Friday, 26 October 2012

... a mini chicken house

I love having chickens.  Ever since I got my first chickens when I was four I have loved them because:
  1. They lay eggs.  Big organic, yellow yolked lovelies.
  2. They are hilarious comical beings.
  3. I like having animals around.
But these chickens are vicious.  Truly evil.  not just a bit 'hen pecky' really, really nasty.  For the second time since we got them I have recently had cause to separate them .  One of the hens had been ill and then started to moult and subsequently the other two began two tear her apart. 

Sadly the truth of these lovely birds (or vicious dinosaurs as we refer to them as) is that once they have the site of blood they will keep on going until they have pecked the weak bird to death.  So a temporary home was created out of our old pot store to put the hen pecked lady in to recuperate (the last time one was ill they lived in the greenhouse for a while - never again, it was a nightmare and made me jealous as the greenhouse is firmly my territory).  She started to get better and last weekend we started to reintegrate them with disastorous consequences.

Now I expected a bit of sparring but not the all out blood fuelled assault we witnessed.  Needless to say the hen was removed less than an hour after we started to reintegrate them.

So this time I am trying a different tack to diffuse our ongoing chicken wars.  Some happy time living side by side (but not together) will hopefully pave the way to reconciliation (it had better because on a cold day two lots of water and two lots of food to sort out take the you know what and to add insult to injury only one of the damn hens is laying anyway).

The chicken run has been duly separated which means no one has a lot of space but no one is going to die of being pecked to death either.  Each can stay in their own side and just get used to each other without the killing part.  So to cut a long story short I needed a small, one chicken, studio apartment for the solo hen to stay in.  No good leaving her in the run without a house as the fox would just love that!

To answer my chicken dwelling issues I made the mini house shown above and in situ below.  It is made entirely of found materials.  In fact the wood I used was the shed floor that came with the house when we bought it, was used as a wooden floor in the chicken run last winter and has been living under a forsythia for a while.  Amazing what you can do with a few bit of scrap (but still in good nick) timber, a few screws and a lick of wood preservative (chicken safe of course).  It is not a masterpiece but it is high level bodging and I am very proud of it.

It is also a timely lesson it taking things at your own pace.  I am not in a very good way at the minute with all sorts of joint problems (got to love the cold weather coming on when you have a joint condition!) and consequently in lots of pain.  I am also not very good at taking things slowly.  But I am learning that there is no shame in going at your own pace, even if that might be a bit slower than everyone elses place.  This woodworking marvel was possible (despite the knackered joints) through good planning, doing a bit at a time and most importantly accepting that while others may have made it quicker or better they didn't, you did and therefore you get to be pleased with yourself which is a nice feeling.

And so the face off begins ....

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