Category Archives: Urban Farm

Urban Farming Mamma

Raise The Roof! Chicken Coop Arrival and Assembly Shenanigans

Finally, I have been able to get through all the madness of Christmas and the New Year and write a post about the arrival and construction of the chicken coop and the arrival of the much anticipated chickens.

The coop arrived on the Tuesday before Christmas – just in the nick of time – I had arranged to pick up the chickens the following day! Not much time to attend to any problems we may have encountered with the build!

The coop was flat packed in 2 boxes and I needed a hand to assemble the pieces. So, with speed and haste my  trusty new assistant Ms A (another Ms A – this Ms A hails from the U.S of A.. . seems like everyone wants to live in Australia!) arrived. As Ms A only had 2hrs to spare we were pushed for time should anything go wrong. We discovered that the chicken house didn't have an inbuilt floor so had to make an emergency dash to the hardware store to purchase a sheet of wire mesh to build the coop on top of. I bought a packet of cable ties to tie the coop to the mesh so it would be vermin and dog proof.

The instructions were a single piece of A4 paper with 4 diagrams – the coop in various stages of construction with some arrows with letters and numbers indicating which screws went in which pre-drilled holes. Shit.

At first Ms A and I just looked at each other in disbelief! We decided to pull all of the pieces out of the boxes and place them around the site, leaning them against fences and potted plants in roughly the orientations they would be fixed in. Then we spotted the small knobs of dowell sticking out of many of the pieces and the corresponding holes on other pieces – success! This made the assembly much easier, the coop fitted together easier than expected and we put it together in about 1.5hrs, including the trip to the hardware store. I was really impressed how easy it came together in the end – and it really looks as good as the one in the picture from ebay!

Wow – Completion!


And the biggest bonus of the build… Mr D i mean Farmer D, got to make a farmhouse and a shed out of the boxes at the end of the build! Yay for cardboard boxes!

Farmer D's farmhouse in back and shed in the foreground.


Farmhouse in the foreground


I brought the girls home the following afternoon, so the lovely ladies have a beautiful new home. I couldn't resist getting more than 2 chickens so… I've ended up with 4… 2 Plymouth Rocks as I wanted – Verlie and Leila, and 2 Bantam Rhode Island Reds – Mable and Lily. All good family names. They are getting on marvelously so far. They are only 12 weeks old so no eggs yet. Stay tuned, I won't be able to contain my eggcitement (pun intended) the moment the first egg appears!

The girls enjoying their new home!


Quick Chicken Update

There is much excitement in the house! I Just secured a chicken coop from ebay. Check it out. I hope it’s a good as it looks after I put it together!

Total Luxury At A Low Cost! Thankyou Petitude!

On Friday my Kiwi (New Zealander) pal and I knocked up triffic li’l chook fence to protect my small vegie patch from the attack of the killer chickens. It seemed almost pointless at the time  as my vegie patch has not been kind to me so far this spring (I’m going to blame it on the late spring here in Oz). Bless Ms A – she works just as hard as my Polish friend! Must be an immigrant thing, you know, gotta feel like they’re worth the paperwork! 😉

That's a Damn Fine Chook Fence!

Not bad for a couple of star pickets, some chicken wire and some cable ties! I LOVE cable ties. Whoever invented them is a genius! All done in about 1hr!

Ms A, Mr D and I also did a little make-over at the front of the house. I had a planter box that has been empty since I bought it about 3 years ago! Miss D and I filled it with dodgy soil from under the gum tree while we were excavating the chicken coop site and while I was at the hardware store getting the materials for the fence, I found a bunch of cheap little pot plants to create colour. I snapped the little babies up and headed home for the makeover. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough money left to get some mulch but I’ll sort that next week.

Firstly we needed to add some organic matter so I put a couple of buckets of compost in. The soils was really water repellent so I added litres of liquid soil wetter and the 3 of us churned it through. Mr D had his own self-invented method for mixing…

Can Ya Dig It Baby?

It turned into such a slurry. I put a lot of organic matter and earth worms into it so I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll improve sufficiently to keep these experimental specimens alive.

Perdy Flowers

The strappy plants in the pots beside the planter were given to me by a neighbour. I love the pink edges!



Backyard Chicken Coop Build Part 2

On Sunday, I was grateful for an inaccurate weather prediction! A crazy morning meant resuming our amateur landscaping project began later than planned… All the while expecting a turbulent summer storm to turn our buckets of soil into sticky mud pies.  One of our small team of 3 would have actually enjoyed that!

I Can See You But You Can't See Me!

My trusty Polish immigrant, my not so trusty child labourer and myself took to the excavation site with gusto and a generous dash of silliness. Mr D was “helping” the excavation with his digger while Miss D and I got stuck into the shovel and garden fork action.

These Polish Girls Really Know How To Work!

We filled bucket after bucket of decomposed leaf litter and relocated the “soil” to various places around the house and garden that needed an earthy top up.

Check Out Miss D's Guns!

Like any good excavation, archeological evidence of civilizations past gradually emerged as we dug deeper. We found several old bricks, tea bag gauze (what high quality material were they making teabags out of back in the day?), tomato sauce single serve plastic containers, masonite, glass and 3 spoons – one of which has some markings on it which look possibly religious, something to research perhaps…

Backyard Treasures

The summer rains passed us by – I would have liked a little cascading rainfall after our project was completed. It would have freshened everything and settled the fine dust particles that seem endemic in coastal city soil. As a good friend of mine always says – “mustn’t grumble”!

The Finished Backyard Chicken Coop Site!
Now All We Need Is A Chicken Coop And Some Chickens!

25 Days Until Christmas…

Megs X

Backyard Chicken Coop Build – Part 1

Christmas is hurtling towards us like a freight train with no brakes, spare time is diminishing faster than the champagne at Christmas lunch with the in-laws and the weather on the East Coast is more unreliable than a Catholic Priest at choir practice.  This weekend I realised it was time to get my ass outside and get the backyard chicken coop building mission well and truly under way.


So, armed with a shovel, a couple of garden trowels, a John Deer Dump-truck  (courtesy of Mr D), a Polish immigrant who'll work for food and a blanket (that might be a little bit of a fib to add intrigue and controversy… she's an incredibly bright chemical engineer in full employment with our governments blessing) and a dash of child labour (believe me – it's totally over-rated 😉 – yes, more cheap controversy), the clearing of the chicken coop site began in earnest.


The area behind our giant gum tree was used by previous tenants as a compost heap so every now and then a pumpkin vine or a tomato plant will emerge from the middle of the wasteland and attempt to reproduce. This thankfully makes the soil fertile enough to move to a strip of land at the side of the house that needs some fill after the house next-door was finished being built. Rotten gum tree leaves and bark might make it a bit challenging to grow some things but I'll give it a red hot go.

The house is about 80 years old and back in the day when garbage collection didn't exist, it appears this spot was also used as a bit of a dumping ground for unwanted household items, broken crockery etc. We have already found numerous pippi shells, buried bricks, a spoon, broken glass and bottles, broken roof tiles etc and we haven't finished our excavation yet!

Weather permitting and if my Polish friend is still talking to me – excavation and possible construction is the mission for this weekend. 🙂




P.S Mr D didn't actually slave over a hot 'n' dirty dump-truck all day – he ended up playing in the sand-pit. As I mentioned above – child labour- over rated! 😉

Megs X

Feeling Clucky…

It’s seven weeks ’til Christmas. Shit!

I’ve investigated the 1960’s oven and it’s way too difficult to incorporate into the hen house. As cool as it would be, I just don’t have the time and tools to make it happen. So, it’s plan B for the chicken house – eBay! I love eBay!

I’ve had a good look around on the site. There are lots of different sizes and shapes available. I’ve settled on one design which will fit into the space that I have designated for the hen house and in the orientation that works (the nesting box and entry door need to be facing a certain direction to allow access).  Now all I need to do is bid. Thankfully this particular hen house is available from an eBay store so there are houses for auction regularly.

Next step – email the chicken breeder again to make sure he has some lovely Plymouth Rock hens available for Christmas. I have chosen Plymouth Rock Hens for something a bit different as well as being a good “all-rounder”. They are docile and friendly which is good for a toddler/pre-schooler, good layers and if you’re into that sort of thing they are pretty good eating too.

Look Over There Ladies It's Foghorn Leghorn!

Aren’t the pretty? I can’t wait to have these beautiful girls sharing our lives!

The Chicken’s In The Oven!

Connections just happen sometimes don’t they? You know when you’ve been thinking about something or someone for a little while and then suddenly the thing or person you were thinking about turns up? That happens to me a lot. It kind of happened to me again two days ago. I’ve been thinking about getting chickens for months now but I need a hen house. Not just any old hen house. I need a kinda kooky, original element to make the hen house fun and interesting. Then on Sunday afternoon, my 2 1/2 year old son and I were invited to a BBQ at another Mum’s house.

The afternoon was going swimmingly when, in passing conversation there is mention of a circa 1960 wall oven removed from the kitchen a few days previous. Being a lover and collector of vintage “stuff” my ears pricked up and my heart beat a little faster than it should have at the mention of broken white goods… I inquired to the whereabouts of said vintage oven – oh boy, it was in the driveway under a cover – YES! It was in immaculate condition and was enormous. It had all of it’s original knobs and dials and no chipped enamel but it’s EXTREMELY HEAVY!… What could I use an old oven for?? Where could I put it?? What could I put in it??… CHICKENS! This could be the perfect accessory for the hen house! Will take build knowledgeable handy person ’round to investigate in the next couple of days. My idea is to perhaps use the front panel only so you get the aesthetic… we’ll see in the next few days!

I’m Dreaming Of A Fowl Christmas

It was Saturday night last night. I had the house to myself. My son was at his father’s, I’d finished the orders for work and my time was my own. Yippee! Should I go out and catch up with friends? Should I go and see some live music? Should I go to a movie? NO WAY!  Much better idea! Get into jammies, get into bed and read my new book  – ‘Backyard Poultry  – Naturally’ by Alanna Moore… well naturally!

I have a grand plan. My grand plan involves my small inner city backyard and as much home grown food,  enjoyment and laughter that I can possibly jam into it! So far, I’ve built a raised garden bed in the sunniest part of the yard. We have a huge gum tree with a swing from one of the branches and a sandpit for dump-truck and excavator adventures. My next project – a big one – is gonna be fowl. I’ve hatched a plan for a hen house (bad pun intended) in the south west corner of our yard under the gum tree. Four lovely hens are planned to move into their “luxury” accommodation just in time for Christmas!