Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nobody here but us chickens

Today was building day (part 1). Yesterday, as you can see from the photos below, we went to Home Depot for pvc pipe, various connectors, poultry netting and hardware cloth, zip ties, buckets (which will be the nesting boxes) and some tools. I LOVE Home Depot. In every aisle there a friendly man came up to me and offered to help, sometimes several. All of them led me to just what I needed. When we were mulling over what to use as the floor of the house, a guy in the plywood aisle named Keith first suggested ceramic tile and carpet, then led us to a leftover piece of some sort of composite wood. He cut it to the size we asked for (4x5 feet) and charged us all of $1.01 for it.

By the end of today, I had the basic shape framed out, but the lengths of chicken wire and hardware cloth I have don't quite work. I guess I'll just put another length in the middle, overlapping the two sides. Even when I put the plastic walls on I want to have it all wired too, I think, for extra safety.

I'm also unsure about the floor - if it's only wire, it feels like it will sag when I move the tractor, especially with 35 pounds of chickens on it. Maybe we let the chickens out, then move the tractor?

  by jahansell
Keith cutting our wood

  by jahansell
Navigating our cart with 10-foot poles sticking out was a challenge.
  by jahansell
The three-way connectors made attaching the poles a breeze.  I did the gluing since the stuff we got was HIGHLY TOXIC.  We got the idea for this plan from Mother Earth News, but are still a bit fuzzy on how the whole thing will be enclosed.  The MEN plans call for 2 ply corrugated plastic walls, which Home Depot doesn't carry. I can buy it online, but I also ran into a friend when we were there who has a huge carpentry shop - he builds sets for movies and commercials. He said he has a bunch of the exact stuff we want so I'm going to try to meet up with him this week to get some and see if it works. 
  by jahansell
The basic structure. It's 8 feet long x 5 feet wide. Half of it will be the henhouse, elevated off the ground by about 2 feet so the chickens will have the whole 40 square feet to roam in. (The books say 6 chickens need a minimum of 2 feet each for the house, which is 212, and 4 feet for the run, which is 24. So this should be plenty of room for them, but still manageable and light enough to move easily (depending on how the house comes together.)
  by jahansell

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