Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken yard makeover

I am so tired. We have been working for two days to get ready for the chickens that arrive at the end of the month. Yesterday we focused on the enclosed yard around the chicken coop - after 18 months of no chickens, it was a clogged mess of fallen branches, debris from last year's weeds and way too many volunteer big-leaf maples, so the first order of business was to clear it out. At the same time we replaced the rotted boards all around the top of the fence and removed the old gate, which was falling down and in a really awkward location. Then while Kim went to get lumber for the new gate, I cleared out the path to the coop door, which was inches deep in evergreen needles and rotting fallen leaves. We had no idea there was such a nice path underneath all that gunge!

Today Kim started with the supports for the new gate, which we decided to relocate to the end of the path to the coop. We used some extra pieces of broken granite to provide a base for the supports, so the wood wouldn't come in contact with the soil. Then Kim built the supports around the existing round fence poles.

About the time it started to rain we got to move into the workshop to build the gate itself. Kim had a great plan, and we were able to use up some of the wood and fencing material we had leftover from other projects, and by the time we were both ready to drop, it was done - almost. We ran out of carriage bolts, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow to finish it up and hang it, but we took time to see if it would fit. It does! Frankie, especially, is very impressed.


Toni aka irishlas said...

Frankie's not the only one who's impressed! What a lovely henhouse!
Once you get your peeps and fall in "chicken love", the hard work will be a mere memory.
Can't wait to see all the girls in their new home!

Paula said...

Very nice! I see that Kim has braced it properly, as well.

Since you guys are out in the sticks, you might want to think about a heavy cane bolt in addition to whatever latch system you use to lock up- I understand that raccoon are especially wiley when getting into hen houses, and that they'll sometimes kill every hen and eat only the heads, among other acts of atrocity. If you get one heavy enough, a 'coon shouldn't be able to 1) figure it out, 2) lift it to open. The other advantage is that it will stabilize the bottom of the gate when shut if you have the latch waaaaay up at the top where coons can't reach it. If you decide to do it, you'll also need to find a piece of pipe (if the cane bolt is half inch, buy a six inch galvanized 3/4" nipple from the hardware store) to sink in the ground to hold the business end of the bolt when the gate is closed. Take a look here to see what I mean, but look around- I'm guessing you guys have a great hardware store nearby that will have one.

It's funny, but since recommending this to you, I'm definitely going to plan one for my hen yard gate!

Miriam said...

That's a great suggestion, Paula - you're full of them! We'll definitely check into this.

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