The Notorious D. I. Y project

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(Picture: Proposed location of coop)

🔨When I was a teenager, I couldn’t think of anything more tedious than venturing into shops such as B&Q, Homebase or Wickes and traipsing through the aisles. When I grow up, I would think, I will avoid such dull stores, selling such humdrum products as screws and planks of wood. Who in their right mind would spend their spare time in a D. I. Y store?

Roll on 20 years and there I am in Homebase, browsing screws and planks of wood with S, feeling excited about this new project we are about to embark on. One I feel will be an educational but fun (!) learning experience. It is, of course, to build the coop.  This will test our patience and stamina, mathematical and spatial intelligence, common sense, and (although I did not know it at the time) our ability to work on a project together without arguing.

Everything in the store fascinates me in the same way when I bought weld mesh and woodscrews from Screw Fix a week earlier. Some of the tools and materials will still be a mystery for some while but already I am learning. Who would have thought drills and screwdrivers would be so captivating?

Or the debate of whether to buy wire mesh or weld mesh would be so engrossing? (Answer – think of the foxes. Weld mesh is stronger and more of a deterrence).

When S told me, at the end of 2016, that he would help me with assembling the hen house, I was delighted. It was time for the dreaming to end and the doing to begin.

Sorting out drainage was a major element of January (A massive task in itself but that’s another chapter). Once that had been sorted, we focused on the coop design.

I couldn’t find a free and easy to use blueprint so I used a colleague’s coop – he supplied pictures and information of the ongoing construction –  as a model. I had less space though so my measurements would have to be different.

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Here is a confession to make. I love words. Give me poems, stories, novels, newspaper articles, sentences, paragraphs, adjectives, nouns… My job relies on language, I’m a member of a book club, English was my favourite subject at school.

Words are beautiful. I love them.

Just don’t ask me about numbers.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture above, figuring out how much nest box space and roosting room hens need requires numbers. Deciding the width, length and depth of a coop (and attached run) relies on maths.

Just as I thought I had left D. I. Y stores behind only to revisit them in my adulthood, so it was with maths.

My poor word-dominated brain was already confused.

And we haven’t even started making the coop yet.

(To be continued…)

Facts of the Day

1. Correct ventilation in the indoor section is needed to prevent build-up of bacteria, ammonia and condensation.

2. A pop-hole is a low door so hens can go in and out of the coop.

3. It is suggested perches should be broad, at least 5cm (2in) across.

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