New chickens and a wattle run!

What? Wattle what? Wattle is a sort of free fencing you can weave from saplings, twigs and vines on your property. You can build houses, shelters, and furniture out of wattle, too. I've always particularly admired this sort of wattle on the left, and have been planning since last fall to make a wattle arbor on the property somewhere -- since we're not moving after all! At least not for a couple of years. So I've decided to give in and make my home all artsy rather than keep it simple for prospective buyers. Who know when the economy will really shift, and a girl's just gotta be able to DO stuff, you know?

So, along that vein, I have reserved a new flock of chickens, due to arrive mid-may. This time, I want to move their coop behind the house and build a huge run so they can be fenced in rather than free-ranging all the time. I've picked a spot under a bunch of pine trees that will offer natural shade in summer, and less snow burial in winter. It will also drop lots of needles for them to play in and help keep the run fresh and clean. I was planning on making the run with 2x4s and poultry wire, but as I was looking at my pictures of wattle trellises and pondering the vast forest of saplings out back which I neglected to prune last summer,  I thought, hey, wattle RUN! Some people do this by making solids walls (one man even calls his wattle coop a "castle" as it is son impenetrable) and others use nails to secure wattle, while some use loose wattle with wire between for their sheep. I still plan to use poultry wire, because I want to be able to sit and watch my chickens, plus I don't want anything sneaking in if I miss a spot. So the whole run will be wired in, all 6 sides, sort of like a box car. But a very very pretty boxcar!

I'm also buying a bunch of morning glory and shell vines to cover it with pretty flowers (one hopes). I don't generally have much luck germinating morning glory, for reasons unknown to me. I have tried everything, every method I know of -- if anyone has any suggestions, for the wattle or the vines, please do give me some. It'll be a pretty shaded spot.This year I will try nicking the seeds and putting them in a damp paper towel, see how that works.

I'm sure you're all just dying to know what sort of chickens I am getting (9 chickens, 7 kinds!) but I will just tell you for now that they are all rare or heritage breeds, and they are all know to be calm and docile, perfect for run-living and being around small children. More about the birds soon, I promise.

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