Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Wood chips to the rescue

After a few days respite the rain has resumed here in the driest part of the country. Yesterday was particularly bleak because the rain was blown in by a biting cold wind. 

I still resolved to do some outside jobs, including some mending of fences (literally, not figuratively). This was a somewhat makeshift wire net fence around the bee hives which was pushed about when the sheep were last in this field. It had been temporarily reinforced by a about eight sheep hurdles. These were stolen a couple of weeks ago and as the sheep are due to return to this field very shortly the fence needed to be sorted out. 

One downside of the seemingly constant rain is that the chicken run around the hen houses and feeders (where I’m  traipsing back and forth several times a day) gets a bit wet and slippery. Luckily I managed to catch the chaps who do tree work and dump the wood chips in their paddock nearby. They had just arrived with a truck load and were happy to drop it at our place instead for free.

I recently mentioned that I had acquired a wood chipper for shrub and hedge prunings. However, the output from this is just a drop in the ocean (albeit a welcome drop) compared to the quantity that arrived yesterday.

Today I spread the wood chips around the chicken run which has made a big difference. In fact if you leave the wood chips in piles the hens do a remarkably good job scratching through it to leave nice even layer. 

Most of the wood chips were cherry wood which is an attractive honey colour when wet (cf. the rain) and sets off the chicken run rather nicely. When it comes to wood chips for chicken runs I’m only aware of yew wood being a potential problem because it can be toxic if ingested by livestock. Perhaps the same might apply to rhododendron wood chips too. Caution is often expressed in relation to pine but I’ve never encountered any problems using leylandii in my years of keeping hens. Turning leylandii into wood chips is probably for the best in anycase.

1 comment:

  1. A great resource for a muddy area. Planks covered in chicken mesh also make good duck board walking surfaces. I think it's good that you check out how harmful wood chippings before spreading it near livestock.