You recall back in August last year we borrowed - which became ownership - of two chickens ~ Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (the rooster). We sorely missed our ducks which went walkabout so RMan wasn't that keen on the idea of having chickens.
|The old water tank which became a|
lucerne holder and a chicken coop
In the meantime, RMan has come to appreciate the really fresh eggs Tweedle Dee was laying and which we were scoffing. We had never expienced eggs that fresh before - you know what I mean? When you crack open the shell of a fresh egg the white and yolk land in the frying pan as a tight mass of deliciousness, as opposed to what we had experienced before with shop bought eggs where the white spread itself all over the pan. Judging in the very apparent difference, I shudder to think how old the "fresh" shop eggs were by the time we purchased them.
RMan has also come to see the chickens according to the various characters that they have. And always grins at their loping, side-to-side run when they spot us and think that a handful of food is in the offing...
|Two chickens fitted in fine - but 6...?!|
When Tweedle Dee became broody, and 4 chicks were hatched on 1 November last year, it was time for another coop. Together with the "frame coop", we fashioned another one out of pallets - complete with egg laying / nesting box on the side. Thus the "pallet coop" was born.
|Wooden pallets converted to a chicken coop|
|The two coops before...|
A temporary barrier of chicken netting sufficed - but only as a temporary measure.
|From left to right:|
Cluck's larger, Tweedle Dees two medium, and at the
top Shelly's smaller egg
In addition, Tweedle Dee has been broody 3 times since the beginning of the year, and, as the rooster, Tweedle Dum, was returned to Eddie because of his aggressive behaviour, which meant that all her eggs are thus infertile until her one male chick 'becomes of age', the necessity of having somewhere to lock her up until she came to her senses became imperative. Locking her, and the others, out of the pallet coop (with it's laying boxes) meant that Cluck and Shelly didn't know where to lay their eggs. Thus encouraging them to lay willy-nilly elsewhere on the property was not in my (egg hunting) benefit.
Plus, I wasn't happy that they were adequately protected from the (winter) elements. How can I lay warm and snug in my bed at night knowing that they could be shivering and uncomfortable in their tiny coop?
|Concrete foundations were thrown to prevent predators|
digging their way into the new enlarged coop
Firstly, we separated the two coops to either side of the new enlarged area. and fixed in three roof support poles in the two outer corners and midway. The back "wall" of the coop is the shade cloth covered veggie patch. Then, to prevent the rooikat (or other predators) from accessing the coop, a concrete foundation was poured round the perimeter of the new coop area.
The walls were clad with chicken wire and, with the assistance of RSon's battery operated Skil saw which he lent to RMan, and RMan's table saw, some additional wooden offcut strips we got from the local sawmill were added for extra strength / protection / hindrance. IBR sheets (corrugated iron) installed on battens made up the roof.
|The two coops after...:)|
|Strong and sturdy door to the coop|
which RMan made from a pallet
|Home cluck home... :)|
No sooner had we cleared off from the "building site" than they had to come and inspect their new quarters. Happily and without hesitation, they all trouped into the coop to inspect our handiwork.
I can now rest confidentially at night knowing that they are fully protected from the winter weather ahead, and that they are safe and secure, and, finally, they have the freedom to wake up in the mornings and have a wander round their enlarged coop until I am ready to let them out to free range.
That relieves a lot of the pressure - especially on those cold mornings - of having to get up when I hear them fussing round because they want out of the tiny cramped coops that they were previously locked up in every night.
Ain't it good to have a handyman around :) Thanks once again RMan :D