Working in the Rain on the Turkey's Coop
Others, know enough, but continue to work in the rain, even into the dark with headlamps.
If you've been around or known our family for any length of time, you'd quickly discover that we're not afraid of hard work, even in the less desirable weather conditions.
Yesterday was no exception. There's a deadline, and work must continue, even if it's more pleasant to be working on a sunny, warm autumn day, than on a humid, rainy autumn day.
Thankfully, while doing the morning "critter chores" with Mom & Dad learning the intricacies, it was only misting lightly. But by the time Mom & I headed back outside to work on the "3rd world coop construction project", the rain had increased its intensity. So cloaked in rain gear and working under the cover of leaky metal roofing, construction resumed as normal.
Tuesday's project was to finally make the turkeys a coop. They've been sleeping in a metal dog crate, which is moved daily, but they were getting cramped. While I would prefer a separate turkey coop, there was a medium-size structure with 3 walls & a roof that we'd already erected. This area is referred to as the "Pine Tree Condos" , built according to the "3rd world pattern". It started out as a pile of recycled building materials, metal roofing panels & scraps of hardware cloth & wire - most of which we moved from our previous home one year ago! It was time to either use it or scrap it. Hence, the "Pine Tree Condos" idea came about. The first one to be occupied, though it wasn't totally finished was Rainbow & her 2nd hatch of chicks. They moved out, we completed the construction, just in time for Lydia and her 20 hatchery chicks to take up occupancy. The "condo" next door to the left was not finished, but seemed to be a good "temporary" location to construct the turkey coop.
We'd acquired an old screen door, which we cut down to size & Mom had previously added 1/2"x1" rabbit cage wire to, sandwiched between thin boards to provide extra strength. That became the door to the turkey coop.
Only two pieces of wood had to be cut during this project, all the rest were like puzzle pieces that when we looked for a piece to fill up a gap, God opened our eyes to see the perfect fit. It was incredible. And though we were working in the rain, God as the foreman on the job was an incredible "boss", showing us how to make a pile of "junk wood" into a useable structure.
We'd been given many old, old windows by a long-time family friend, and I originally intended to use them as cold frames in the garden. But when the "Pine Tree Condo" project started, the Lord again gave me the idea to use them as part of the walls. So, the bottom of the walls are pallets of every shape & size, with old windows on the top.
(Warning: rabbit trail!) On Sunday afternoon, we met for the 2nd time a lady who we'd swapped roosters with in the spring. This time, she bought some of my extra SFH & CH pullets. While talking about our chickens & how she'd had several predator attacks this year, she mentioned something that perked up my ears. One of the attacks had occurred, because the predator had broken the window on the coop & entered that way. We both though that windows were "safe", and I immediately had the thought of all those old, old windows that I was using for the "new" coops. But then, another picture came to mind of putting all the scrap pieces of hardware cloth & rabbit cage wire over those windows. So, if any of them break, there's at least a "back-up" protection in the form of the wire. Thank You, Lord, for giving us wisdom!
So, fast forward to Tuesday and working in the rain, and we did just that - put the wire over many of the windows. I also had a role of 1/2"x1" wire that we used to line the bottom 1/2 of the pallets. It can be re-used again, but will provide extra ventilation for the turkeys, since it was quite humid in there due to all the rain. One of the boards I needed to cut for the door "frame", the leftover piece of 2x4 was just perfect as a roost, with a little help from the hammer to squeeze it into place. Over and over again, I was amazed at how one by one, the scraps of wood got used up & together, it formed a nice little coop! Granted, it wouldn't win any awards for "cuteness", but for the recycling factor, I think the only "new" things were the washers that held in the wire (which is "new", but has been in storage for years), some of the longer 2", 2.5" & 3" star-head screws that I just spent close to $150 on at Lowes. Yes, in one year's time I've used 25# of 2.5" star-head screws, and this time the price was the same for the 3" screws as the 2.5" ones. So, I opted for the 25# box of 3" screws. But, the other screws, mostly Phillips heads were re-cycled, ones that were taken out of previous "construction" projects. Yes, some were stripped out & were useless, but there was at least a few hundred screws that were re-useable, albeit rusty.
By the time we "finished" the turkey's coop, it was dark & we were working by headlamp, while under a leaky metal roof. Leaky, because of the previous screw holes & because I didn't put the roof in the right direction. Otherwise, I would have had to cut the roof panels into multiple sections for it to all be covered. It's the disadvantage of using recycled materials and building in a non-square, non-symmetrical way. But, the advantage to a leaky coop roof is that the bedding will decompose faster, since it's just a dirt floor with shavings & grass pellets on top. I want to also experiment with adding wood chips, but for now, the others bedding materiel allowed me to finish the project.
The last step was to carry the turkeys from their nightly roost spot on the SFH's fence to their new coop. The one Jake remained on the new roost, but the other 2 flew to the ground. As we shone our headlamps on them, they stretched out their necks, looking like "where are we?"
To make sure they know where "home" is, they will remain inside their new coop for a few days, and hopefully, they'll learn where to roost at night. When they were small, I could carry all 3 in my arms back to their dog crate, but now just one of them is an armful!
Because it was raining & dark, I didn't take very many photos. But, when I do, I'll post them.