The chickens needed someplace new to hang out in the cold.
The past few days have been filled with snow and bitter cold temperatures and the chickens are wimpy and dumb. In this weather, they wake up late, hit the roost early, and spend the time in-between pretty much standing in a cluster in the garage.
The garage is already packed to bursting with pretty much everything we own and I was growing increasingly frustrated at the addition of wayward chickens, to say nothing of their aromatic leavings. An alternative hadn’t occurred to me and then one was presented the other day via my Facebook feed.
A group called Chatham Chickens posted this picture of their newly-built chicken bath enclosure. It was, essentially, the answer to all of my problems (or at least the answer to one very specific, chicken-related problem).
The idea of building a simple structure that would provide happiness for the birds WHILE keeping them out of the garage? Win-win.
I couldn’t get started quickly enough.
The beauty part is that we had everything we needed for the project on hand already. Not only that, we were also able to repurpose some things that needed new homes. One of these was the thrice-used polyethylene plastic from the hoop house.
Now, don’t let anyone tell you that this stuff should only be used once and only for one year. That’s pure hogwash. If you ask me, greenhouse plastic can be used again and again and again. I imagine it becomes less efficient over time, but it won’t blow up or anything and the stuff doesn’t biodegrade, so you want to find as many uses for it as possible. We’ll be making next winter’s school wardrobe from today’s scraps. (Check out the next blog post: “Polyethylene School Clothes or How to Get Your Pre-Teen to Leave Home”)
But I digress.
Using scrap wood left over from various projects, the aforementioned plastic, and some good, rotty manure, we set to work. We laughed and argued, made mistakes, and fixed them. All the while being watched (read: judged) by our four Brahmas from their roost under the deck.
Over the course of several hours, we managed to slap together a supremely mediocre structure that may conceivably stay standing in a snowstorm.
Of course, the birds needed to check out our handiwork before we’d finished to make sure everything was meeting their standards.
When we were finally done for real, it was roosting time, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the weirdly great pleasure of seeing everyone in there taking baths.
I kind of can’t wait.