the storm and the chook run

Last Thursday was a little windy in Wetville. Not far from us a wind speed of 113 kph was recorded.

Which is why when I got home from work on Thursday afternoon, the poultry palace was collapsed to one side and our five chooks were wandering free. I had left our car with Favourite Handyman who wouldn't be home until after dark and there was no one around who I could ask to help me make emergency chook arrangements in the hideous, wet, very cold and windy weather.

I put them inside the temporary shelter. I walked around outside, got very cold, went inside, thought more, went searching outside again, repeated this pattern umpteen times and then some more after that.

Before dark, I moved the temporary shelter over to the big tree, under the tree hut, where it appeared to be less windy.

Later on, I went out for a couple of hours of communal knitting (and gorgeous baking) and got back home soon after eleven pm. Looking out the study window, I noticed a chook. Hmmmm. Chooks should not be at the height of the study window. I went outside with the torch and found that the temporary shelter had blown over and the poor chooks were trying to roost on the shelter cloth which was supposedly protecting our lemon tree from the gale.

Hmmmmmmmmm. I found the wheelbarrow, put the chooks in it (some kind of wind shelter) and put the barrow inside the temporary shelter and tied the shelter to the tree hut post. Yes they did make it to the morning.

Since then, on Friday and Saturday morning I let them out for a few hours to go and lay their eggs in their usual laying hutch (solid wood and unaffected by the storm). I put bird netting on top of the temporary shelter so they didn't fly out and eat even more of my garden. I came home on Saturday morning with more bird netting to protect my punga raised bed to find one chook already in there, eating what they blackbirds had not yet devoured. Since then they have been kept inside and had to lay their eggs (a reduced number unsurprisingly) inside the temporary shelter.

It is time for a change. Favourite Handyman should not need to rebuild the chook run every Spring. No longer is bamboo in fashion round here. We looked at building a geodesic chook run. They looked extremely funky and yet ... and yet... It was going to cost us almost $300 for the pvc pipiung alone and the instructions we looked at noted the vulnerability in windy situations.

Perhaps situations like ours?

This morning when we were disassembling the tangle which was once a proud poultry palace, the neighbours suggested we build it up against our shared fence. Whiich I had wondered about but canned on the grounds of it being cheeky to ask the neighbours this. But as they had suggested it and were very happy with the idea, off we went. FH went to Mitre 10 and bought 24 lengths of H3 2 by 2 treated wood. We have the basic structure up (and being rained upon this very minute) and if the weather is moderately kind to us tomorrow, we will get it finished then and move our chooks in. It is longer and lower and is going to look more aesthetically pleasing than our super sized bamboo run. I am going to dig the poor, bashed up feijoa trees out tomorrow - they fared very badly from the crashed structure. We will put shadecloth and plastic on top (plus wire netting) but only wire netting on the side. This should mean I can see them from the kitchen window in the morning which is something I really missed when the old structure got more and more cladding on the outside.

I've got a lot of chook damage to my garden to repair or replace, but for the moment, our superb protein producers have first claim on my time. The errant camera which is clearly on its way out but sometimes deigns to work, would not work today. Shame, I would like to be able to document this project.


petersteel said…
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