Windows and a Personal Gym

We're back! We went on vacation to the Netherlands (see my posts about it here and here(. Then we came back to lots and lots of rain (finally!) and some really bodacious jetlag, so we didn't do much yesterday.

Today, Noel had some cooking he wanted to get done, so I went out to do girly things. It was time to make a chicken gym! I got out the sawzall and cut up the pallets that used to be one of the compost bins.

Cut up pallets

The idea of a chicken gym is very simple: a little structure for the chickens to hop around on and perch on and so forth. They really liked having a compost bin right by the gate, so they could sit up high and watch the yard. This is a more specialized structure for them to sit on.

I thought I might also put a little roof on it at some point, so they have a dry place to sit on rainy days. They will go out in the rain, but they don't much care for it. They've spent the last few days walking around outside looking furious and wet. Not furious enough to go inside and get out of the rain, of course.

The basic design is pretty simple, and it's screwed together so we can a) remove it and b) rearrange it as needed.

Assembled chicken gym

They seem happy with it, although it's hard to tell because they were much more happy about being allowed to run around in the garden all afternoon. As you can see in the photos, they have reduced the surface of their chicken yard to plain earth, and pickings are slim for hungry chickens. There used to be grass in there.

Joan likes the chicken gym

Yesterday, Noel made a run to TAP Plastics for some plastic to fill in the windows. The windows don't need to be a perfect seal; for air circulation and moisture control purposes it's better if they're not. But they are needed to keep water from blowing into the chicken room and wetting the bedding and food in there. This hasn't been an issue yet so we decided to get right on it before it turns into one.

Trying out the plastic windows

We're holding the windows in place with little pegs used to hold up shelves in adjustable bookcases. A friend gave us a large box of those pegs (along with some bookcases) some years ago, and this is probably the best use of them we've come up with.

You drill eight holes on each window (four to a side), and there's a very simple support for the pane of plastic.

Drilling for holes

And here we have our shiny new window in place, with protective sheets removed.

Plastic in place

So you can understand how we're doing this, a detailed photo of one corner of the sheet:

Peg detail

The begs basically just hold the pane in place; in the spring we can remove a couple of pegs and put them and the plastic away until it starts raining again. We don't want to leave the windows on year-round because chickens need a lot of air circulation, and clear windows can also lead to huge heat build-ups inside on summer days.

We're also hoping the windows help block some of the noise when the chickens get a little rowdy, which they do when they are stuck inside all day because of weather.

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posted by ayse on 11/02/08