29 March 2008

Some projects finished!

Well, today has been a day of finishing many projects that have been hanging over our head for the last few weeks. We have 7 little chickens that were ready to fly out of their brooding box and a cubby needing painting.

It all started last week. We had a big trip to Bunnings to buy all the necessary materials. We bought polypipe (found in the plumbing aisle), connectors, and some chicken wire, and of course, paint for the cubby, 4 litres of Pink Tiara! The sheltered bit we planned to build with corflute (imagine corrugated cardboard, only plastic), which we already had leftover from building our bathroom (that is a story for another day!) Only when we arrived home of course, it was pouring!

It lessened off in the afternoon though, and we put together the polypipe frame for the chicken tractor. I chose polypipe over wood for two reasons. One, if won't rot when it gets wet (there was no way I was using treated timber, hate the stuff), and two, it will be light so it will be easily movable. That is the object of a chicken tractor. It isn't designed as a stationary pen, but rather to be moved from place to place to give the chickens fresh grass to live on.

Initially I was planning on making a rectangular design, like this one of at The Frugal World of Doc's, but in the end I decided on a triangular model, as it gave us a larger space for less pipe. Ours is now 3 metres by 1.5 metres, which initially seemed huge, but now I think is just the right size.

This is about how far we got last weekend. We ended up having to put an extra support in the middle, as 3 metres is just too long a stretch, and the polypipe was bowing in the middle. This meant going up to get more connectors (still didn't get enough, as you can see from the tape), only my car broke down on the way! Luckily I was close enough to walk home, and DH went back and sat with the car till RACQ came. It wasn't a cheap repair, but at least it's going again now!

While we were waiting for my dear sister who came and took me back to Bunnings to buy the connectors we needed, we got to painting. We had a very enthusiastic painter in DD, who was COVERED from head to toe (including hair) in paint by the end of it. She had a ball though, and most of it washed out. If you ever visit our place, don't forget to check under the cubby, to see her artistry.

And here it is finished! It is VERY pink, but that is what DD wanted. We are going to get some darker pink to do around the door and windows, and possibly some stencils on the veranda palings just to leaven the pinkness.

We also put down some weedmat in the sandpit area, ready for the sand that will arrive on Monday! So looking forward to having a sandpit again. I'll have to pull out all our sandpit toys. And yes, it was getting dark by the time we finished. I could have brightened the photos, but figured I'd leave them natural(ish).

And back to the chicken tractor, here it is finished! The whole side (on the other side) lifts up to get them in and out. I will add a roost in the covered end for them too, but haven't gotten to that yet. We did have a few dramas when it wasn't really square, and the door didn't line up properly, but we got it all lined up in the end. It's not very secure yet, as we don't have wire all around it (putting wire about 30cm out from the edges on the ground will prevent dogs/foxes getting in. They will try to dig under the edges, but don't know enough to go out past the wire), then we will peg it down with tent pegs to make it secure.

Initially they all huddled up in one spot, looking around as if to say "What are you doing, leaving us here all alone?" But after a while, they started to wander around and enjoy themselves. Well, more like jump and fly! They pecked around all afternoon, and we only bought them in again when it was getting dark. If it were summer, I would leave them out overnight (once we had a secure pen), but it's just getting too cold here now.

And here is a closeup of our little babies enjoying their space! They are getting quite big now, and have pretty much fully feathered wings, and are getting feathers sprouting everywhere. It's amazing how quickly they grow! I think they look so pretty, with their dark red feathers, such a beautiful colour. I'm so glad I went for Rhode Island Reds, they are just the prettiest chooks.

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