Monday, August 29, 2011

The grand DIY adventure begins

I hauled the horse trailer to Home Depot yesterday. The materials' list and the materials were that long. I was organized, though. I had spent many hours this summer staring into the space, visualizing, contemplating, sketching, measuring...asking myself "what I am thinking? I don't know how to do this." Myself answered, "that's never stopped you before."

The men in orange aprons are always very helpful when I show up. They helped me load all the lumber onto the cart, then they helped me load it onto the trailer.

They stopped short of offering to come home with me to unload it and put it together.
What's wrong with these people?


Here's what I brought home:


"What is she building?" you ask.

A winter home for the chickens. From this day forth, I shall call it The Chicken Palace. If my rough calculations are correct, it will take approximately 265 dozen eggs (or 5 hens laying 3.5 eggs per week for 17.5 years) to show a return on my investment. So be it.

You may remember that last fall, Ethel and I moved the chicken tractor from its summer home in the garden to its winter home in the barn. The grand plan was for Wynonna and the hens to share a stall and peacefully co-exist. Yeah, right. Wynonna gorged herself on chicken feed and the chickens gorged themselves on Wynonna, pecking her skin and drawing blood. By the time I realized my grand plan was a dismal failure, it was too cold to do anything about it. I spent considerable time and effort over the winter managing pig and chicken feeding schedules and turn-out time and vowed to come up with a solution that would work for all of us before this winter.

My new grand plan is to subdivide Wynonna's stall, build a large coop to keep the chickens comfortable and warm in winter, and erect the equivalent of the Berlin Wall between them so that they can't harass each other.


If you have a vivid imagination, you might be able to visualize the new coop from this drawing.


The coop will reside on the north side of the stall, accessible by a gate in the Berlin wall. Wynonna will live on the south side. Everybody will be able to access the front yard at their appointed turnout time, and we shall live happily ever after. Assuming I can figure out how to put it all together.

40 comments:

  1. WOW, what a project, but we know you can do it. Looks like you've really thought it through, and I love the description/drawings. I'm anxious to see the end result!

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  2. Estella from Co.8/29/11, 4:27 AM

    Good plan, I'm sure everyone will be happy come winter time.

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  3. Poor Wynonna! I can see that you have gone to a lot of trouble to come up with a solution pig/chicken coexisting problem. Considering all the time you put into planning this, I can see that YOU see this in your imagination ... all completed and working perfectly. All that's left is to make the actual project look like the picture in your head. Really. You can do it.

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  4. How tall is the 'Berlin Wall'? Will the feathered girls stay on their side, or be curious enough to try and 'fly the coop' for some yummy pot-bellied pie feed?

    Oh dear, I seem to be full of questions this morning :). Please forgive this first poster ... I have enjoyed reading about your homestead & critter adventures. Your blog is on my checkit-in-the-morning list!

    Mary Ann in NC

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  5. I love your "can do!" attitude.

    Any chance the human Lucy can come back for more adventures? Or was she Ethel? Hmmm. Good blog fodder.

    :)

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  6. Carson, now I know who to call when I need stuff built! Great plan! Can't wait to see updates and see it during winter.

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  7. That should keep the girls very cozy. Better start pounding, I feel a chill in the air.

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  8. Oh, and then you can dig a tunnel from North Berlin to the outside, for the chickens to make their Great Escape!

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  9. You inspire me. I have projects I want done and I keep thinking that I'm going to have to do them myself too.
    PS- I love your drawings!

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  10. All by yourself? Who is helping you? Wow, you are quite a woman if you are doing this by yourself. I really want to see step by step photos if that is the case!

    I can barley put it a light bulb ...

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  11. Hmmmm, I hope you stopped at the liqour store on the way home ;-)
    I enjoying watching building projects when someone else is doing the building :D

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  12. Nancy in NC8/29/11, 7:01 AM

    Good Luck - I have complete faith in your natural abilities and dogged determination to protect The Diva...

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  13. What a great idea and a big project! I think we all know that you will be able to do it.

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  14. Great plan. Being that is the north wall, thinking of any insulation as that looks like only metal for the wall. It will still be pretty cold up against the wall. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day.

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  15. Ok, now I am inspired to build a new shelter for Harry and Gunny before it rains. Their current shelter has never been good enough to suit me.

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  16. Nice plans! I know you can do it! Can't wait to see the finished project - oh... in two days? OK... I'll give you three!

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  17. It sounds so cozy that I'm expecting curtains, wall-to-wall carpeting, and a divan ... oops, the girls would probably prefer to call it a couch! Your plan looks great. Best wishes with the actual construction!

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  18. Sounds like a great plan...and a big project. I guess it'll keep you busy and out of trouble for awhile. :) I'm sure the boys will be trying to help. LOL

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  19. If you need a helping hand, one who will help and not direct, one who was trained by a very bossy Mom to just do it. Has experience using power tools and isn't afraid of hard work and lives no more than one hour away....my darling grown daughter Shelley would be thrilled to help erect the chicken palace. References available from MBF on the security clearance for proximity to donkeys and other farm animals. Really.

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  20. Carol in Colorado8/29/11, 8:23 AM

    Your coop design will be nice for the chickens and Wynonna.

    I do wish I could send you my carpenter hubby to help you as it would be done in a couple of days.

    Good luck with your projects. The chickens will love their new home!!

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  21. Looks great to me. Since I have been reading your blog I am considering getting some chickens. Do you ever have a problem with Smooch bothering them? How about Deets when he was around?

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  22. NorthernAB Gal8/29/11, 8:43 AM

    We all know you can do anything you set your mind to, but how did you get those panels out of the trailer and in the barn all by yourself? I hope you had some help. Looking forward to future blog posts on the DIY project. Hope those chickens appreciate all your hard work and keep you supplied with eggs for a long time!

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  23. If you need farm folk to wield hammers and saws, I'm sure I can find one or two somewhere. :-)

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  24. You might want to consider adding some heavy duty wheels/casters to this luxury coop...my neighbors have done this, and they can roll it around the yard to 'fertilize' and relocate the girls as necessary. They put rather large, locking wheels on it, and it rolls fairly easily.

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  25. The fact that you are even attempting to do something like that shows your brilliance! I can't wait to see the end result. Happy Building...

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  26. PS - I went out to look at them...they're like scaffolding wheels.

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  27. Love it!! Such a great plan!! I'll be paying close attention since in the next 3 years --- I'll be building a chicken coop of my own!! I learn by your mistakes if you don't mind :-}}

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  28. We just finished our new backyard chicken palace, wish I could send you my 25 year old son to help. He's been building chicken coops since he was 10. I'm not sure what the Berlin Wall is for. Chickens are less likely to try to fly over when they can see through. Perhaps the Wall makes a comfy corner for Wynonna in the winter.

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  29. http://georgiafarmwoman.blogspot.com/
    When I saw your plans for the chicken coop, etc. I immediately thought about these Hen Pals Nest Boxes that are made by the husband of the blogger. Truly made in the USA! You may want to peek at them!
    Good luck on your new project!
    ~Pam in Louisiana~

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  30. Best of luck with the stall division. As one who has had to divide stalls, renovate potbelly piggy palaces, and generally disturb their home and nap time, I just know we are in for some great Wynonna stories throughout the reno project! I'm thinking she will be no easy task master, and a superior (and bossy) building inspector.

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  31. Poor Wynonna picked on by nasty chickens! Id expect your putting chicken wire at the top of the wall, cause cant chickens kinda fly? Looks like a good plan! Although you could just eat the chickens each fall and get new ones in the spring...

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  32. Linda in New Mexico is offering Shelly's help. Take it! It's always nice to have an extra set of hands.
    Good for you, Carson ya never give up!
    Best always, Sandra

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  33. Sweetie, the East Germans would have loved to have the wings that your girls have. The "wall" needs to be much taller or topped with fence. I am not a wing-clipper myself, because being battered with clipped wings is painful. Good luck.

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  34. Have you seen Chicken Run, the movie?? you should...

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  35. Good idea for the chicken house! Nice and tidy - or as much as you can get for chickens.

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  36. You can do it. You're alot like me, when you put your mind to it , you can do anything. Have fun and if you need help call me. :)

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  37. I'll be doing this one day in my future too (and can't wait to see all the shenanigans involved in putting it up with donkey help...and chicken foremen).....but in the meantime, another git-r-dun woman's experience with chicken coop building....

    http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/building-the-coop/

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  38. Does Wynonna get a reduction in her property taxes due to the diminished size of her real estate?

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  39. I can't wait to see your final results! You will do a FANTASTIC job! GIRL POWER!!!!

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  40. Anne Boleyn8/30/11, 7:32 PM

    I know you can do it all by yourself, but I wish I could be there to help you. This is the kind of thing I love to think about doing....and sometimes actually do!

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