Monday, May 6, 2013

Building chicken and chukar pens

Since we have lots of chickens and chukars that are all different ages and sizes, with more being born each day (6 chicks today alone!) we ran out of cages.  The laying chickens and two roosters are in the big coop.  I was going to put the chukars and young chicks into the second coop by closing the interconnecting door.  The problem was the chukars and chicks tried to kill each other.  Not a good idea putting them together!  Not only did I have them in two separate cages on the patio I also had two boxes of birds in the house.  The 2 day old chicks and the four baby chukars.  Plus I knew all the eggs in the incubator are going to be hatching.

What to do?  Boy got all his chores done so he went to play with a friend.  Wow, someone actually lives two miles away that is his age.  That's within walking distance!  Girl didn't finish her chores on time.  Once she did finish she decided to hang out with me.  OK, let's get her on some task that will show great results.  I know.  Let's build housing for the new birds.  After all, we have all those new 16 foot panels. 

I chose two places for our new pens. One in the back garden at a raised bed filled with weeds that I hadn't planted yet this season.  The other spot was in the middle orchard, again in an area filled with weeds.  I took four 8 foot panels and dropped two off at each place.  The I had girl help carry the 16 footers.  Sure I can carry them myself and she can drag them herself but teamwork was what it was all about yesterday. 

I explained what I had in mind for each pen.  They would be 8 x 16 feet with a t-post pounded in at two opposite corners.  The fencing would be wired together in the corners and also wired to the t-posts.  Then the whole thing would be wrapped in 1" chicken wire that was 4' high.  Then she needed to wire the chicken wire to the fencing every couple of feet.  Not too much wiring because we are going to take these apart and move them. 

If I had given it a little more thought we would have wired each panel so the individual panels could be moved.  When it is time to move the panels we will probably wire down each end at the corner and then I'll cut the chicken wire down the middle at the corner.  Then each of the four panels for the pen will be chicken wired.  It will be one less step to do after we move the pens to some other place that will need weeding.

Then it was time to put the chukars and chickens into their new homes.  Each pen had a hiding place (an old plastic dog house that was in two pieces, with one piece in each pen) so the birds could hunker down at night.  By the time the birds are big enough to fly out of their pens they will be old enough to go into the main coops.  Even then there will be hiding places because it will take a little while to acclimate. 

It was a productive weekend for Girl.  She got to drive.  She got to build some pens.  And she finally got her laundry done! 

1 comment:

  1. Good job on getting the pens done, showing Girl the rewards of getting chores done in a timely fashion, and how teamwork makes a job go faster. I with I had those panels here. I have a blind gelding that I need to make some safe fencing for this summer, and another chicken run needs building. I think we're going to re-purpose some pallets with a tee post driven down the center, wrapped in chicken wire. I need a grow out pen for the pullets and the creepy meat chicks we have now, and the broody hen is sitting on 14 eggs.