Emergency Repairs

Earlier this week, I walked down to the allotment before work to feed the chickens. Granted it was still quite dark and I was half asleep but I quickly noticed a problem with the roof of the main coop when I struggled to open the door. The roof panel by the door had bowed downwards so much that it was impossible to open the door. I squeezed through the gap and looked at the roof in horror.

Almost every single panel had bowed down! Where the ends of the panel were attached to the sides of the coop, there were gaps where marauding sparrows could come through. In one spot, the nail was still in place but the roof panel had ripped past it, leaving a significant hole. Nightmare! Panicking, I worked my way around the coop, lifting up the roof panels in an attempt to get the water off. What made it worse was that once the majority of the water was off, the roof panel had deformed upwards where I had been pushing. I had to resort to the ladder and a fork to push the roof panel back into shape from above. It wasn’t pretty or easy but I managed it in the end.

My main concern was what would happen when it next rained. One of the many joys of the British climate is that it could rain at any moment. Would the roof panels cope with a downpour? What would happen if they filled with even more water? Would the panels break? Racking my brains, I wondered whether adding two thick beams running parallel to the apex would support the panels and stop them bowing. The price of wood is sky high at the moment but if the roof failed, the consequences would be fair more severe (DEFRA fines or endanger to our girls).

This morning, we drove across to Wickes and picked up four 3.6m 50mm square wooden batons. Hilariously, they did not fit into the car. So we wrapped the end with my husband’s high-vis jacket and used some bungees to hold them together before tying down the boot. The drive to the allotment was made.more interesting by being followed most of the way back by a police car! We pulled up outside the allotment and brought in the beams to the main coop.

Before we started, we marked where the roof supports would need screwing into place. I pre-drilled the holes and put in the screws. Holding the beam in place was tricky as there wasn’t much room over the coop door to use the screwdriver. Eventually, once the first end was secure, we wrestled the other end into place. The roof isn’t completely level which meant that we had to bend the beam into place. With me pushing the beam up in the middle, my husband wrestled the end of the beam into place and even had a spare hand to get the screws in. Next we screwed the beam to the other roof supports to ensure it stayed in place and supported all the roof panels. We put up the second beam which should fully support the panels and stop the lakes forming on the roof.

We repeated the same on the other side of the roof. It was more difficult as the panels had bowed much more significantly. My husband managed to get rid of more water before we wrestled the cross beams into place. Once they were in place, all the panels seemed to be level without bowing! As my husband went around and tightened each screw on all the cross beams, I wandered around checking on the girls.

Our last task was to hammer down the roof panels at the side of the coop. Some of the panels had come loose due to the bowing of the panels. Wobbling on top of a ladder is not my idea of fun but it was important to make sure the roof was as secure as possible. With all the roof panels secure and the new cross beams in place, we headed home for lunch!

The plan for tomorrow is to do several tip runs with the old roof panels and other odds and ends which are cluttering up the plot.


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