We started creating another free ranging pasture for the chickens this week. This new piece for our black raspberry patch. This will give the girls another large place to scratch and peck for bugs. In certain years we have a lot of Japanese Beatles and the chickens can help to keep them under control. And I am willing to share some low growing fruit in the process.
Tamping the sand down to fill the hole.
Cane berries like these carry many upright branches (as well as berries and thorns) and is a wonderful shelter plant for poultry.
Early in the season canes before the leaves begin to swell.
Our patch has always been prolific and I typically pick and freeze bag after bag of these plump deep black berries and many years we have so many that I am giving them away to friends as well.
Our black raspberries are the thorny kind which will help keep the girls safe as they free range under them. I read that the hawks and other predators do not like to risk going into thorny plants.
I also see this pasture as a place for the big girls to go to when I am acclimatize the new chicks to the out-of-doors. I figure that once the chicks have grown enough they will enjoy coming out of the brooder for “day trips” to the garden for a few hours of sunshine, fresh air and exposure to the out-of-doors.
Overview of the beginning of the fencing project. Day 01.
One this patch is completely fenced in we will essentially have three “pastures”; A) the open pasture directly outside of their coop, B) the seasonal fenced in vegetable garden area where they can feed under supervision and soon C) to be fenced in the raspberry patch.
I paced off the fence using my size 9 1/2 size feet and the pasture is approximately 85 feet long by 24 ft. wide. This should provide the chickens with a lot of bugs, dirt as well as entertainment this summer.
Gene’s is using this as a plumb line.
This pasture should be a very fruitful one because we have always blown small amounts of oak leaves into it in the fall to keep the weeds down and to oh so gradually improve the soil found there. I am guessing that those layers of leaves should in turn be layered with bugs, worms and beetles. And, scratching under leaves and of course finding and eating bugs, seems to be my chickens favorite activity right now.
Oak leaf mulch is the base for our Black raspberry bed.
Last fall we bought the pressure-treated posts rated for ground contact embedded directly into the ground and posts for the gates, a number of green metal “T” stakes when Menard’s had an 11% off sale. We also bought two large rolls of chicken wire at the same time.
With Gene’s 10% employee discount and this second sale this means we get 21% off of retail. This week we hope to measure up the wood that we need for the small open run cover son to be adjoining the coop so that we can buy those materials before Gene retires from Menard’s on April 28. Every little bit helps!!
And right now it is still a month or two before the ground has warmed up enough so that the REAL gardening season can begin so it’s a great time to get a fencing project built. And off we go!
Even though it’s early yet in a Zone 5b garden, things are starting to gear up to a hustling and a bustling homestead!
Small House Homesteader, Donna