Wednesday, April 28

Operation Chicken Pen is a Go

Last Saturday we had a chicken pen raising party. Roy and I had purchased the materials the previous week and we were anxious to get the outside section of the new pen up. We needed a nice day for this since it was all outside work and we could do the inside work any time, in any weather.

Last Saturday was perfect - sunny, warm and rain free.

Mom and dad arrived after lunch - Dad to help dig the holes for the posts and stretch and attach the fencing and Mom to watch the baby while Roy and I worked with Dad.

We got the post holes dug - 7 in total - and the posts buried in 3 feet. We had 5 feet left to work with which was plenty. We used 4 x 4 posts because we wanted something sturdy and durable. The fencing we chose was sturdier than chicken wire fencing and we stretched it using the truck and tools that we saved from when we installed a chain link fence at our old house. It took shape quickly and we are happy with the way it turned out.

We had to install 2 x 4's at angles on each corner for 'bracers'. Since we did not cement the posts, we were a little worried about the stretching for the fence. The bracers seemed to work and they look like we planned to have them the whole time.

My Grandmother supplied us with a readymade door, complete with hinges and a latch from a pen she had at her farm that has since been dismantled. It worked perfectly for the outside pen door.

The shed we are using was a chicken coop a long time ago so we were able to find and uncover the entrance/exit doors for the girls and get them in working order again. They should be able to go from inside and outside and back again easily.

The inside is in the works and it should be finished this coming Saturday with our second chicken pen party. Same guests and assignments as last week since it worked out so well.

We are also getting 6 additional chickens now. A friend of my Dad's from work raised free range chickens and he picked up six extra for us on a recent buying trip. They are about 6 months old and ready to provide some eggs. They are a cross between Rhode Island Red and Leghorns and are supposed to be good producers. We will get them here and 'free-ranging' as soon as the inside pen area is finished.

The girls are still happy in their basement home - their nice metal tub with a heat lamp. They are growing at a supernatural rate and their feathers are emerging - so pretty with the different colors and textures. I am worried that they will outgrow their accommodations before it is time for them to go to their permanent home.

Any advice on that topic would be helpful. I have heard Memorial Day is when they can safely go outside (?).

With any luck, we will have a complete chicken palace by the end of this coming weekend and chickens in it by the end of next week.

We are officially a farm/ lite homestead, almost.

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