Fables of the Reconstruction

Work on the henhouse continues. I have long ago stopped adding up the costs. The latest changes are:

1. A toe guard. It turns out that there are gaps between the boards on the wood floor that are big enough for their little legs to slip through. The floor ends rather suddenly mid-way through the henhouse, then there’s a step down to the concrete floor, and it was at that edge where Dolley’s leg got caught, and thank goodness I was there because she let out the most pitiful scream anyone has ever heard and scared the other chickens half to death. So we nailed a board along the edge to prevent their legs from getting caught.

2. A hardware cloth screen inside the roof. The roof is made of old wavy plastic greenhouse stuff, and it seems like a vulnerable point where critters could get in. We have been locking the girls up each night in The Vault, a secure little wooden box with a door that locks shut, where they are absolutely safe. First, it is very unlikely something could get into the henhouse, and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to get in the Vault.

There are several problems with this arrangement, however.

First, they don’t want to sleep there. They want to sleep in the rafters up by the roof. That’s where they put themselves every night, and every night we have to move their sleepy warm little bodies to the Vault and endure great protests. (When Scott told his grandfather, who always had chickens around as a kid, about our arrangement, he said, “Well, of course they don’t want to sleep in a box. What are you doing putting them in a box? They’re chickens. They want to roost up high.”)

Second, we feel compelled to get up quite early and let them out. It doesn’t seem fair to loll around in bed until nine while they are locked up with only a tiny amount of food or water. Plus, they’re birds. They like to be up and about in the morning.

Third, when we go out of town, we’d have to have the pet sitter come twice a day, once at night to lock them up and once early in the morning to let them out. This way, we can just keep them in the henhouse when we’re gone and the pet sitter can come once a day to let them out for a little while and feed them.

So we lined the ceiling with this sturdy mesh stuff and boy, was it a hassle. Lots of nailing over your head, lots of shoving unwieldy mesh into odd little corners, etc. I am worn out. I hope the girls appreciate all that we do for them.

Tonight, then will be their first night to sleep in the rafters. The henhouse has solid floors, wire mesh buried belowground to prevent tunnelers, mesh-lined ceiling, etc., but I still think having them sleep on the rail at the foot of our bed would be the best option. Have been unable to convince Scott, however.

So we’ll see if I am able to get through the night without sneaking outside, taking them down from their nice comfortable rafter, and locking them up for one last night.