Again, this is really another post for me, a little round-up of our Eglus so sorry if it’s boring.Our first Eglu Go was a simple basic one with a 2-meter run and it was delivered complete with a bloke who put it together and 2 ‘Ginger Ranger’ chickens (brown hybrids, basically). I remember the delivery fella as nice but wildly patronising, he was having none of my ‘I was brought up on a farm’ banter, he clearly thought I fit perfectly into the middle-class Mum dabbling into keeping chickens category. The Eglu was a very generous Birthday gift.We got bitten quickly by the chicken bug and a year later I got a second Eglu Go (again partly as a gift) and our 4 ‘little’ girls (Pure Breed Bantam hens) – this photo was taken before the run extension I ordered had arrived.By now Mr Fox had taken Doris, and Mabel got new companions with the original Eglu being converted to a Go UP – no wheels, I notice. I remember doing each little bit in stages, when I could afford it. Eglus are eye wateringly expensive.Then there were chicks and a purple Eglu (at this point, both the original green Eglus were converted to Go UPs). This was actually bought for the guinea pigs but somehow ended up with chickens in it. Madness. I clearly had money to burn (I definitely didn’t!!!). It doesn’t feel so bad if you do it in stages. Look how shiny and clean they are. I used to buy shoes….now it’s Eglus! How things have changed.We then sucked it up and bought a low walk-in-run (again, Eglu)so we could sit in with the chicks. The boys were constantly trying to crawl into the Go UP runs to say ‘hello’ and it got painful watching them. It was a good move and meant we ensured the new chickens were all quite tame.Avian flu here and the run entirely covered for some weeks living inside. I let my chickens free-range normally, so when they have to be kept in the run I am totally soft and feel it’s important to give them as much space as possible. As I had the panels from the previous photos I just extended as much as I could giving them a comedy long run (the other chickens were in the walk-in). I was just reading River Cottage Handbook No11 ‘Chickens & Eggs’ as I found it on my shelf (didn’t know I had it) and it talks about 0.5 sq meters of run per chicken which I struggle with – I know the minimum is usually considered 1 sq meter but I prefer to give more, if possible.Most of the chickens are in the ‘big’ run by now, which has again been converted to full-height. This is what I love the most about Eglu, you can add and change bits as you go along. They often also have spares such as extra roosting bars as well as fancy bits like treat feeders and chicken swings. All at a price, that can’t be ignored.In winter it looks like a shantytown. I always keep the tops covered but come colder weather the sides get plastic too. It may not look very nice (it starts off good, but gets dusty very quickly) but with smaller chickens with feathered feet and silkies it’s really important they are kept wind-free and dry.
The run behind is the next evolution, a totally bodged job where I bought sale end panels belonging to the original Eglu Cube (MK 1) and then used my existing Go UP panels to make the run part.Here is the big run is in its Summer position. The final thing was saying sod it to the multiple Eglu GOs and buying a Cube (last Winter). Here the run didn’t fare so well after one of the gales, having not been pinned down as it should be.
Why do I like Eglus? They are expensive but they are very versatile and they hold their value; I have just sold both Eglu GOs on Ebay and it has covered the cost of the Cube (one is still in auction, as I type). I like the fact that you can add bits a stage at time which for us and our ever-changing chickens has been great. I really like that you can search for your inner Heath Robinson and cobble different bits together to make it all work for you. They are really easy to clean and it keeps the problem of pests at a minimum. We have never had red mite (touch wood) but I can imagine it’s much easier to get rid off on the smooth plastic panels that easily come apart than by trying to get into the nooks and crannies of a traditional wooden coop. Incidentally, I take the panels off my Eglus regularly and power hose the lot down then I flea spray in between the panels before putting it all back together, I think this is a good deterrent for any little nasties.On that subject, the photo above is a garden Red Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae), not to be mistaken with a chicken mite. I write this as soooooo many well-respected websites show photos and videos of these little garden critters when talking about chicken red mite and they are not the same thing at all. Red chicken mite are teeny tiny and would not be pottering about on their own in daylight miles away from your chicken coop. Red chicken mite are shiny and a very dark red almost brown/black looking and hide during the day so you’re more likely to know you have them when your chickens start to look ill, rather than seeing an actual mite. This website has some great photos. Red velvet mite are bigger and bright red and…velvety…and quite cute really, for a bug. I write all of this because I freaked out when I spotted these in the garden and for some reason, they do love sunbathing all over my chicken coops and runs!
I can’t lie, much as I love Eglu coops, for the run, if money were no option, I’d have something like this(I’ve tried really hard to find the owner of this photos on Pinterest but can’t. Sorry)
Or even this lovely run by Framebow.
I’d love something wooden with a shingle roof and beautiful planting around it.A couple of weeks ago a fox dug under the run and took all of my little chickens. The run wasn’t pinned down and he found a bit that lifted slightly, giving him the idea of digging under. I’d seen is was lifting and had meant to pin it down so it’s entirely my own fault. I also wasn’t closing the coop door, even though I knew foxes were about (as I’ve never had a fox get into the run before). I was gutted as the very next day we were due to move the run back to it’s ‘Winter’ spot in the garden where I had a space set-up which is framed and fully wired underneath.
I created this after lots of research into the best bedding for permanent runs. The idea is the rubber clippings can be washed and disinfected twice a year and I liked that I was helping use up old car tires. It was a mistake. The little hens hated it and ‘washing’ it is easier said than done as quite a lot of chicken muck builds up amongst the chips. The hens also managed to kick quite a lot out of the run, despite the edging, so I’ve now spent ages raking rubber off the lawn that obviously won’t naturally biodegrade.Which brings us back to where my chickens live today. I currently have 3 new bantam Pekins (but I have more chickens coming in May – exciting!). My plan is to dig out all of the rubber and replace it with bark chips which will be on top of the dirt, which will be fully wired underneath so no animals can dig into the floor of the coop. I will then regularly rake the bark chippings out and replace them. I’d also like to plant around the run to make it more of a feature and maybe add a brick path along the front (if I can dig down enough, but I think tree roots will be a problem).
My big girls (2 hybrids) and Sargent Bilko live in a separate run, the one cobbled together from random run bits to make it wider. I can still wheel it about the garden on my own, it’s clumsy but it works!
Right, back to baking bread and sewing. It’s very busy around here considering we are all stuck at home!