In the Beginning
The Start of Living with Chickens
11 April 2011
I got three buff orpingtons two weeks ago and they're growing like mad. I thought that may be pigs with wings, as this would mean I had to make good on a lot of promises I made in the past if they began to fly, but on closer inspection, they're just little dinosaurs growing like weeds. I meant to have the coop ready but as it turns out, Nature doesn't care that my weekends are already busy and my week days even more so.
Then the joy of homeownership stopped by unexpectedly, and I had to shell out several grand to have our heating system (hot water/boiler) re-done as it was an insane mess (side note: to all those looking to buy a home, pay the money for individual inspections and not just a "home inspection"-- they missed many obvious flaws with the house that a trained eye would have, nay, should have caught). And though my finance minister, my wife, keeps us in great shape money-wise, we now had to balance the need of the repair, our personal savings goals and the need of a coop for the mini-dinos eating their way through everything in front of them.
*fade to garage*
So many shelves. Useless, really, in the fact that they're 4 feet deep and 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Things are scattered on them here and there, but eventually, inevitably, everything gets lost to the back, in the darkness and the shadow (they're four feet deep!), never to be found again. My wife says, "off with their planks and build me a coop worthy of Mordorrrr!".....sorry, wrong story... and besides she's not a creepy old wizard, but forgive me as I've spent the weekend with a saw, screws and wood so I'm in need of a little distraction.
With crowbar in one hand and determination in the other, efficiently condensed to the shape of a beer can, I go to work. I made short work of two of the four shelves and fell them like a mighty forest *pause for the brawny paper towel guy pose*. Actually, it was exhausting and loud. Metal on wood is much louder than you'd think and the scream a nail makes in protest to being ripped from its wood-home it enjoyed for 35 years is horrible. The previous owner and builder of house was thorough in his use of nails. So...many...nails.... I can still hear their screams...
Because the previous owner and builder of the house was also a scrappy fellow, he used leftover material used to build the house. The wood used throughout the house is cedar, tongue in groove construction... and not the smelly closet cedar, in case you're wondering (we'd have lost our ability to smell by now!)-- as thick as a London fog, as deep as the snow pack in Syracuse, NY after a winter of lake effect, and as dense as politician's head, this house is built... well... like a brick *enter word of choice* house.
With the pile of lumber in my driveway and a mound of bent, disenfranchised nails beside it, I eyed it like Michaelangelo must have eyed a rock of marble...somewhere in there, there is a beautiful statue just waiting to be released....and if I had time, I'd build a coop, too. I kid, actually I had a coop in mind the entire time. I had several ideas in mind regarding the plans of the coop d'be, but took a moment to really consider just how much wood there was and what I wanted in the end. An A frame? Perhaps. Maybe a cottage-look-a-like? Maybe. A chateau du la chic? Interesting, go on... Whatever it ends up being it has to be safe (We're in Colorado, highland country (in more ways than one) where all manner of hungry animals would love to eat our mini-dinos), it has to be sturdy and secure (50 MPH winds anyone? No? 70 then!), and it has to be easy to clean and collect eggs. Oh and it has to be movable... not necessarily a coop-on-wheels, but something two people could pick up and relocate when it gets cold and I want my eggs ...err, yeah sorry, my chickens to be protected from the cold and near my kitchen door. So what's this thing gonna look like?
Ah but I like a captive audience (don't struggle, the zip ties will only cut you)... so you'll have to stay tuned. But you may be wondering what a chicken coop looks like that cost me ... how much? In due time... until next time.
*No animals or children were injured or lost in the making of this coop. Sadly, the same cannot be said for my mind, fingers, arms, legs and self respect*
Next time on "Re-purposed material - a lesson in recycling," No more screw ups, you! You have no budget and a limited supply of wood! I hate angles! Geometry you stink! My brain hurts, hold me...
*fade to black*