Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Moving the chicken coop

So over the Easter weekend we were rather busy! Not only did we fit in 2 easter egg hunts and Easter lunch with some close friends who have a daughter a bit younger than Little M & the girls' paternal grandparents, but we moved the chicken coop from the old location, where it was when we bought the property, to its new home in the new side garden!

The mister and I were about to start putting the temporary fence up around my new garden area for the year when I realized that if we were going to move the chicken coop at all, it was really now or never. You see, once we have the temporary garden fence up, the next step would be to start installing the fencing on the log posts we've been installing. And both of those fences would preclude moving the chicken coop into that space.

We were wavering because
  1. I wasn't sure the chicken coop was structurally sound enough to survive being jacked onto sled logs and dragged around the property, and
  2. I wasn't sure we had the time or energy this spring to devote to moving and leveling the coop into the new side garden, getting the outside secure enclosure disassembled, moved across, and reassembled, all in addition to getting some sort of fenced new garden area set up along side the coop in the new side garden area (not to mention the normal spring chores we have!).
But since the mister's mom & stepdad were here for the weekend, we decided that if it was going to happen at all, this was the time, and so we decided to just go for it, because the benefits of having it over in the new area far outweighed the additional work and risks moving it would mean. After all, if we hadn't of moved it, the coop would have been where it was for at least 5 years until we could afford to build a new coop and garden shed in the new side garden. Since we've been having problems having the coop over there in terms of dog-chicken interactions & poop eating, we decided the hassles involved with moving it would be far outweighed by not having the hassle of the dogs and the chickens overlapping in the existing orchard area in the future. Of course, it means that we are now thinking about relocating the pig pen as well, but since we aren't set yet on having another pig this year, we may have next spring to get that relocated to a better spot.

So, Saturday around noon we started jacking up the chicken coop, in preparation for placing logs under it to make a sleigh to drag it around on. This went fairly successfully, the mister had a pretty solid idea of what he was doing and it seemed to work just fine. There was a slight hiccup maneuvering around the closest corner of the pig pen, but the mister's stepdad was able to wiggle the fence post loose enough to bend it sideways, and so we will just have to re-set it later to get it secure again, no big deal.

The real issue came once we were down in the bottom field. There was a patch of ice/snow and a muddy patch placed in just the right locations, near a tree we were trying to go slowly around, and the jeep got a bit stuck due to the weight of the coop behind it. In the process of trying to get going again, the chicken coop was pulled with too hard of a pop, and it came right off the log sleigh! Oops... Luckily, after a bit of re-jacking and manuevering, the guys got the sleigh back under the coop and the jeep unstuck, and headed up and around to get the coop into the new side garden area. By then, it was almost suppertime. They were able to mostly level the coop, although the floor joists had been torn off in the move, so Sunday morning a bit more work was required to get the floor adequately supported again.

Sunday evening the mister and I were back out there, moving the outside secure enclosure across from the old location, and tidying up the old coop area. We wanted to have at least the side fencing back up on the outside enclosure in the new area so that we could let the poor cooped-up chickens out, but we didn't quite get done in time, so the chickens will have to make do until later this week when the mister is on his days off.

Of course, we also didn't quite get around to fencing my new garden area off from the dogs, so planting in the new area will have to wait until later this week too... Not a big deal, since that area isn't at all the priority this year, and I did get around 10 wheelbarrow-fulls of dirt/chicken manure moved across from the old outside pen area to mix in with the soil. There is also a bunch of pig manure to be moved across from last year too, and any number of other chores to get that new garden area starting to be more functional, so I figure this next month we'll slowly work on it, fence post by fence post, wheelbarrow-load by wheelbarrow-load, and just not stress about it at all! :)
Slowly tidying up the area where the coop used to be. We haven't quite decided what will end up over there, but we've got nothing but time.

I love March and April because we just get so much done around the property every year!


  1. We used to haul stuff around and pull out juniper, etc, with an old Scout that we kept out here. Can't tell you the number of times we stuck the thing. Am sending sympathy! But you did get the move done. Good for the two of you!
    Small wheelbarrow loads, hmm, with your centre of balance off. (Do I sound like your mother? Oh, dear!)

    1. Yup, we got it done and nothing was irreparibly damaged in the move - definite success! :)
      I'll cut you some slack this time since with them traveling I'm assuming you guys are looking after the house, and doesn't that come with some of my mother's usual mothering responsibilities? ;) I was very careful and took lots of breaks, plus I got Rory to dump the wheelbarrow for me :)

  2. Great job! Sounds like quite an adventure. If the old chicken coop area isn't too far from the house, it would be great for veggies with all of that chicken manure already imbedded into the soil. Love hearing about your progress!

    1. We've actually been moving the top 6+ inches of dirt/manure from the old coop area to the new garden space, figuring just that, that it will be great for veggies! :) I figured with the 3 dogs, the chances of that area growing good veggies that didn't get trampled to death would be pretty slim!


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