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Manifest destiny was the belief widely held by Americans in the 19th century that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. I am becoming convinced that the same can be applied to chickens and our backyard. Our backyard is the wild west, just waiting to be settled and conquered. Our chickens are the settlers/conquerers.

How have we made it to this point? Here’s the recap: we purchase a coop on wheels, thinking we can move it all over the yard. The coop turns out to be nearly too heavy for one person to move with super wimpy wheels that probably won’t last a season of moving it around our lumpy yard anyway. Still, all seems well – until we go on vacation and three of our four chickens cook in the heat of their attached run. We vow to free range the chickens and look for ways to provide them with more cover. Then we have a hawk run-in AND a chicken escape in the span of two days.

The latest revised plan, then, is to give the girls as much free range time as we can, provided we are physically with them, and make their run able to sustain them happily otherwise. We also wanted the run to be secure so we can someday go on a weekend trip somewhere. Wouldn’t that be amazing? A trip! Away from the house! For more than an afternoon!

We started with this lovely little coop.

20120329. Coop and yard.

The coop, pre-chicken.

After yesterday and Chris’ mad know-how and building skillz, we have this brilliant piece of backyard manifest destiny!

20120908. Extending the chicken run.

Laying out the extended floor. We’ve added 32 square feet of space to their run.

20120908. Extending the chicken run - chicken view.

While Chris continues to attach the sides and roof, I do the VERY important work of documenting the view.

20120908. Extending the chicken run.

All done! Look at that sexy door. We also filled up the new section with dirt and grass clippings to encourage the girls to scratch for bugs and to help level the floor a bit as it sifts down through the wire.

20120908. Beaker and Dino Puppy explore.

Dino Puppy and Beaker, the Easter Eggers, take a stroll.

20120908. "If I can't see you, you can't see me."

Construction can be hard on a chicken. I call this one, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you.”

20120908. Extending the chicken run.

The finished product!

20120908. 4/5 of the chickens.

I think they’ll like it (also, look how GIANT Edgar, the Australorp, has gotten! And how little Little Red still is).

All this… and can you believe we’re STILL waiting for our first egg?! Jeez, chickens.