Godney Aquaponics

Godney Aquaponics
In the village of Godney, with the beautiful back drop of the Glastonbury Tor, Melv and Sal are embarking on a new venture. Fed up with the poor quality of veg in the shops, they have the ambition to set up an aquaponics system to provide fresh vegetables and salad crops for the village, and with a little help from their hens a supply of fresh free range eggs too.

What is Aquaponics??

What is Aquaponics??
Aquaponics is a sustainable method of producing quality food with minimal external inputs. It is a system that combines conventional aquaculture (e.g. fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Water from the aquaculture system is fed to the hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down and are utilised by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then re-circulated back to the aquaculture system.

Friday 29 September 2017

The big day

Finally, with the fence complete, the coup finished and all kitted out we were ready for our new arrivals - 20 point of lay Lohmann chickens. The Lohmann Brown breed are an egg-laying breed of chicken which are a hybrid of New Hampshires and other brown egg laying breeds. They lay at about 18 weeks, old and lay about 1 egg per day and up to 300 brown eggs a year. Most Lohmann Browns have a caramel/brown shade of feathers, with white feathers in a pattern round their necks, and white feathers at the tips of their tail feathers. However most importantly for us they are a very inquisitive breed of chicken and extremely friendly. Our Lohmann supplier is based about 45 minutes drive in the town of Illminster, hens on order we set off on August bank holiday Monday to collect them - how exciting.

In basket and boxes we successfully arrived back with our 20 new birds, Melv carefully unwrapped them!!

Then there was the big release...

Their inquisitive nature meant they weren't shy at exploring and they were soon out and about, ready to see their new home.

The older birds we already had weren't too sure about the new recruits and they couldn't wait to establish the pecking order.

After a couple of days we couldn't resist letting them out, not sure whether they would bolt for freedom, but we needn't have worried, they stayed close to the barn in the early days, but then slowly started to find their feet.

Pecking order soon established, they now all live in harmony and are truly free range...


Thursday 28 September 2017

Keeping the girls safe

Our new hens are going to be as free range as possible and we are certainly not short of space - but we need to keep them as safe as possible. So we ear marked a part of the land adjacent to the barn which we would dedicate to the hens that could be predator proofed. Not an easy task, the job of erecting a 6 foot fence began.

The first task is the installation of the posts, both for the corners as straining posts and then the small intermediates. The corner posts needed to be concreted in - as we would be straining the wire off these - Matt came to give us a hand and a muck truck full of concrete was on its way...

Next it is the installation of the top hanging wire and the netting.

This is followed by the bottom and middle wire to keep the netting tight, then the most important 5 strands of electric - 4 at the top and 1 at the bottom - Fort Knox!! 

Good job all round - fingers crossed it does the trick

Saturday 23 September 2017

Getting ready for our feathered friends

Once the barn was cleared, our priority was to get the barn ready for our new hens, first the floor needed to be concreted then there was a new coup to build, large enough for at least 20 new comers.

Then there was the cladding on the outside of the barn that would be part of their enclosed/safe area outside, if for any reason we needed to pen them up.


Built for cleanliness with easy to wash down shelves and the minimum of nooks and crannies for mites to hide in, the coup is very plush and very fit for purpose.

Plastered and white washed on the outside, with netted windows, door and outside compound.

Inside, has stone dust, great for congealing chicken pooh on the floor, perch with trays covered in sawdust underneath, to catch the pooh and of course the nest boxes. These are made from old plastic ice cream signs - thanks Matt, on wooden frame.

Then finally the out door compound, just in case we need to pen the girls up for any reason. My word was a residence - I can see us moving out of Fishermans Cottage and moving in!!

Thursday 21 September 2017

Melv and Sal's new venture has started...

The purchase of Myrtle Barn and adjacent land has given Melv and Sal the opportunity to follow their passions for being innovative, growing fresh food, and of course keeping chickens. But there is lots to do to turn this vision into a reality and the starting point is a big clean up!

Having a foot print of over 500 square metres the barn is an excellent size, but this also means that there is lots to do, inside and outside, both to have a blitzing clean up, but also to deal with any structural stuff so that it is fit for purpose.

There was internal and external structural stuff, clearing old concrete feeders, repairing the roof, clearing the gutters and tidying up the outside just to list a few.

With a bit of help from a hired in mini digger, it didn't take long to clear a significant space inside, which we had eared marked for the new chicken coup.

The outside was more cosmetic and for aesthetic purposes really and we decided that the best solution for covering the severe corrugated iron exterior was wooden cladding and my didn't it look smart.

And this is just the start...

Home grown

Now normally with our horticultural hats on when we talk about home grown we are refering to vegetables. But for the first time since we hav...