I am so ready for spring weather. Every single time I plan a project for the weekend, it has either been cold or raining. The same goes for this weekend, but I am not giving up. I am bound and determined to get my chicken coop built so I can get my chicks at the beginning of May. I have been waiting until May because I want to make absolutely certain they don’t get cold. Where I am, when we have freak ice storms or snow storms in spring, power outages come along with the storms. I am so worried this will happen and it is extremely rare for snow or ice to happen in May. (It did snow last May, but we have a generator and kerosene heaters so, I will keep my babies warm no matter what.)
I am so thoroughly excited about having chickens again. I have not had chickens since I was very little, 9 or 10 years old. Back then, I wasn’t responsible for the well-being and care of the chickens, but I adored sneaking into the coop to collect the eggs from nesting boxes. I Remember walking into the coop once and my favorite chicken, whose name was Big Bertha because she was the largest hen we had, had become broody. I went to collect her eggs and she started puffing up her feathers and yelling at me in rather loud clucks and screeches. She pecked me and I knew better than to try again. It took some time, but she eventually hatched four of the cutest fuzzy little chicks. My mother being the crazy woman she is, allowed me to carry these chicks around in a basket all day with Big Bertha chasing me around trying to get her babies back. I fed them from my hand and made sure they stayed warm in their basket, even though it was at least 90° outside I had an old dish towel in the basket as a blanket. Eventually, they lost their downy fluff and feathered out, which meant no more basket rides, but they were the sweetest hens my mother ever had. The single rooster was a bit off and acted more like a hen than a rooster. He was friendly and loved hugs so, I guess I did something right as a child with the chickens.
Hubby has insisted that we have at least one rooster. I have an irrational fear of roosters because one of my mother’s roosters was particularly mean and liked to chase me and peck at my heels before fluffing out his feathers and flapping his wings at me. I was quite small as a child so this rooster was pretty scary. Speaking of irrational fears, I also fear geese. I was playing in the yard minding my own business and one of the geese decided to bite me between my shoulder blades. This mean bird latched onto me and would not let go. I was about 3-4 years old at the time so the goose was approximately the same height as I was. So, I am running across the yard with a goose latched onto my back, wings spread, and I’m screaming bloody murder. My momma said it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen and she had to stop laughing before she came and rescued me from the goose. That goose ended up being dinner that night because it chose to attack me. I don’t like eating goose either.
Anyway, back to the chicken coop, I am determined to have it built and have a run set up by this weekend. I have waited three years for chickens. I am not waiting any longer. I had to wait for chickens because of the well deciding to break at very inconvenient times, other things would break, kids going to prom and graduating, all of these things cost money and were more important than my wanting some birds. This year, I budgeted for the coop, run, chicks, feed, and supplies as well as an emergency buffer just in case something suddenly decides to break. (Something always breaks on the homestead.)
The coop will be build from plywood, pallets, metal roofing sheets, and some construction fabric. Before you even say, well pallets are terrible quality wood, let me tell you my experience with heat treated pallets. My dad was a terrible carpenter, but he made us wooden toys and built me a table and chair set from pallets for my tea parties with my dolls. I was 3 years old when he built this table. I am now 38. I still have that table and it’s the strongest piece of furniture I own. It wasnt painted or sealed. He didn’t even sand it from what I am told and it has stood up to the test of time. Therefore, the frame of my coop will be made from pallets. I am hopeful that this coop will last as long as my table has.
I grew up on a homestead on a very small lot of land just outside city limits. This meant that the neighbors had pigs, everyone had chickens, everyone had a garden and families would swap produce to have more variety. This is the feeling of home that I intend to recreate. My children grew up with fresh baked bread, food cooked from scratch, and I bought farm fresh eggs because the ones in the grocery store don’t taste as good. (Someone once told me that they were almost a month old before they reach the consumer. That’s terrifying.) I want all of the grandbabies, when they come along, to come visit and see chickens, a garden, farm animals, and experience that slower way of living where everything is homemade and just tastes better. Sheets are dried on a clothesline and every evening in the spring and summer end with a tall glass of ice cold sweet tea on the back porch. This is my dream and I will make it a reality.