All Cooped Up – Chapter 2



The long weekend turned into a long five months as me, S and my dad gradually worked on the coop. Other garden priorities got in the way – creating a herb patch (another story), working on drainage (ditto), making a new fence… Perhaps the herb patch could have played second fiddle to the coop but as you may already have guessed, my old pal Procrastination (aka Do it Tomorrow, Not Today) had come to visit. Again. πŸ˜•

S lived 150 miles away and I did not want to pester my dad, a pensioner, to do too much so I would potter out in the garden, stand and gaze at the skeleton of the coop and, hand on chin, muse on what to do next. πŸ€”


I sawed (a new skill I learnt, albeit with a small lightweight saw) and screwed the four base planks along the bottom of the coop. Dad helped… Β or did I help him as he did most of the work? Although electric screwdrivers lost power and screws got stuck where we didn’t want them to, finally we got it done.

Painted the coop a lovely duck egg blue. At least the girls’ home will be nicely decorated if nothing else!

Me and Dad tried to lift the coop as we thought it would be nice to have it in the back garden so I could see the hens and they could see me. We tried… And we failed. Too heavy.

It was going to stay where it was.


The nest boxes were not fully secure, the wood partitions kept sliding out with just flimsy wooden blocks – which were already breaking apart – holding them in. So I screwed in white plastic blocks to keep them in place.

A week later, the next boxes were adjusted. They were too low. They had been too high originally. Now they were too low. I placed them higher up, checking it would still be possible to collect the eggs from the ‘egg door’ at the rear of the coop, a flap which S had made and was nailed on for now.


Picture: The original nest boxes. February 2017

It was no use. Even with the white blocks, the partitions were still unsteady. πŸ™ A better ‘handywoman’ than I would have solved the dilemma by adjusting screws and blocks but I was too impatient for that and researched books and online for nest box ideas. Experiments followed – holes in plastic tubs… Plastic buckets with no holes … Eureka! The egg collector would still be able to get the eggs from outside, simply by putting their hand in and moving the bucket so it was facing them.

Problem solved! I think? πŸ™‚

S came up for the weekend and started working on the pophole. This consisted of taking the door off the coop, measuring and sawing a 30cm x 30cm (roughly) hole, screwing two small wooden pieces at the side – which would keep the vertical sliding cover in place when closed – and the pophole T-shaped door itself.

It was now the start of May and there was still wire mesh to be attached onto the coop, a ramps and perches to be made, an exterior door to be found…

I’d like to say I channelled my inner Angela Rice (remember how she worked miracles in a short space of time? Or was that a different TV programme?) but I fear it was more a case of the Chuckle Brothers – from me to you. πŸ˜•

As long as my inner Frank Spencer doesn’t make an appearance, the project is confusing enough without any disasters!

(To be continued)



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