Saturday, 14 January 2017

A new chicken walkway


The chickens in the stable are beginning to go stir crazy because despite having a reasonably good size space in which to spend their days, they aren't used to being confined. The process of getting them from their chicken shed to the stable in the morning and back again at dusk is starting to irritate me too.

The chickens don't really like being herded or carried back and forth the thirty feet between the two and Mr J and I thought it was about time to tackle the issue. We thought that if we create a covered walkway between the two, then the dawn and dusk double quick march could become a meandering stroll. If I enclosed the walkway completely with chicken wire and covered the roof, the chickens could then spend as much time as they liked out in the covered walkway or be inside in the condo.
 I spent some time looking carefully at the space at the back of the stable to work out how I might create the walkway and on Friday three hundred feet of treated battening was delivered from the local builders' merchant.

Mr J cut ten of the lengths in half.

And cut points on the ends of ten of the pieces.

I positioned the first couple of pieces of wood on the outside of the rear stable wall, but trying to screw so many screws in by hand was going to mean that the building of the walkway would take an awfully long time and probably more than a few tears.

So this morning we took a trip to the local DIY superstore and bought, amongst several small pieces of ironmongery that I wanted, a cordless screwdriver and cordless drill. 

My life is transformed. Okay, so not on a grand scale, its not climate change being reversed nor poverty being eradicated, but on a 'this is going to means making things is simple' scale, it is a big deal.

When we got home Mr J made a cuppa and I read the instruction manuals, then I headed out into the garden to continue making the frame for the walkway. I managed to put in the next two uprights, two roof braces and one long horizontal brace before the rain forced me to abandon my task and head back indoors.

Weather permitting, I will continue building the frame tomorrow and I may even finish the woodwork. I will then cover the frame's top and sides in chicken wire and also the roof area will be covered in scaffold netting to prevent wild bird poop from falling onto the ground from above. I will create two doors in the walkway, one near the stable door and one at the far end going out into the chicken field. By having two doors in the walkway, we will be able to have free movement into and around the walkway once the birds are allowed to free range again.

We plan to leave the walkway in place after the lockdown is lifted as I am sure that some sort of lockdown will happen again next autumn when the wild birds are migrating again. This way the infrastructure (and structure) is in place to allow us to respond quickly and get the birds inside and under cover as soon as the Prevention Zone measures are announced.

If we ever decide not to keep chickens or to move them to another area on the smallholding, I will be able to either dismantle the walkway or I can use the walkway as a fruit cage. 

Yesterday's blog post was about vloggers who have inspired and entertained me and very kindly Dan at The Grass-Fed Homestead mentioned my blog on his most recent vlog (you'll need to watch this episode to the end if you want to see the mention). I also noticed that James and Dee at Happy Homestead have mentioned my blog and said some very kind things about us. It is especially nice to be a part of a network of enthusiastic homesteaders who are supportive and caring.

As I type it is late in the day, Mr J has already done the evening chores and so I need to head to bed, without my usual post-blog cuppa!
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