Lifeboat Farm

A chicken waterer for chicken feed
November 10, 2011, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Menagerie, Water

We’d been looking for a while for a good solution to keeping the chickens well supplied with fresh, clean water. Constant access to fresh water is a big factor in chicken health and egg laying. Delivering them water is one thing, but if you’ve ever kept chickens, you’ll know how messy they can be. Their natural scratching behaviour tends to foul up any water container with dirt, poo and anything else they can get their talons on.

We’ve used refillable chicken waterers in the past but they have a few limitations: you have to refill them every day or two, they need regular cleaning, and most of them are translucent so you get algae growing in them eventually.

So I wanted something that I could plumb in to the regular farm water system that feeds all our troughs to avoid refilling, but that would also stay clean and algae-free.

Enter the water box.

I’d seen this design for sale on the internet for upwards of $80 and to my mind it just looked like a plastic box with a trough valve and holes. Given that I had almost all the parts in the workshop, I just needed to buy a big plastic box from The Warehouse. Price; $15.

I drilled a hole and attached a spare trough valve so the water level would end up about 3/4 full and hooked it up to the water supply. When it had filled, I marked the water level, and just above that, I drilled the three large holes with the biggest hole saw I had – it just has to be big enough to fit a chicken’s head through. And that’s it.

I left the lid off for a day so the chickens got used to drinking out of it (both out of the top, and through the holes). Now the chickens use it all the time. After a month’s test, the water is still pristine and algae-free. The high walls keep out all the grit and the solid plastic keeps enough light out that algae can’t grow.

This easy project is proof that you don’t always have to spend a lot of dosh to solve farm problems.



Organic lawnmowers
October 12, 2010, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Garden, Menagerie

The grass around the big garden is getting a bit out of hand (you’d think it was Spring) so Bree and Cammi are getting a few hours of lawnmower duty each day. They don’t seem to be complaining and their “emissions” are good for the grass.


We have too many bantams
April 14, 2010, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Menagerie

Updated: We’ve now found homes for them all – thanks for all the emails and comments.


We got a few broody bantam hens to incubate some eggs for us (the shavers we have are great layers but not so good at mothering). Unfortunately the bantams started sneaking off to have clutches of their own so now we have a bit of a surplus.

If you’re anywhere near Masterton and would like some free bantams (hens, roosters or chicks) then drop us a line –

New pigs have arrived
January 21, 2010, 10:47 am
Filed under: Menagerie

We finally have our new batch of piglets. Having just arrived we’ve put them in the stables for a few days until they get used to us and learn where their food comes from. This will make them much easier to move around once they are out and about.


After a couple of escapes from the stables we think we have finally perfected the pig-proof stall and will release them into their new forest home soon. They’ll have about 2 acres of mature woodlot to fossick about in with fresh water and a house to shelter from the weather. The entire perimeter has a snout-height electric wire to keep them safely in the woodlot (and our adjacent gardens safe from them).


Cows love grass – who knew?
January 20, 2010, 10:38 am
Filed under: Menagerie, Pasture

New grass day for the cows is their favourite day I’m guessing. Our girls are still putting on good weight being just on pasture this time of year. We could probably get them fatter faster if we gave them grain or palm kernel but why would you when they are perfectly evolved to eat pasture, and nothing but.


New Year’s Ham
January 3, 2010, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Food, Menagerie

With so many family and friends visiting over the holidays we thought it smarter to cut our ham in half so it would last longer. This turned out to be a wise idea once we started eating it. This is the 2nd half of our 8.4kg ham from our own pigs. It tasted as good as it looks.


Knowing that we gave our pigs the best life possible and a dignified end made the ham taste even better. Here they were a few months ago.


Happy Moo year
January 1, 2010, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Menagerie


We’re looking forward to another exciting year on the farm, filled with discovery, fun and delicious food (shhh, don’t tell the cows). We’ve still got a way to go before our lifestyle is truly self sufficient, but the journey is certainly proving to be enjoyable.