:

They are not golden, but they might as well be.

They are not golden, but they might as well be.

So Woody’s Farm has its first produce for sale, true free range eggs soon to be for sale. Or, why not just come and meet the chickens.

Come and meet the chickens.

Come and meet the chickens.

Take a pre farm tour

A few people have asked to see more photos of the farm and I also thought it would be a good idea to show some images of what it looks like now before I get my hands on it. They are not great photos as I only took them as an aide memoir but i think it gives a feel of the place.

Of course it looks idilic at the moment but I am afraid it will have to get worse before its gets better. Apart form the 1 acre around the house the rest of the land has to pay its way. Once the livestock and planing begins I suspect the farm will start to look less appealing but at the same time more like a working farm and, if we want to be in this for the longterm, then it needs to bring us a return on the investment.

Those fields are my offices and the livestock my staff. The stream my water cooler and the forest my filing cabinet. The planning has started and my next post will outline my mad musings on what I need to do to turn this land into the farm ‘Woody’s @ North Manakau.’

Be a part of it…

As I mentioned in my last post I have been humbled by the responses and comments to my posts and blogs about the move. But I have also been impressed with the amount of ideas that have been suggested for the farm. From vineyard to nut orchard and even a very innovative water powered pig on a spit, they are all great ideas.

Now this is an idea under serious consideration.

Now this is an idea under serious consideration.

I love the idea that Woody’s @ North Manakau is a collaborative journey between us and our friends, family and basically anyone (hopefully one day our customers are also included). So I thought I would make the request for ideas official. If you have an idea or have always wanted to try something but don’t have enough land at home then why not make a suggestion.

We want a farm that is diverse, informative, enjoyable and local. Apart from the free range pigs I am planning to smoke and cure meat, breed goats and chickens and sell eggs, have tours and educational visits, arrange cookery lessons (don’t worry I will not be the cook) and have farm lunches by the stream. Hopefully one day we might also have a ‘glamping’ site in the woods at the end of the block for you all to come and stay. But I am sure these are just some of the things we will end up doing.

So what are you waiting for, whatever you are thinking right now, however wacky and zany, just drop me a line and lets see if the idea sticks to the ideas board in my head. As I said before; from little things, big things grow.

Now I have to go and start packing, its only two weeks to the big move….