They say moving is on e of the five most stressful things in life. So, the last time I moved, into the house where I live now, I often claimed that my next move would be unto an urn. What I didn’t account for, though, was the need to for my chickens to move.
As so this morning, when I woke up to day two of new chicken coop building, I had to think back and shake off the idea that maybe what I had really done yesterday was help build a city and not just a chicken coop. I was that exhausted.
Of course, by help, I mean stand around squealing with excitement when the roof started going up, making a quiche and fetching a hammer every so often. My lovely friend Grant and his dad are doing the actual building. Well, to be honest, Marc also came over to help at one point — and ate some quiche instead. And in all honesty, my friend Laura made the quiche dough and then stood around telling me what to put in the quiche while I assembled it.
It takes a village.
But anyway, but the time 11:30 hits, I’ll have a new chicken coop. A huge structure that juts off the side of my garage, with the Eglu Cube hen house inside, a heat lamp, various roosts, and other chicken what-have-yous. All built by a guy who builds houses for Habitat for Humanity, so really, this thing is likely more sturdy the garage of which it hangs off.
The coop, for me, marks a new era in my urban chicken life. When I started, I had my Eglu Cube. Ergonomically designed by engineering students in England. Then came chickens, mostly in pairs, and my having to learn a little too up-close and personal about chicken vents, how to clip wings since they were free-ranging in the yard, met the Skeevy Gray Cat and The Hawk, had a run-in with raccoons, watched two chickens have run-ins with the dogs, and well every other novice stupidity I could dream up.
The Eglu Cube is clearly fantastic but also clearly made by a bunch of young dudes in an engineering lab. For one, the little door to the front of the coop part is big enough for a limber college student to maneuver through. I am old enough to have kids in college. So, trying to crouch down into the the coop to clean it out was nothing short of an insurmountable challenge on a regular basis. Then semi-regular. Then when I could summon up the will. Then, naturally, ever.
The other thing that bugged me about it was that there was no proper roost. Roosts, in my mind, because I am convinced I know, are angled so that the top chicken can sit higher than the rest. That’s where the term pecking order comes from and mine couldn’t rally have one because the roost in the Eglu Cube is dead flat. So, the chickens are I suppose to develop some sort of communist society where all are equal. Well, we all know how well communism went over, now, don’t we.
We are already have a chaos of whose on top in the house, with my mental dogs who can’t decide who is in charge. I really don’t need mental chickens outside. Well, now we’ll have room for roosts.
Yet another reason for the vastly increase coop size is the fact that I can now actually sit down with the chickens and possibly get to know them a bit. With the Eglu, they are all inside a cage and I stand outside, and apart. It bugs me because chickens have personalities, I know this from their antics when they free-ranged in the yard. Now, it’s like I have a mini one-animal zoo in my backyard and all I get to do is go look at the animals through the cage and move on. Zoos kinda suck, in my mind, why would I want one in my yard?
Finally, there’s the issue of eggs. Grant, Marc and Marc’s lovely girlfriend Laurel are all co-gardening in my yard this year. Which means, my eggs, previously feeding me, now will be feeding four. I need more. Now, we can have more. Marc and Laurel want to get their own chicken for the coop, which they are apparently naming Couch. I’ll be getting two more myself, to join Nugget, Pot Pie, Dumpling and CoCo. (Dumpling and CoCo were previously named Miss Louise and Miss Mable, but only because I couldn’t think up perfect chicken names.)
I bring up the co-gardening because technically, this blog is supposed to be a record of that effort. So, I thought I would let readers know, in case they wanted a pure chicken blog. I should have started the year back when we started seeds, a week or so back, but I was tired and having to do a lot of writing for work anyway. So the year on my yard farm begins today, as we finish the coop and set up the roosts and wait for the snow melt so we can start planting in the ground.