I once thought the coop would have been completed by March, let alone May. But by late spring, the coop was still looking like a half-finished art project for the Tate Modern (or an eyesore, take your pick). Time to get a move on…
The ramp was next. Something I thought would be easy turned out to be trickier than expected (always the case in D. I. Y!) 😕
I found a long plank of wood that was just right. That was the easy part.
The idea is for hens to walk up and down the ramp so they can take themselves to bed at night and go out at daybreak.
My colleague who had the allotment suggested small branches as rungs which the hens could grip onto with their feet but these twigs kept breaking off so I found little rectangular slices of wood. Well, I tried glueing them (not advised, they fall off), screwing and nailing them onto the plank. Nothing seemed to work. The wood panels were too small, the screws and nails too big. Then S spotted a pack of tiny nails, tacks, for sale at a car boot sale. He sawed small wood segments of equal size and nailed these mini tacks in. It took longer than we expected but, most importantly, it worked. 🙂
The old shed in my garden, demolished when I first arrived at Cosy Cottage, came in handy as Dad realised the old door could be the outside door. He sawed off the rotten section and cut it to size. It looked like it would work.
We started attaching the weld mesh along the coop, making sure there was an apron which could be tucked underneath the stones. This would make it difficult for foxes to enter. First we attached the wire mesh with cable ties as a temporary measure, before later nailing in staples.
A much needed rest from coop building as holidays (Isle of Man) and gardening took priority.
I had been struggling trying to figure out how to fix a perch inside the coop. Too high and the birds will hit their heads on the nest boxes (or was the perch supposed to be higher than the nest boxes? I was getting confused with everything I had ever read about chickens). Too low and the hens may as well be sitting on the ground and from what I read, they liked to perch high. And another thing, how were they to reach the nest boxes and would the perch be in the way?
Eventually we opted for a simple lean to perch, which, it was hoped, could also act as a ladder.
My deadline was end of August. It was the date for both the hens’ arrival and a welcoming party (hen party, get it?!).
By fortunate coincidence, my colleague asked me to look after his hens at the allotment while he was on holiday. This gave me a free practical course in chicken keeping.
The interior door was originally opened upwards, over my head, but this would be a hassle, especially when cleaning. So a month ago, it was taken off and now was screwed back on. It could now be opened sideways, much easier! 😊
The outside door was attached. Dad bought padlock, door handles and bolts for the interior and outside doors. Now, it really was looking like a coop! Goodbye eyesore, hello hen house! 🙂
A last minute flooding emergency on the weekend of the collection of the hens had to be resolved. Rain was getting into the bedding area, this was fixed by a plastic sheet. The wooden back of the roosting area had become warped over the last six months which meant the original egg collection flap idea had to be scrapped. The plastic sheet covered what would have been the egg collection flap. The collector (me!) would just have to enter the coop itself to collect eggs, which is what tends to happen anyway for cleaning, feeding and supplying water.
All the hens’ cleaning equipment was placed in one bucket, which was then stored in the shed – washing up gloves, brush and shovel, scraper and a washing up brush. Well organised for once!
The side garden was once a boring mass of stones and pebbles. But by placing a path and some plant containers on the way to the coop, it was starting to look almost like a, well, real garden. Now it was time to fetch the girls… 🐔🐔🐔🌹🌸🌷