Coop Building Part 1

Today I ran down to the allotment ready to work on getting the new chicken run into place. When I arrived, I said hello to Sarah and Cliff who were busy working away on the new greenhouse. By the time I got there, they had managed to get in one of the front panels and were moving into the roof.

Slowly, I edged the run around into position, carefully avoiding the rhubarb, raised beds and compost bin. Next, I began to try to level out the soil. There is a definite slant to Liz and Sarah’s plot! Carefully, I started to dig out along the back section of the run, in the hope it would drop down to make the top of the run level. It worked partially. By the time I had decided I would need to prop up the front of the run, I was sweltering from a combination of sunshine and the heat radiating from the burner. Making an executive decision, I downed my spade and trudged to the corner shop in search of ice cream.

When I came back, I waved the ice creams at Sarah and Cliff who stopped their work to have a break with me. The new greenhouse is going to look spectacular when it’s complete! Unsurprisingly, the ice creams didn’t last long and all too soon it was time to get back to work. By the time my husband had appeared, I had dug over the entire inside of the run and was busy picking out broken glass, odd bits of plastic waste and metal. In all the years I have been on site, I can’t remember there being much grown next to the hedge on this plot. What poor plants did try to grow, must have struggled against the combination of lack of sunlight and amount of rubbish strewn along the hedge.

Finally, I collected the wire that Rachel had kindly given us and tried to work out where it would all go. A vital part of a run isn’t just the wire fencing over the run but the wire that is dug into the ground which can deter foxes and other predatory animals from getting at your chickens. There was almost enough to go around the run but not quite. Pondering Phil’s coop, I remembered Liz and Sarah had some old pieces of corrugated iron which might solve the problem. I pulled the iron out and had a look at it. Three pieces seemed in quite good shape so I laid them around the back and one side of the run.

As I had been busy doing all the fencing, my husband had been working on sifting through the dug over soil in the run for any stray bits of rubbish. We went back to the shed for a break and a well deserved nibble. The shed is such a great place to relax in and we listened to some news on the radio before heading back out.

As I tidied up, putting away various bits, my husband went around and fed all the chickens. Leia and Lilja were particularly unimpressed as they haven’t moved into their new home yet. Cliff has kindly offered to get a working party to help move the enormous nest box tomorrow which will be amazing. Handmade by the talented Will, it’s solid wood and weights as much as a bull elephant. No one is looking forward to moving it but it needs to be done! Hopefully by tomorrow evening, Leia, Lilja and Sadie will be safely tucked up in their new coop.

Just as I was about to leave, I noticed the ponds were a bit low. Grabbing the watering can, I refilled the one by the shed and did the same for the one in the bog garden. The bog garden was like a desert. Absolutely bone dry. Queue another few trips to the tap to refill the watering can. As a final touch, I pulled out lots of blanket weed which had slowly been taking over the pond. It’s not perfect but it’s a significant improvement in a short time.

Covered in dust and dirt, we called it a day and ambled home for dinner. Tomorrow is going to be another busy day!

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