Friday, May 22, 2009
Back in 2003, my first attempt at chicken-rearing was a dismal failure. After raising the little chicks inside the house, I moved them out to one of the barns where I had fashioned a nice little coop for them with some 2x4s and chicken wire. The chickens looked content in their new home, until a weasel got in a few hours later. The death toll included all the chickens and the weasel, and I suddenly became a Norwegian bachelor farmer with no farm animals. Trust me, dead chickens are not much fun. Hoping to increase their life expectancy this time, I made the chickens a new and improved portable coop. They get a sheltered area up above for roosting and laying, and a screened-in space on the ground where they can pick for food all day long. It's not as good as free-ranging, but hopefully it will keep them alive beyond our previous record of 3 hours! Here are the photos from moving day. The side panels are removable so we can clean the roosting area. The nesting boxes on either end are accessible via hinged doors. I also made a little ramp that can be raised and lowered from the outside via a rope and pulley system...pretty slick, and I built the whole contraption using reclaimed barn boards from last weeks deconstruction project. Getting the lay of the land. Here's Lisa teaching them what a door is all about... But you know how kids are- they insisted on doing it "their way": Finally...they figured it out on their own.