So after tidying up the shelves and nearly splattering my finger everywhere, I’m not allowed to do any more work on the potting shed.
MrT had another day off today so he has been building ther framework for the roof…
It is looking pretty ace if I do say so myself. I’m rather proud of my fella and his ‘Mad DIY Skillz’.
Since my last post, I have managed to find a load of laminated glass going free – just had to pay £15 for a man in a van to transport the stuff. Its super thick, and even though a couple of panes are cracked the lamination means that they are still intact and can be used for the roof. The one downside is that they are SUPER heavy so will need a shedload of support. AND we need to find some way of cutting them down or else we would have had one steep roof apex! Anybody got any recommendations of how to cut it without power, heat, or a stable surface to work on? No, I thought not…
Its looking pretty good in there now though, so whilst he was doing that I decided to have a go at clearing up a bit. When MrT suddenly gave me an excited shout though I had to come and see what he had found.
Look! A fully functional – and rather beautiful – path! It was covered by a hell of a lot of mud and muck but now that its dug out and has been rained on a bit it looks amazing. Plus there’s a few lovely steps that lead up to my orchard. Yet another awesome gift from the previous tenant.
After his mad bout of destruction, the Mr has gone back to work.
And in the process, he has left me to deal with the mess left behind.
So today has been a nice sunny day cleaning up shedloads of junk from years of neglect. Yes I am still talking about the potting shed here – nothing else!
Luckily the weather was warm so it went pretty quickly.
The worst part was trying to rip apart the shelving without damaging myself or the glass windows… Looks like I was only successful in one of those areas though. I’ve fully crushed my sweary-finger between the shelving and reckon my nail won’t last much longer.
But by the end of the day, the ground was clear and I had found a lovely solid path between the two beds.
I can’t wait to get using this place, although I reckon itll be a long time coming!
So, this post has been a long time coming. You’ll remember
from the end of last year my worries about the girls current living
arrangements and how I wanted to get them in to a custom-built coop. Unfortunately,
the best laid plans always fall through and it has taken us this long to get
around to finishing off our ladies’ new digs.
I took a day off work and roped in MrT to help build the new
palace. Turns out it took much longer than a day and has actually taken about 3
weeks of weekend and evening work, but that’s by-the-by. We had no strict
plans, no measurements, nothing. I just knew what I wanted and had to try and
relay this on to him. We were planning on using as much of the spare tongue and
groove wood from our new log cabin at home as possible so that it was built
with some thick, well treated wood and would last a long time yet.
We started off by building the base. We simply picked the
shortest lengths of wood, slotted them together and kept going until it got to
the right size. We made sure that the smooth side of the finished wood would be
inside the coop. This lends itself to easy cleaning and also reduces hidey holes
for redmite and other nasties. We then screwed a wooden square to the base for
strength and the floor was done. Simples!
Because the wood is so thick and heavy, we really needed to
put it in to place before we added any more to it. We attached six leg (three either
side) made out of old fence posts cut to size. This will keep the floor off the
ground and reduce hiding places for Ratty and Co. to live and chew through the
floor like they have the shed. We dug six holes in the ground to sink the legs
and when everything is built and settled we will postcrete this in to stop it
sinking. We placed it in the corner of the run so that we still have optimal
space for the girls, and up against the fencing so that I can have the laying
box outside the run without compromising the girls safety.
Next up was to build the rough structure for the walls.
Again, we had no particular measurements so we used the offcuts of the base to
make a rough shape. Initially I had pictured an apex roof, but I soon realised
that was way too much effort, even if MrT thought it would be easy enough to
do. I knew that I would end up finishing this off by myself though so opted for
the easiest option. We just used a longer length for the front elevation, a
shorter one for the back, and an angled piece at the top to hold it all
together and support the roof. It needed to be steep enough for the rain and
snow to run off, but not so steep that it makes the living quarters too shallow
for the girls.
Next up, screw these to the base and put in two equal
lengths of wood across the front and back to make a “wonky box”. Mr T cut and
installed some lovely diagonal ‘bits’ to keep the walls from flopping over in
the wind. We then installed a ‘H’ shaped structure which was the height of a
chicken to create the pop-door. My descriptions are obviously very technical
and in no way made-up.
I wanted to include a nice laying box set-up for the girls
which stuck out of the side of the herras fencing run so that I didn’t have to
go in and disturb them every morning or evening. We made this run the full length
of the house so that the cladding would run smoothly and to provide three nice
big spaces for the girls to lay. 3 of the older ladies no longer lay much and
the new girls are Bantams so take up very little space so 3 laying boxes would
be more than enough for our 10. I planned to make this have a lift up lid for
ease of access but also to keep it as fox-proof as possible. Its hard to
describe the shape of the structure we built so take a look at the photos below
and if you’d like measurements and instructions get in touch and I can send
The next problem was that I wanted a nice people-door and a window
in the new chicken-abode. MrT thought we could build them, I thought we should
use the readymade ones from Cluckingham Palace Mark 1. After many minutes of heated marital
discussion, it was decided that we would do it my way. Obviously.
Mr T went back to work for the rest of the week and left me
with struct instructions to leave it until he we next off, so of course I got
all of his tools back out (sorry love!) and spent my weekend carrying on with
exactly what he told me not to do.
So the nice hot pink door and window frame were installed
and looked beautiful. I took the window home and removed the chicken wire to
install some clear Perspex. They don’t need it for ventilation as they will
have the permanently open pop-door as well as a ventilation hole in the top of
Then it was just a case of cladding up the sides front and
back. Much more difficult than it sounds since we had to try and work through
herras fencing on two sides, with one also covered in brambles and nettles.
Thick trousers and a jumper were required but I still felt like Snow White in
the woods when the brambles grabbed hold of my hair!
This took a lot longer than I though and I needed about size
hands, but eventually I managed it just in time for MrT to be off again. We
went out to the DIY shop in my lunch hour and spent an awful lot of dosh on
some hinges, hooks, hasps and roof panels which just so happened to be the
perfect width. He then spent the afternoon creating a lovely lift up hatch for
the laying box.
Being the hard worker that he is he had to go back for
another full-on week (or perhaps he just pretends to go to work to get out of
chores?) so I carried on regardless. I installed some laying box dividers made
from offcuts of the hatch. I sanded and painted and made it look beautiful in ‘Slate
Grey’. I hinged the door, added a hasp lock so that I can keep them safe and
added a small hook and loop to the door so that I can pin it open should I need
Then, on the windiest day of the year, I decided to put the
roof on… by myself.
Sadly, this is where our lack of measuring and squaring up really
hindered us as it turns of that the whole place isn’t square! I nearly flew
away many times and could hardly lift the heavy wooden sheets, but I managed it
in the end so sat and had a victory brew surveying my building skills.
I then had to put the roofing felt on top, which was even
less fun as when the wind catches that it rips the felt out of your hands along
with the skin on your fingertips. Don’t try this at home kids. But guess what? I
managed it in the end so sat and had another victory brew surveying my building
Late on Monday evening, I went to the pet shop and loaded up
the car with some fresh bedding and went on a mission to move in my girls (and
Jimmy the undercover rooster) in to their new digs.
We blocked up the door to the old house and installed a roosting
bar and a ladder entrance to the pop-door, filled the new place with bedding
and hay, added their food and water dispensers and snuck in to the old coop to
move them in. MrT was on removal from the old roost, and I was on placing on
the new roost. I definitely picked the right job, as MrT soon saw what I meant
about Jimmy looking after his ladies when it gets dark. After a good few nips
to the wrists, MrT soon learned the best way to pick up a rooster is quickly and
All of the girls have now moved in to their new digs and
appear to be loving it! There is less space in there than the old one so they
are much cosier and its really toasty in there. They still have enough space to
spread out and section themselves into their groups, but there’s less area for
Jimmy to have to patrol and they can now huddle up without having the tiptoe
along the bar in the dark.
We went down there again last night and found that only two
of the girls had figured out how to use the ladder. Bloody birds. So, we spent
another evening putting them to bed. The last man standing was Jimmy and he couldn’t
figure it out for the life of him. After almost an hour of trying to corral him
up the ladder, he finally got on to it by accident. It was almost as if you
could see the lightbulb!
Hopefully now that he has worked it out, he will show the other girls tonight,
but it’ll be another trip down there later to make sure the last of the
stragglers know where ‘bed’ is!
Now finally, welcome to The Chick Inn – “Where There Is
Always Room For One More”
The “Captial Spend Plot” is actually the bane of my life.
It makes everything so much more difficult!
Brambles and nettles are spreading like wildfire through the roots and no matter how much I dig they always return.
The same glorious weather that has helped my spuds grow has also helped the nettles sprout up, so the path to the shed is getting very stingy.
It has gone from this;
To this in less than a month;
So MrT decided it was time to stop the top growth from spreading any further before we dealt with the under-ground-problems of roots.
I managed to find us some lovely old railway sleepers for free online. They were intended to use as steps up to the log cabin at home but we ended up with too many!
These because the base of our fence. Because it was to be built on decades old concrete, we needed something strong and heavy that wouldn’t topple over easily and could be drilled in to.
He also decided to make use of the scrap pallets we seem to have collected from around the plot over winter.
He dug the sleepers in as far as possible into the bank of mud, old roots, glass and plastic bags and then wedged it behind an existing concreted fence post hidden inside an ivy hedge. The plan was to then screw battons of wood into the sleeper and attach pallets to these.
It took lots of wrangling and some swear words, but its in!
Unfortunately we had to call it a day here on Tuesday evening because he didn’t have his electric drill and the sleepers were too difficult to screw into without pilot holes. So after sawing the rest of the battons, we went home and had dinner like civilised people.
Last night i thought i would go back up and do what i could without his help, and I was actually rather proud of myself!
We used some old corrugated plastic signs from MrT’s old work to stop the nettles from winding through the gaps in the pallets. These were just simply stapled on the back of the fence. They really help to cover up all the mess next door too!!
Next step is to carry the fence along behind the greenhouse and as far as we can manage! Hopefully by next year we may be able to enjoy the spring without worrying about stopping the bramble branches from dropping over and rooting…
Just to stop them travelling UNDER the fence now!! Hmmm… more thinking required on that one.
On the upside…
Look at these!!
Need to make sure i go up there every morning and water them now.
At least the upside to having missing windows is that they have some ventilation through this heat wave!
Except, apparently, their own food when it has touched the floor.
Mine drop food EVERYWHERE and with us having the abandoned plot next to us, rodents are eating more than they do when they’ve dropped it everywhere.
They were being fed using pet-shop feeders similar to the one below. They are great if you have a few hens and they are store inside the coop, but mine walked all over them and they ended up full of straw and chicken poo!
So I decided I needed to find a way of being able to securely store enough food for my hens without the pests or rain getting to it. I also needed to be able to allow the chickens to eat but not drop food everywhere.
I did an internet search and found many versions of the same thing – PVC pipe feeders.
I wanted something on a larger scale though for my 12 hens in the hope that I may be able to use a whole bag of feed at a time and reduce the tips to the storage shed.
So I got myself a big plastic water butt on a free site. It came with a lid, but also had taps on the bottom so I will remove these and plug up the holes… or maybe just leave them against the fence as a good “attachment point” to stop it falling over.
I also went to Screwfix and got some 55mm PVC elbows when I went to sort out my automatic drinker system. I had hoped for larger sized ones but apparently they are hard to come by at regular shops! I also saved some old thick card and shaped it in to a cone to direct the feed pellets.
Tool wise I needed a 60mm hole bore for MrT’s drill, and squishy tube of sealant. Job done.
It was a pretty simple task really. Lay out where you would like the openings and mark them, then drill the holes. I did mine all around the edge, but you can always use one or two on each side if it will sit in a corner. Make sure they are high enough up that you chickens don’t have to bend too much, but also low enough that they can peck at the food after the 90 degree bend.
Put your arm inside the barrel and poke the elbows through from the inside, leaving about 1.5cm outside the barrel. This will give the food protection from rain running down the barrel if I have to move it outside at any point.
Then use the sealant to secure the pipe from the inside and let this set. Then do the same on the outside! You can try and do them both at the same time but if you knock the pipe at any point you’ll end up with it everywhere. Not a good look.
Then use the thick cardboard to make a cone that fits in the middle of you barrel to direct the food towards the pipes. This isn’t desperately needed as the weight of the food above will push enough of it down, but it means that you don’t end up with food sat in the middle of the barrel between all of the pipes which goes stale having not been eaten.
It takes a while for the girls to figure out that food is inside that little hole, but they get there eventually!
No more messy floors and having to fill up tiny feeders in the shed every day…