That original chicken run was built to house our first chickens ever – Esme, Gytha and Lorna. With Lorna going to that great free-range pasture in the sky, er, our raised bed, it is time to acquire some more hens to boost the somewhat pathetic number we have now (two barely constitute a flock, more a flap).
The introduction of new hens into a flap or a flock usually requires a separate house for the newbies until everyone settles down with everyone else. Unfortunately, when we bought the new mite-resistance recycled plastic house, the old wooden one (which had a roof that was perfect for a billion red mites to set up a country in) was (eventually) dismantled and left lying around “just in case it might be useful”. It had survived as a hospital wing, as it were, before being redeveloped into a pile of stuff. The roof and hinged lid on the nest box had all been recycled (er, burnt) – they were rotten and full of red mites.
Turns out, the pile of stuff would be useful – as a chicken house. This time though, I could build a new roof that wouldn’t be quite such a Shangri-La for bitey things and also remove the run part of it, because that made the whole structure almost impossible to move around without sustaining some kind of back injury.
Having reassembled the back wall with nearly all the slats – I was unable to fit all of them in (well, I’ve put on a bit of waistline in two or three years, it’s all the eggs, so I imagine almost the same is true of wooden slats: come on, I’m a writer, I live in a weird world where everything is actually possible) – I found that the four bits then fitted together pretty well. Being me, I had kept the screws after dismantling the house, so had them to reuse. Of course, I knew exactly where I had stored the screws, and didn’t just find them in with the other screws – how could you even think that? Oh wait, I see how…
I put the bits cut off the sides (they formed the run originally) to one side because they might be useful if we want to add a temporary run back at some point. A voilá! An open-topped chicken house.
All that was lacking now was the roof and a hinged lid for the nest boxes, but that is for the next post. The question is, will the new roof involve pallets? I won’t keep you in suspense, I promise.
Are you sitting down? The answer is no. But it does involve a rotten compost bin and a defunct greenhouse. And eleven new screws.