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Last Saturday I added 4 new chickens to the flock: 2 brahmas and 2 silkies. I had initially thought of having only brahmas as they are a dual purpose breed and beautiful birds, actually really it's because they are large, quiet, docile creatures who aren't flighty. But well, silkies are just fun. And they're bantams so really it's 2 birds for the space of 1. Poor reasoning I know, but there you have it. I don't have good pictures of them yet: they are always in motion. They are in a small pen inside the run by way of an introduction. Really they are still too small to be loose, but big enough to be outside.

I'm happy with the coop and run. It's sits on a fairly steep slope - dropping about 25 centimeters each meter, so I've stepped it somewhat inside and roughly it's on 3 levels. I would prefer to use the deep litter method, but because of the slope I can't. However I'm building up the lowest level using deep litter materials / principles and it's gradually evening out with the middle level.

The roof is covered, and as it follows the same inclination as the slope, rain run off is good: I have to reconsider what plants to have along this lower side as the rain is pretty impressive this time of year. It's been a very wet year and the vetiver I planted is having a hard time establishing. I like the idea of the vetiver as the root system will help deter predators digging in, plus the vegetation is attractive and it should provide - once established - an attractive micro-climate for bugs etc.,. Vetiver can stand to have damp feet, but it's really taking a while to get going.

The coop has a tin roof with a gutter which feeds into my water tank / azolla tank. That is going really well! The tank is full of azolla / duckweed which the girls love. It is also home to many tadpoles and water snails and a couple of guppies. The guppies are pregnant which means more guppies in the next couple of weeks. Guppies are for mosquito larvea control, and also to provide extra protein for the chooks.

It's been so horribly muddy that the area between the path and the coop/run was becoming a mud field, yesterday Evinor worked tirelessly to clear the area and make steps. So much better! And now I can landscape it. I've been wanting to add some herbs and flowering plants to the area and now have the space and the light to do so. We have several fruit trees growing in the immediate area: araza, sapote columbiano, cashew, jaboticaba, tangerine and cacao, which pretty much means shade, but there are a couple of open spots. Looking forward to adding the new plants!

#chickens #azolla #duckweed #poultrysystem #HomeFarm #vetiver

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