There is nothing more to do in the chicken coop. I went out bright and early and purchased some wood long enough to span the space to give the chickens somewhere to sit. There was already a horizontal post on the old existing wall at about the right height, so I created a rail on the other side by nailing a piece of 4by2 to the new wall. Then I set about creating “floating roosts.” I wanted to be able to lift them off if I needed to clean or spend time (for any reason) in the coop. So I cut short blocks of wood and nailed them on the rails either side of the roost posts so the roosts fit snuggly and can’t move. Unless you lift them up and I can’t see the chickens doing that! So now we have two long roosting poles for the chickens to sit on and stare at each other across the coop.
I boarded up their old sleeping quarters for the time being so they had no choice but to get used to the new one. I’ll have to remember to take it down in a week or so.
It was quite funny watching them find the roosts as at first only one noticed and stretched her head up to get a better look. Then she thought “hmm maybe I can get up there…” and did this funny little dance where she bent her knees and bobbed up and down several times in, before chickening out. A few minutes later she tried again and almost surprised herself by landing in such a lofty place. Some of the others soon followed and also did the same strange dance and then chickening out. It looked really funny to see all these chickens bobbing up and down.
Once they were up they realised that it was just a hop, step and a jump onto the ledge and off to freedom, putting up the wire netting immediately became a priority as I had chickens abandoning the coop left right and centre. It didn’t help in my haste to get the right tools and supplies I left the gate open, so the chickens that were too chicken to try out the roost just walked out.
The self-service café seems to be working really well because well feed chickens are really hard to round up. Before they could help themselves to food whenever they felt like it – it was easy to bribe them with tasty morsels and uneaten school lunches. Well not any more. I ended up bush crashing through the shrubbery to get them all back. Just when I thought I had them all I heard one off in the distance and stomped off to round it up and found two chickens hiding in a tree!
Hubby the Un-Gardener helped me attach the wire netting as it really was a two person job, and then I found a structural flaw in my design. The netting is on the outside of the coop as it gave it a more level surface to attach to, however the plywood is on the inside and so the frame I attached the plywood to made a lovely series of holes just the right size for a greedy rat and his entire family to wander in through! So I took the leftover plywood and began cutting strips to fill the gaps, but I just didn’t have anything left in me and couldn’t make the saw go through the wood. Once again Hubby the Un-Gardener came to my rescue and sliced it up in no time with his man strength and the holes were soon blocked.
Finally I created a watering thing out of an ice cream container that didn’t work as well in reality as it did in my head – but I pushed on and bodged it so it kinda works. Then I fixed the fence that the chickens treated as some kind of launch pad to the outer world and now they have a pretty amazing home that I for one am proud of!
Come again soon – I need to get back into doing green gardening!
Sarah the Gardener : o )