Friday, September 14, 2012

Hen Hutch

Chickens face all manner of adversity in Narburbia. To predators they resemble nothing so much as a defenceless and slow-moving meatball. And escapees risk summary execution. I needed a cage that was easy to build, light enough to be moved around the lawn, and that provided a sheltered roost and nest box.

After a brief survey of possible designs I settled on a 4' x 4' x 10' frame of 1/2" EMT secured by bolted cornerpieces. I used copious black zip ties to attach panels of 2" x 4" weldmesh fencing. The roost consisted of a length of 2" x 3" sheltered inside a recycled plastic barrel. A tarpaulin completed the defences against the elements and provided a measure of camouflage.

With the help of a local breeder I populated the coop with a varied trio of pasture raised birds. The girls and I are very fond of our cuddly and docile hen Shirley. Let's hope she gets through her moult soon and gets back on the lay. Her companion pullets are beautiful and growing up fast. Already their peeping is more cluck-like and their faces are becoming red.

I'm afraid the tractor doesn't afford them anything like the space they are used to: I might have to think about putting up an electric fence to give them a bigger pen.

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