I’ve been avoiding a coop update for a few weeks now because the construction proceeded really pathetically. It was hard to get Steve’s help unless it was a rain day, and who wants to build a chicken coop in the rain? Finally I told him that I considered this project might be his first “fail.” He put up two rows of chicken wire but they sagged and there were large gaps between the rows. Without posts on top, the chicken wire just didn’t hold it’s shape, and neither really did the posts.
Finally, with the help of my brother-in-law Tim (maybe wanting my chickens to get to their own home), we got it squared up. That did a huge amount to tighten the wire. I did my part by shoveling dirt over the base of the wire so it’s buried and will hopefully deter some varmints. That said, there are gaps everywhere and the chicken wire is not terribly secure, so let’s hope no critter is brazen enough to attack them in broad daylight and they’ll be safe inside at night. When I was shoveling I saw so many worms. I think they’re gonna be happy.
I also used string to sew the two lengths of chicken wire together. This was much easier after the place was squared up than when I tried before it was finished. We still plan to staple the chicken wire to the top supports and throw some bird netting over the top. I doubt, though, that hawks would go into an enclosure like this.
I didn’t make my Memorial Day deadline, but yesterday we moved the chickens to their new home. I caught two chickens!! So far I’ve been unable to get hold of them, but maybe they get slower as they get bigger. Or maybe life in the barn mellowed them out some. We brought four over last evening and I went back and got the fifth (who I just keep calling “Biggie” for some reason, making me contemplate naming them all after rappers). She was outside where I couldn’t get her yesterday.
This morning they were out in the pen briefly, but it started raining and now all five are hanging out inside. I had thought it might be too small a coop for five chickens, but with them all inside it looks actually kind of spacious. They have a wood bar and can lay eggs in the straw. I can access the coop for egg retrieval and cleaning through the front and get into the pen to add water and food through a door. I went out and bought them a deluxe 3-gallon water fountain and a cool galvanized feeder this morning. They also have a bowl of calcium chips that helps with eggshell strength.
Someone was telling me yesterday about eating at a restaurant where the chef fed his chickens red peppers until their yolks were red! I have to admit I kind of like that idea. I doubt I can spare enough red peppers for that little experiment, but we’ll see! Meanwhile, I have more wheat grass sprouting on the counter and left them their first supplemental forage– I hope they find it.