The chicken coop and pen are nearly done. The first couple of pictures above are self-explanatory; the third shows a number of fishing lines that we strung up over top the pen area to psychologically thwart raptors from eating chicken for dinner.
I began installing interior and perimeter fencing yesterday. The perimeter will be 2 courses of 4′ stucco wire for 8′ total height. It’s cheaper than official 7.5′ high tensile deer barrier and a lot easier to work with. Unlike my experience with polyethylene, deer won’t push through underneath. To keep the chickens from entering the row crop area, I redeployed some of the 7.5′ poly fencing that I previously bought. I’m also using it to break the chicken area into 2 or 3 large pens, to enable rotational grazing. Chickens will go underneath this fencing, too, unless a foot or so of it is bent 90 degrees at the bottom along the ground and weight placed upon it. This apparently will work for deer as well especially after grass has grown through the holes. Stucco wire and plastic end up being the same price per foot but the plastic fence will be a lot shorter since it starts out being 6″ narrower and it loses a foot at the bottom, leaving only 6.5′ of height which I feel is too tempting for a deer.
My head threatens to explode when I think about all the possible permutations of fence configurations that might be nice to have next summer. But they all entail visualizing where human, chicken and vehicle movement will be and how many and how wide gates have to be. Right now we have a grand total of one 5′ gate. I plan to install another gate that width right next to it to allow the passage of a truck. Of course, that will mean more dual gates like that if the truck is to pass to other sections of the farm such as the portion way down below where the greenhouses will be going.
For now, I’ll concentrate on only the portions that need to be done to contain the chickens and to exclude the deer from the veggies. After our winter vacation, I’ll begin building our first greenhouse. Then I’ll complete the required perimeter fencing before reconsidering other interior chicken pen configurations. In this calculus, we’ll have to determine where our wash area will be. We might be able to fit it into the garage with some careful space management or, for the price, it might be wise to erect another of those garages since the first one hasn’t blown away even though we’ve have some substantial winds.
But, for tomorrow, I might have a fairly large order of salad greens to harvest since, apparently, we’re the only ones on the island who have any.