Tag Archives: chickens

Meanwhile, in the Gravity Chicken Run…

The Gravity Chicken Run is now entering its second winter as one of the gravity-powered (and chicken powered) composting experiments at Milkwood Farm. We’ve made some modifications since last winter, and things are looking good.

As with all on-farm experiments, we’re learning as we go. But egg production is good and, as we continue to tweak things, all-round chicken happiness is high. Continue reading

A weekend of chooks, raw milk and urban agriculture

Last weekend I went on a rare road trip to see Michael Ableman speak down at Mulloon Creek. While I was there I squeezed in a quick peek at Mulloon’s free-range egg operation…

I was also lucky enough to stay on farm with our good friends (and comrades in permaculture farming aspirations) Cam and Jessie Wilson, who are bringing up their young family in this beautiful valley, as well as milking, planting, designing and doing… Continue reading

Egg Mobiles I Have Loved…

An Egg Mobile is a movable chicken house designed to house laying hens at night, who by day cluck around on open pasture. Joel Salatin made them famous at Polyface Farms, but who invented the concept I do not know.

Egg mobiles are different from chicken tractors in that they are designed as part of a free-range chicken system where the hens can venture well beyond their house to the limits of whatever fences them in (commonly electric netting in a farm setting). They are a darn fine idea. Continue reading

Attack of the Wolf Mountain Chickens

Warning! This post contains chook-talk. Not much of it, as I am not the resident chook fancier of Milkwood, but still a bit.

In short, we have started breeding Blue Langshans, a heritage dual-purpose (ie good eggs and good eating) chickens, hopefully in quantity. Wish us luck. Continue reading

High-rise chicken feeding stations

Within our gravity chicken run, we needed a way to feed the chickens up off the ground. Mainly so nothing would impede the gradual down-hill slump of mulch we’re hoping this overall design will provide. The answer? Recycled palettes and assorted fabulous junk. Continue reading

RawBale Chicken House Design

Within the Gravity Chicken Run, we needed a place for our chickens that was warm in winter and cool in summer. We also wanted it to be super easy to clean, cheap to build, and easy to keep our chickens healthy long term. So we came up with a design called the RawBale Chicken House.

Making a chicken house is a bit like being able to build your own fort all over again. Except now that you’re big, you have more skills to make something that will be not only exciting, but also useful and enduring. Continue reading

Joel Salatin returns to Australia

We were rather impressed with Joel Salatin when he came to Australia last year. So were one or two other people. Aside from being the most entertaining farmer that we’ve ever met, he’s really onto something. Multiple somethings, even.

To call the Salatin’s farming practices at Polyface Farms in Virginia USA ‘innovative’ is a bit of a massive understatement. Joel’s unique approach to productive small-scale farming, that focuses on great ideas, biomimicry, and what can only be called truly regenerative agriculture, are fast becoming legendary. Continue reading

Gravity Chicken Run Design

Gravity and chickens are two of our favorite natural forces at Milkwood. Chickens scratch, poo, give eggs and good company, plus a trillion other benefits. Gravity draws things down. Great it you want stuff to end up down the bottom. Which, in the case of our gravity fed chicken house, we do!

For the past 3 years, our chooks have lived in our geodesic chook dome as it chicken-tractored its way slowly across our hillside. The result has been an emerging forest garden, its soil pecked of grass and ready for mulching and planting with edible trees and ground covers each time we moved the dome.

For this effort we thank our various chickens. Now, it’s high time to build them a permanent chicken run. Design time! Continue reading

Araucanas and Rabbit Stew

Easter on Sunday. Check. Our Araucana chickens already lay blue eggs, so that’s those sorted. Now all we need is a rabbit or two, and we’re ready for an upside-down Easter.

Actually, at Milkwood it makes sense to celebrate both rabbits and eggs at this time of year: we’re cherishing the last of the eggs for the season, and also cherishing that at this time of year the bunnies around here are fat, and ready to become rabbit stew. Continue reading

How to choose a chook

mr strange
It takes all types to make a coop…

The usefulness of the chicken, especially on a small farm is difficult to understate. They bring incredible fertility wherever they pass if managed correctly – not to mention the potential in eggs, meat, companionship and more chickens.

Our first chooks at Milkwood were a motely crew purchased from the Windeyer trash and treasure sale – of inderterminate age and questionable parentage. Still, they did the trick and scratched their way through the tough grass of our hillside as we utilised them to clear and prepare the ground for our top food forest in their lovingly-made geodesic chook dome. Even got an egg or three two a week. Continue reading

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