Even though the actual work days on my new chicken coop was only 15 days, it took 2 months to finish - if it wasn't raining, the builder never pitched or there was a delay in the delivery of building materials. And, of course, Saturdays and Sundays in between when the builders didn't work.
But at last the coop was finished and Artemis and the girls could move in!
Early Thursday morning on the 20th December 2012, as soon as the girls were out in the garden, we moved in and broke down the old little coop - leaving a small, but obvious empty patch in the corner of the run. I wondered what the girls were gonna think of that when they returned to the coop late-afternoon!
First to go in was some straw bedding for the floor and nesting boxes, followed by the roosts. I put in two roosts at opposite ends of the room just in case there was some fighting, as everybody always wants to be right on the top rung.
As my day progressed, carrying in decorating items, a few of the girls popped in to see what was going on. Kiep, being the alpha-hen, was the first to inspect everything. She gave all the nest boxes a once-over and promptly settled into one of the top nest boxes which, to this day, is her favourite laying place, and beware anybody that dares to occupy it when she needs to do her business!
Hettie and Micky were next to come and have a peek, followed by Snooky and it wasn't long before they joined Kiep, also in the top next boxes.
Some Marigold and Nasturtium pot-pourri on the floor to keep insects at bay - stepping on this releases a lovely fragrance.
Evening time, with everybody getting ready for bed, was quite hilarious! First of all they milled around for a bit, but Artemis soon escorted them into the coop as dusk rolled in and with no old coop to return to. Everybody had a go at every rung of the ladder, waiting for Artemis to settle down and set the trend.
Positions kept on changing as everybody was josstling for the best roost.
Finally Artemis started ascending the ladder - he's such a gentleman, always giving the ladies first choice!
The front window from the outside - we used chicken wire for security, securing the wire with a wooden frame
The front window from the inside, looking out onto the garden. I placed a shelf in front of this window and if I'm a bit late in opening in the mornings, you will find two or three of the girls on the shelf, anxiously peering out to see when I'm coming.
A little duck and a 'peace' sign, ready to go up on the wall somewhere.
An old chandelier will supply lighting. We haven't laid on electricity to the coop yet, I'm having second thoughts, I've read so much about accidents in a coop with electricity that the chandelier might just stay as a decoration. I also put up one of my paintings of Mr. Chook, who no longer is with me, in poster form.
The new coop is situated right next to my bathroom garden (that's the Wild Olive tree in my garden sticking out behind the coop's roof), so it's close enough for me to hear if anything should happen in the coop. The steel door closes snugly at night and enough air can circulate from the mesh-covered window openings. A safe haven against predators and the elements for my chooks!
Well, there you have it! But nothing is ever finished and this on-going project will keep me busy for a long time to come still