The Construction of Fowlcatraz

This is not just any ole’ chook pen. This is THE chook pen. THE preimenent poulty powder room. The happenin’ hen house. The finest for our fowls. Yes, yes… Fowlcatraz constrution begins.

Perfect chook house = redundant cubby house!

So, I have been scouring ebay, Gumtree etc for a second hand cubby house. A few provisos 1. made from hardwood timbers to withstand the weather 2. max sizing of 2mx2m 3. No more than $150 total cost 4. Resonably good condition 5. Potential for Fowlcatraz conversion.

This was actually quite easy to achieve. The perfect Cubby House came directly after I lost a bid on another. And had driven to see 3 others previously, which were too big, or too small. Also quite funny to see people reactions when they realise their daughters/sons cubby is about to house chooks. Overkill Much? Was a comment I recevied either verbally, or certainly in raised eyebrows.

After a seriously difficult time bring said cubby house home, here tis waiting for a transformation

Cubby house delivered and now waiting to be de-cubbied

It weighed a tonne. So we kindly asked Bob to pop over and help move it into place. Took all of 5 minutes and saved our sanity and backs.

Bob getting Fowlcatraz into place

Bob getting Fowlcatraz into place

Cubby House being de-cubbied

Next, came construction of the pens. We’ve decided on two separate rotating pens or yards (in keeping with the whole incarceration theme). Yard 1 will be approx 8m2, filled with older, exhausted soil and topped with Lucerne. Yard 2 approx 9m2 will be planted out with Clucker Tucker – a mix of a hardy greens with a vigorous root system that will quickly regrow leaves that are cut or eaten.  Plants include barrel medic, bok choy, buckwheat, forage chicory, clover, cocksfoot, linseed, lucerne, millet, forage plantain, silverbeet, subclover and sunflower (no credit here on my part – this fantastic idea is from the (more fantastic) team at Green Harvest)

So, the girls will enjoy the first few months fussing and foraging in Yard 1 whilst Yard 2 gets established. Once officially opened, the girls will move into Yard 2, whilst Yard 1 is planted out. And so the cycle begins.

The idea is to cut down on additional feed bills for necessary nutrients and vitamins. But more importantly,  provide the girls with some amusement and a serious foraging space.

Yard 1 and 2 in theory

The cubby has been retro fitted to have both a window (for ventilation mainly) and a door on both sides. This will allow us to close off one yard whilst its rejuvenating but still providing another yard so the girls have ample space to cluck about.

Yard 2 is the slightly bigger than the two and as little more oddly shaped. It’s neigboured by a 20,000l tank and a boundry fence but has a LOVELY evergreen tree (unknown species at this stage) that will provide shade from our QLD summer sun.

Yard 2

Yard 2 in the making. A herb patch and a vigorous climber will be added in the foreground

It does need to be built up to protect the tree roots and a stubborn stump needs to be removed – a little more work for Yard 2 so it we’ll finish off the cosmetic renos whilst the girls are getting busy in Yard 1

Yard 1  is bordered by the same boundary fence as Yard 2 and a the smaller 5,000l tank against the Shed. It also faces our main entertainment area and has been designed with aesthetics in mind – hence the upcycled garden edging wall.

Yard 1 with the upcycled garden edging fence.

For shade, the girls will enjoy a mature Macadamia tree – good luck destroying that fruit ladies!

Year 1 via the gate entrance

The idea is to eventually screen out the pen from the view of the deck. Although there is nothing better than watching little chook-bums free ranging, we figure that wouldn’t be happening when guests are enjoying a vino or two on a Saturday night.

The view of Fowlcatraz from the deck

Eventually, the neighbours and the chook house itself will be screened out by vegetation and (fingers crossed) the view will be a fence installation amongst the greenery.

We are chuffed. It really serves as a great chook house and looks pretty damn good too.

Next up… the girls!!!

Fowlcatraz ready for the girls


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