Hi Deb, I always had the intention of making my own 'Top Bar' because I didn't think I would be able to buy one and this looked like my only option. I haven't yet found anything good enough to buy so my plans are still to make one (although finding the time to do this has been limiting me somewhat).
Phil Chandler has free downloadable top bar construction plans at his Bio Bees site.
Chickens are great fun if you have the right conditions. We are lucky enough to live in a cul-de-sac, so once a day I let the girls (5 of them) wander out of their enclosure and onto the front of our property (veges are at the back) to have a fossick amongst the natives. Sometimes they wander onto the grass verge by the road or even wander down the street, which fortunately my neighbours don't seem to mind. They always came back around 5pm to get ready for the night, and because they have such a strong herding instinct, tend to run as a pack. Before I figured out how best to keep them they would wander into the garden and basically decimate it - so it's important to control their movements. Their eggs are amazing, and we have so many that I give alot to neighbours, which is lovely for the street. They poo alot, but their manure is really rich, so I put it to good use. Apart from that they're just really amusing. I think they're worth it!
Hi Deb. The main thing I would have to offer in terms of advice Deb is to get your soil in good nick. Feed the soil and everything flows from that. Start a compost heap, get it cranking through the summer months, feeding it with chopped up seaweed and chicken poo. I've got chickens so if you want I can put aside some of their manure for you to add to the heap.
The other thing to do is enjoy your garden. It's amazing how calming and serene the whole process can be. I love getting up early to water the veges and spend a few quiet moments outdoors each morning before the chaos of the day invades...