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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cooped Up To Here

My life has been consumed by a chicken coop.

lots of sections
I'm framing it in sections.  Evidently, I seem to know what I'm doing because my contractor was by yesterday with the contract for the roof, and he saw my work.  He even offered me a job as a framer, because he's looking for one. It's a good thing I think he was in jest anyway, because I doubt he'd have offered if he knew that I: 1) cut with a hand saw, not a circular saw and 2) have to drill pilot holes for the nails because otherwise I bend them.

Which is probably why it's taking so darn long.  But you know what? It's going to be sturdily built.

At one point Steve said to me, "there are people in this country who live in houses that aren't as well built as this chicken coop will be, you know."

To which I replied, "raccoons, dude."

North side of the run
Once I get all the sections up I can clad the coop in plywood, finish out the interior, and put some doors on it.  I also need to build the nest box, which will hang out in order to gain interior real estate. It's taking longer than I expected, and next week's rain isn't going to help matters.  I'm also running out of room in the garage.  The sections will have to go down by the side of the house with a tarp on them until I can get them up. I'm not even sure the sections will fit together they way they're supposed to, but I figure that's what the big hammer's for.

In the meantime, the garden is going to rack and ruin because I don't have time for it.  I manage to get one little chore done at a time. Steve, bless his heart, has taken over the raspberries, which appear to be succumbing to verticillium wilt.  Great sections of them have croaked, but then look like they're trying to survive, so he is trying to encourage the survivors in the name of natural selection.  Lots of stuff is bolting and going to seed, most notably the kale and other brassicas.  And I haven't had the time to get things into the ground that I've already started, like the squashes.

The pullets continue to get bigger and bigger and bigger, which is a good thing, I guess, but the rate at which they are growing is alarming. So is the rate at which they're eating.  I'm so looking forward to getting them out of my guest room.  They are like the noisy house guests who won't go home.  Mostly, I'm looking forward to having a quiet house back.  They still cheep like chicks pretty constantly, but now that they're bigger, they're louder.  This morning I finally heard one cluck quietly, a sound for which I've been waiting, and that's a huge improvement.

Today I'll build the last section, the south side of the run, and then the last thing I'll need to do before erection day is put together some sort of roof system.  I'm still thinking about how I'm going to do that.

But have I learned not to bring home the animals until the housing is up and ready?

Yes.  I have.

* Blogger appears to have the vapors again, so once it lets me add pictures I will.
**Pictures added


Miriam said...

It's going to be a great coop, one that will last a long time and protect your hens well - in other words, a good investment of your time!

How exciting to hear the first cluck. We heard the first (feeble) crow from one of our 8-9 week old roosters, which makes me really worried because we have a lot of roosters in the batches we hatched this year, and if they all start crowing early in their lives this could be a noisy place before they make their trip to the slaughter house!

Rae said...

"raccoons, dude"..... LOL!

Are your pullets having midnight battles yet? Ours did, and they were quite loud. :)

Cat said...

I would take it as a BIG complement if you are able to HAND saw and get it to come out accurately. And no, the nail part? Generally used for screws, but it's a pilot hole! You are right to want it strong if you have raccoons. Bobcats and coyotes sort of screw up the plans, too. So, keep up the good work! (But, yeah, maybe waiting on the birds 'till you've finished might be a good plan, too...)


Paula said...

I hope it lasts a long time, because I don't want to do this again anytime soon. The first cluck was exciting. They're doing it more often now, too. Actually, I think it's probably Vivian because she's bigger than the other two- taller, and has more tail. I sure hope she's not Vincent, because Steve said tonight that means dinner, and then we're down to two hens.

Two hens is not enough. Plus, that also means a fifty-percent attrition rate.

Crowing is probably not so bad, compared to fighting. Unless the neighbors can hear them and turn you guys in for cock fighting. Which would be ironic as hell.

Paula said...

They haven't had midnight battles per se, but they've certainly had midnight raves. And at two, and at four. But since I started turning off the heat lamp, all has been quiet on the western front.

I amy leave it on tonight, though, since it's going to be a little cooler. I'll check and see what they're doing before I make a decision. They're pretty well feathered out at this point.

Paula said...

Geez Cat- I hand saw because I can't power saw anymore. I haven't tried cutting a sheet of plywood yet (I mean like a half or three-quarter inch) with a hand saw yet, but since I'll probably try that tomorrow, we'll find out soon enough.

I'm finding out that pilot holes, while usually reserved for screws as you pointed out, werk gud fer nails. Reel gud.

I'm so paranoid about the coons that I'm thinking about nailing on rabbit wire that I already have on the bottom of the whole thing. We do have coyotes in the neighborhood, but I have a six-foot fence, so I'm not too worried about them. Unless Steve leaves the gate open again. But the raccoons are devilish critters.

Hey, if I saw a bobcat I'd probably be too excited to protect my poor chickens....