While we were at Forestdale Farm on our field trip we built cordwood walls for the newly constructed chicken coop. This method is very inexpensive and only required Aspen logs that were cut into pieces 8 inches long, clay located on the ground right below our feet, mixed with pine needles and water.
We were shown by Rylan how to construct these walls by hand. He showed us to dig up some clay from right in front of the coop, sprinkle it with the dead pine needles that laid on the ground all around us, and then dump just enough water on it to give it the right consistency to be a cordwood wall!
Working with our hands building a structure for these birds (chickens) was a rewarding experience. It was amazing to see what could be accomplished in such a short period of time. We were all covered in mud by the end of the day, but that was part of what made it so much fun! Once the wall is complete, it is only a matter of time until the clay dries around the wood to become a hard, solid rock like substance. After that, the walls around the structure create a very effective weatherproof structure that insulates heat for the poultry that will be living there.
There are two different breeds of chickens that Rylan has on his farm. One breed, the Java chickens, are the second oldest breed of chickens that exist. These are great foraging chickens, which is perfect for Flagstaff’s environment. They all have access to water, shelter, and organic feed, while still foraging for more food.
At Forestdale Farm, Narragansett turkeys live with the chickens and help to produce eggs for the farm. These are heritage turkeys and yield very high egg production. They sleep up in the pine trees and also sit on their eggs in the Spring to reproduce the flock. These birds are very low maintenance and great for the mountain environment. We loved being able to tour Rylan’s farm and get to know a little bit more about him and how people can contribute to sustainable living in Flagstaff, Arizona.
By: Hailey Bryant and Parker Christopher