January has seen a burst of activity at Groundswell. We wanted to hit the ground running and we sure have, holding two work parties in January alone. Our focus has been on building our new mobile chicken coop, which resembles a small house built on top of a trailer. Over a dozen folks came out between the two weekends to help our with the carpentry and some other tasks around the land, such as pruning our apple trees and demolishing a dangerously ramshackle shed. In between bursts of work we took time to hike around the land, play with the animals, and, of course, enjoy mimosas.
We will be holding two work parties in February as well, the weekend of Feb. 14-16 and Feb. 21-22. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in participating!
The brilliant part about a mobile chicken coop is that once the chickens have really worked over an area, you just take down the fence and roll the coop to a new part of the land. We use portable electric fencing to make this really easy and to help keep out predators. The night before the move, we will take down the fencing after ushering the chickens back into their coop.
We are designing our mobile chicken coop to have some large storage areas so we can easily load up all the chicken supplies, including the fencing. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, we will hook up the trailer to our beefy farm truck and drive it to a new location.
The chickens can be used in this way to help farm the land – you put them in a field with fresh manure or compost on it and in no time they will be tearing up the ground in search of food, tilling the soil while adding their own poop to the fertilizer mix. Plus, they will eat insects and insect larva, reducing the amount of pests that bother your crops later on.
We still have some work left to go on the mobile chicken coop, but it won’t be long before our chickens are rolling through Groundswell’s land, laying delicious eggs for the community to enjoy. In the meanwhile, enjoy the pictures below of all the gorgeous guys who came out to be butch with us for the work weekends. Many thanks to all who came and helped!