Thursday, August 1, 2013

Good progress

This morning Trish and I were visiting friends.  We are going to be tending their kennel while they are visiting for a few days, so we needed to learn the dogs, and their normal routine.  It took awhile, not because it's complicated.  In fact, it's a very efficient kennel set up much like our own.  It took awhile because any time you get sled dog people the conversation inevitably turns to dogs, lots of dogs, and we do tend to get carried away a bit.

So, I got a bit of a late start on my project, during an unusually hot day.  Nonetheless I made good progress and achieved today's goal. 

What I needed to accomplish was to move a huge shipping crate from near the end of the driveway up into the upper yard, thread it between some trees, drop it into place and then stabilize it on blocks so it can hold up to wind, weather and so forth.  The only thing complicated about it was that I was doing the project single handed.

The first step was to prep the site, which simply meant taking down some fencing and some weeds to clear a space for the new hen house.  That only took half an hour or so.

The new hen house will go the left side of last year's brooder, the large plywood box in this pic.

The next step was loading it onto the small utility trailer to transport. The darned thing is bloody heavy, and though it would have been preferable to pull it up with the tractor, it would have been a real trick to back it among the trees and posts you can see at the rear of the site.  I needed something shorter than the tractor, so figured I'd try to position it with the four wheeler.  I wasn't at all confident the little machine would handle the load.

Crate loaded onto the trailer and ready to haul with the four wheeler.
  I was impressed.  That little 360cc four-wheeler pulled the trailer up the hill with no problems at all, and it only took a little big of juggling and jiggling to back it through the trees and posts and tip of off the trailer almost exactly where I needed it positioned.  Sometimes even I get lucky.

I used a hydraulic floor jack to raise the front of the trailer to place supports and blocks underneath, gently lowered it back into the place, and found it sitting as solid as stone.  It may not be pretty, but it is in place, ready for me to frame in a door, install some nesting boxes and a roost, and start wiring for lights and a heater and put the fence back up.  Heck, someday I may even splurge and give it some paint. 

Hen house in place, ready for the next step.

Writing about it, it seems like a big too-do over not much at all.  There really isn't a lot of rocket science to building a functional hen house.  Chickens don't need a whole lot, just good feed, clear water, some space to to peck at weeds and bugs and such, and shelter from the storms.  They truly are tougher than they look.  If you don't believe, try frying an old retired layer and see what you get.

1 comment:

  1. That wouldn't work for us--we get too much wind. First wind would topple it over. But, so far I have received one free coop off of craigslist and one for 75% off at Lowes....