The girls have an upgrade! Well, three, really but two aren’t finished yet.
We live in Washington where it rains all the time. (shhh. Don’t let the locals tell you about July and August). As the girls are free range they don’t mind getting a bit wet and in fact, love going out in the rain and the ‘snow’ to forage and explore. But, when they sleep, they like to have a dry spot to roost and sleep without getting wet. Who could blame them?
So, after we finished the “Chicken Palace” I started making plans for a roof or sheltered area. No big deal as we only have 2 hens now and a small coop they can roost in at night, but the coop is beginning to show wear and the rain drops on the metal roof all night long and I have to think it’s not conducive to good chicken REM sleep. Or something like that.
Chickens are pretty smart, don’t let anyone tell you different. Oh, I suppose there are stupid chickens just like there are stupid people, but I am constantly amazed at how smart my girls are! The palace is open to the trees and elements because it’s just covered in hardware cloth. Other than the coop there are no dry places so my girls decided the underdeck storage was the perfect place to roost at night! In they walked through the (open) lattice door and found a perfect spot on top of the dog house we’re storing for a friend. Problem solved — well, except for the chickens-poop-while-they’re-roosting problem. Lots of chicken poop. Ugh. So we took the leftover hardware cloth and stapled it around *most* of the underdeck storage. I say most because there are shelves against one wall and I didn’t think the girls could get in through there. We also took the lattice door off and put hardware cloth on it as well. This meant we needed to take it apart partially, which was a challenge in and of itself, but we got it put back together and back up. Scooped up the poop and waited to see if the girls could find a way to out-smart the humans.
Of course they did, but for the most part it keeps them out of the underdeck storage. Unless the dog herds them and then they have a safe place from him. (He doesn’t necessarily chase them and will stop when I tell him too, but he thinks they should always be in the palace and loves to herd them back in there.)
So now we move to the roof. This caused some marital discord as I am a visual and husband is well, not. I told him I wanted a roof that covered 2/3rd of the palace so only the east third was open to the elements. A friend had a tree fall on his workshop and had some aluminum sheet metal roofing that hadn’t been damaged (but couldn’t be used on the new roof) so we got free materials. Purchased some lumber, drew out a plan and he built it with the help of both sons. Getting that hummer up on top of the roof took 4 men and one woman (literally) but it’s up there. Except, it didn’t cover the size of the roof that I had asked it to cover. Marital discord ensues; we worked through it and are now discussing plans for the phase 2 portion of the palace roof.
Upgrade #3 came after a spate of cold weather (cold for the PNW is when the temperature drops between 19 and 35 degrees for an extended period of time). The water froze (but I have a fix for that) but I made sure they had other sources of water and lots of fresh food. I checked the feeder yesterday and it was cracked. So I was just going to run to the feed store and get another one but remembered I had seen one on Pinterest (shudder) that I thought we could put together quickly. Hubby was up to a run to the hardware and/or feed store so off we went.
The feeder was the simplest task so far, took less than 2 hours (not including drying and shopping) and is pretty cool. Cost about $25 for materials. I filled it this morning and we’ll see if the girls like it.
Of course the dog needed to herd the girls so they’re hiding in the underdeck storage after entering from the shelved wall side…