My husband has been dreaming of building a chicken coop for ages. It’s part of his bigger dream of going off the grid and making our family self-sufficient.
On impulse, he called the ad. The following evening, instead of packing for our trip (which we really should have been doing), we traveled an hour away to look at a chicken coop. If we got it, we decided to just leave it on the trailer and deal with it after vacation.
It was a decent sized coop, framed with 2x6’s, and sided with cement board. It weighted approximately 800 lbs and the owner already had it suspended from a giant loader waiting to swing it onto our trailer. We were a little apprehensive about how we would ever get it off the trailer if we took it.
But free is good, right?
So we gave the O.K. and he swung it onto the trailer. In the process, the door and various trim pieces were jarred to the ground.
One leg was split and the coop swayed back and forth on the trailer. It made me worry we would lose it somewhere along the way home. The men on the scene assured me, however, that it was “perfectly fine” and “not going anywhere”.
Hmmm. I vowed to hide on the floor of the van if it did.
Then the owner asked if we wanted the three laying hens left somewhere in the yard.
Of course not! We are NO WHERE NEAR ready to get chickens, I thought. The coop needs to be put back together, we have to build a pen, and I have ton of RESEARCH to do! Not to mention my plans to pack and bake treats before we departed for Pennsylvania!
He added he was only going to kill them once we left. Varmints had killed the rest of the flock and he was seriously done with keeping chickens.
I looked at my husband. He looked at me.
We were both weighing the doomed free hens part with the amount of work we would need to do before we left on our 800 mile road trip. If we took the hens, we wouldn’t be able to leave the coop on the trailer till we got home.
We struggled with indecision for a full minute, tossing ideas back and forth of what we could put up fast for a pen. The second hand dog kennel we picked up for the puppy came to mind…and we said O.K.
They owner’s wife came out to join the chase. In all, there were five of us working to catch the chickens. My little guy tried to help, too. However, the idea of cornering the birds eluded him. Twice, he split them up like bowling pins before we assigned him a place to stand, lol!
Again and again we dove in the bushes and came up with nothing! Who knew they could run so FAST!
Finally snagging one was kind of like giving birth to my firstborn son. I was awfully glad to have it in hand. But I had no idea what I was going to do with it in the weeks to come! When all three were captured, the owner placed them in the open (and still full of poo) coop—along with:
- The little chicken ramp
- the broken door
- the various pieces of trim
- a feeder
- a water thingy
- a heater for the water thingy
- and a metal trash can half-full of feed.
As we carefully pulled out of the drive, my husband and I burst into laughter.
What did we just get ourselves into??
More of our insanity to come in Chickens Part 2: The Ride Home.