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Friday, April 16, 2010

The Chicken Project

If I seemed a bit distracted the last few weeks, it's because of the Chicken Project.

I have been very late answering emails and comments. (Sorry, guys.) But the job is almost finished. All we need is a planter box, and a sign that will go up in tha
t nice bare spot in the front.

I'll do another post on the actual steps to the job, but I wanted to show you how the project looks as of today.


Whaddya think? Not bad for two old cripples. There are windows along either side of the building, and two chicken doors in the back. Two, because eventually we will separate the yard and coop by breed.

This was a more difficult job than the chicken coop/yard we built 20 years ago.











Why?
1. We're older--and less nimble.

2. We could only work for 6-8 days a month, which is when Greg was here.
3. We needed good weather.

There were a few things we wanted to do differently this go round. Since the coop/yard was near the house, it had to be 'pretty'. It has to last the rest of our lives. And it has to be both functional and efficient. It costs more, but it really is a very nice setup if I do say so myself.

I am not taking any of the credit for this baby. Greg did it all; the concept, the design, and the carpentry.


As usual, I provided the manual labor. I've m
entioned before that I'm fairly inept when it comes to things like this, but I take direction extremely well. I'm a good mule. I work hard and I work steady. If Greg doesn't need me, I go off and busy myself with a nearby project so he can call me when he needs me.

Such a good mule I am! LOL.


Like the last chicken yard, we built it as an aviary, fencing the top as well as the sides. We have way too many predators in our area--mainly hawks, coyotes, and raccoons. No point in feeding the local population. Let them eat someone else's chickens.


And would you believe, no sooner did we let the chicks into the yard, two big hawks did a fly-by. I think they were on a reconnaissance mission. I could see them squawking te
lemetry on little, bitty radios.

Niner-Niner, Red Tail One. Have spotted dinner on your six. It's a buffet!


Copy that, Hawkeye-Three. Reconnaissance has reported a perimeter shield. Stand by. New intel coming in.

Hawkeye-Three, infrared is detecting missiles at your four o'clock. Abort. Abort. Abort. They've locked onto your...

SPLAT!

Hehehehe. Come after my chickens, will ya?

The yard is 16' x 20' with an 8' x 8' coop. It will have both electricity and running water. When the chicks reach adulthood, we'll segregate them by breed so we can sell pure breed chicks next year.


I actually bought 3 breeds. (I finally found my Americaunas, the Easter egg chickens). We'll separate them out next year.


Now comes the REALLY hard part. I have to think up a name for the chicken coop. We came up with all sorts of names. Only one clicked for me, but it has a negative connotation so I had to pass on it. I thought about calling it
Coop de Grâce, but if you know this French saying, (Coup de Grâce) it basically means 'blow of mercy'.

The other reason I nixed it is because everyone and his mother would question the spelling of
Grâce, thinking I meant Grace.

It's no fun being clever if I have to explain it.


There will be additional artwork on the coop--if I ever regain the use of my fingers. (Stretching fence and barbed wire is hard on fingers.) For now I will concentrate on the sign.


But what do we call this labor of love that has drawn blood, sweat, and more than a few choice cuss words when Greg and I failed to see eye to eye?
(I said I was a good mule. I didn't say I was a quiet one.)

Here are a few names we've thought of so far: Pueblo de Pollo, The Crow & Cackle, Eggcetera.


I can't make the sign until we decide on a name. It's gotta fit the place and it's gotta last a lifetime.


Any ideas?

***
So that's what we've been up to for the past month and a half. We've shed enough blood on this job to call it family, but I'm proud of it.

***
Copyright © 2010 Maria Zannini -- http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/.

15 comments:

Dru said...

It's beautiful!

Kaz Augustin said...

Wow, what a beautiful coop! Both of you should put a Homesteader's Handbook together.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, guys.

Kaz: I've considered that, but I need to come up with a concept that hasn't been done to death. There are a lot of homesteading books, but maybe we need an 'urban' homesteading book.

Mike Keyton said...

I am so impressed by this. It's like...it's like 'Little House on the Prairie 2019' I like your pueblo name, better than my suggestion. 'Eggstravaganza' or 'Rooster Court' which sounds a little more posh. If your chicks were girly you could name the place 'Chick-lit' or if into Doctor Who. 'Eggsterminate'.

I'm done.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike:

More like 'Rambling House in the Woods'. :o)

Sometimes the transition to homesteading goes too slowly. There are so many things we want to get done.

More fence, a wind mill, a giant shop, a pond, a man cave...to say nothing of the goats and pigs.

Greg thinks we can get it done in the next 2-3 years.

I dunno. Those are a lot of big jobs--and we'll have to do most of them on our own.

Thanks for your naming suggestions. I think I'll pass on the Dr. Who one.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I vote for the pueblo one as well. I am distinctly uncreative today. All I could come up with was Chickentown and variations thereof. Sounds like a new drama coming this Fall from ABC.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara:
Ref: Chickentown

Oh great. Now you got me thinking about the Funky Chicken. LOL.

Mike Keyton said...

You could of course go for a royal theme:
Cluckingham Palace

or

Bantam Court.

I'm off now to shoot myself

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: I'm off now to shoot myself

If you don't, I might.

But they were funny, so you're forgiven.

Sherri said...

Don't have any name ideas for you...

Very impressive though, you guys did a great job.

Maria Zannini said...

Thank you, Sherri!

Maybe I should just call it: DONE!

LOL.

Marian said...

Counting Coop?

From the wikipedia page: "Coups were recorded by notches in the coup stick, or by feathers in the headdress of a warrior..."

I rather like Cluckingham Palace, though. :)

Marianne Arkins said...

It's gorgeous, and I'm glad you put on a cover. Folks out here seem to NEVER do that and then wonder why the hawks get their chickens.

Um.. DUH.

Have fun!!! I'm so jealous...

Maria Zannini said...

Marian:

I hadn't thought of Counting Coop. That's a good one. Thanks!

Maria Zannini said...

We learned our lesson from the first chicken yard.

Hawks will stay out if you put a few strands of wire zigzagged across the pen. They don't like their flight impeded by anything. That's what we used for the rhea chicks.

But fencing the top is necessary for animals like raccoons.

We had one coon who was having chicken dinner EVERY night. Greg finally rigged up a silent alarm to catch him while we worked at enclosing the pen to keep any future friends from visiting.

Live and learn.