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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bricolage - The French Word For Something From Nothing

The French have a great word for small construction made from materials at hand: bricolage.  I've been wanting a chicken tractor for a long time for the girls.  Steve said a couple of weeks ago that Big Red, the most reticent of the them, rushed the door of the enclosure when he went in to give them their scratch trying to get at the succulent grass and weeds.  So it was time to get the chicken tractor made.  The problem was, I didn't want to spend any money building it.

So I didn't.

The trickiest part was the joints. Steve pulled down a couple of painted 2X2's from the overhead in the garage for me, and coupled with another used 2X2 I had on the floor, I had plenty of lumber.  But I didn't have any hardware for holding them together.  So I made some.  My dad used to make his own hardware when he couldn't find what he wanted, so I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

After drilling pilot holes in the 2X2's so I wouldn't split them when I nailed them, and then nailing in the biggest nails I own, I fashioned cleats from wire and nailed the joints together with fence staples.

Then for the ribs I drilled short pilot holes for more of those giant nails at the corners and every nineteen inches, and then looped funny pipe over them.

Then I covered the whole top in two thicknesses of bird netting, and then covered what I could in a plastic compost bin that wasn't cutting it for me.
Et voila! One dee-luxe chicken tractor, to which Buffy and Big Red took right away.

Once we get some solid sunshine (which will be in mid-July. Seriously.), I'll have the girls out there supplementing their own diets with whatever they can find.  This should keep the bugs and weeds down, reduce my feed costs, and make my eggs bright yellow.

Oh- and make for some happy hens.


Rachelle said...

Nice work!

Maria said...

Nice one Paula! I have no DIY or bricolage skills, so I admire yours :-)

Ruth Dixon said...

Simply gorgeous!

Mr. Homegrown said...

Nice chicken tractor. And one of my favorite words. Marcel Duchamp used to call himself a "bricoleur."

Tanmay Roy said...

Nice work Paula! Love the photos.

Jennifer Montero said...

The Do It Yourself stores in France are called Monsieur Bricolage (say it in your Worst frenchy type accent). I thought it sounded like the sexiest place to buy wood treatment and plumbing supplies EVER!