Chickens new covered play area.

It’s been a busy couple of weekends in the garden.

Since the summer I’ve been meaning to sort out various things to do with the chicken run. The nylon netting has been getting more holes in it than a pair of fishnet stockings, and I’ve been patching it up every time I see one. Some are just down to general wear and tear, but others have been made but those naughty little buggers with tails that are still finding their way in my garden. That will be another job and another story for another weekend.

So with the help of the kids (Emily, Kai and George) we firstly put the girlies into one of the brassica cages (these also need the same doing to them, again another time). This wasn’t hard because they love having a scratch around in the soil, throw some mealworms in as well and they’re as happy as anything. I’m talking about the chickens and not the kids. And we then started on their run.

First the tarpaulin came off, although most of that had ripped the netting in the latest bout of strong winds we’d had, and then we proceeded to remove all the netting. While some were doing that, I needed to attached some more batons because the chickens were also getting a new roof and sides to their run to hopefully stop the rain from getting in and causing their run to get incredibly squidgy.

Emily helped me with the sawing and measuring of the wood and we wandering from the front to the back of the house with various pieces and attached them. George enjoyed the drilling and to be honest was actually very good at it. He’s 6 foot 1 and still growing, so having that extra height was very handy. I think it made him feel rather manly.

We stopped for lunch and then carried on after wards.

As the day was getting on, we were rocking. George was using the staple gun to attach the new wire, I’ve got very small holed chicken wire. This is the only thing our little visitors cannot gnaw through, although I think they’ll have a bloody good try. Kai had to go and do some work, but he helped when he could. Mark was very useful as well and kept bringing us drinks which was greatly appreciated.

I still had the chickens new door to sort out, the old one was a little on the flimsy side and I wanted to make some more solid and secure. While George and Emily were happy with the staple gun and the wire, Kai and I went into the garage to make the new door. Kai had a go at sawing, which I think he enjoyed and very soon we had completed the frame.

Emily and George had finished securing the wire, so while I was removing the old door, hinges and putting them in a different place, and various other bits and pieces, George wired the door. It was getting quite late and the light was going. The chicken, knowing it was nearly bedtime were getting quite vocal and restless because they wanted to go back in their house and start to get ready for bed or perch.

We managed to get the new door and new locks on just before the light was nearly gone.

When the new door was completely secured and attached, we opened the brassica cage and the girlies practically ran straight out and into their house, bless them. They had a quick nibble before they hopped up onto their perch and snuggled next to each other and settled down for the night.

This weekend we then tackled the plastic sheeting to keep them safe and dry. This wasn’t thin plastic sheeting, but polycarbonate plastic sheeting. I ordered it through Screwfix and there were loads of different sizes and depths to choose from. Knowing that it can get quite windy were we are, especially when the wind blows from the north sea, across the field and then straight into our garden I knew I needed something fairly substantial. There were special screws that you had to get as well, which have a protective plastic cover so you won’t break the sheet. I measured all the areas I needed and clearly got it right as I have only small pieces left over.

Even though we were using the drill, then chickens didn’t seem to mind the noise so they stayed in their run this time. We did the sides first and then did the top. It was all going rather smoothly which was a bit of a worry.

George enjoyed screwing in the screws, it’s good to get them into this sort of thing when they’re still living at home. I remember sitting up on the flat roof of the garage once with my dad as he put down tar and felt. He was a builder by trade and built the garage himself. Constructing things has always fascinated me. I’ve made staging for my greenhouse before which lasted about 10 years, the bottoms rotted and I then got the metal ones that I have now. I’m happy to hang wall paper and paint as well. I’m quite a hands on sort of girl.

The final screw went in and it was getting dark. I believe Emily said, “We sure like to cut things fine,” or something like that. There I was up the step ladder drilling in the last few screws and out of the corner of my eye I noticed I was being watched.

“Hello there,” I said.

“Baaaaaa!” came the reply.

How long they’d been watching me for I have no idea. But now the chickens have a new door, new rat proof wire, and hopefully their run won’t get so wet when it rains. All I need to do now is to sort out some guttering (need to get some) and then have it drain into a water butt (I’ve already got this), and then they’re all set. Hopefully I can do that next weekend.

Phew!!

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