Palatial Poultry Palace & Rogue Roosters

Well hey there!

I dream up ideas. I guess you could call me a dreamer. I’ll own that title. I’m pretty resourceful when it comes to finding materials for projects around here. Often times that means reusing, refurbishing & even scavenging from junk piles. I’m not afraid to dumpster dive. Count me in! I’m a strong believer in the “do what you can, with what you have, where you are” philosophy. Dreaming up ideas & finding ways to reuse things are probably a couple of my strong suits. However, the projects I have floating around in my head seem so impossible to me at times. I suck at the details. I can’t measure things. I have no grasp on construction whatsoever & although I can joyfully hammer a nail & I’m pretty darn capable of using a battery-operated drill these days, I’m fairly useless at birthing my ideas into a reality without the help of a logical, detail-oriented human being. That’s where my dreamboat, crafty craftsman, hunk of a husband steps up to the plate & never ceases to amaze me. The man has all of the right tools, foresight, skill & desire to take the figments of my imagination & basically transport them into our physical realm – aka: the backyard. Honestly, he’s awesome & motivated & capable & by God I’m thankful every darn day that we’re playing on the same team & have a similar vision for our lives. In my very best, totally tubular 1985(ish) valley girl voice, let me just say, “That dude is so bitchin”…

So anyway, after several weeks of contemplating how we could tackle the palatial poultry palace project, we managed to put our heads together & create something completely funky, on a shoestring budget & best of all, we did it together. I’m a little proud… Can you tell? It took about 2 weekends of work. One weekend was devoted specifically to cutting down the structure, which had formerly served as a child’s backyard play gym. We had to remove swings & slides, remove protruding pieces of lumber to make it more square & then we had to find a way to load the massive thing up onto the back of a trailer & transport it from the neighbors house to our chicken pasture. An awkward & painfully heavy load to manhandle, but where there is a will, there is a way. This weekend was the fun part. We collected all of the necessary materials & physically started the building process. We kept a bonfire burning through out the weekend so we could enjoy the scent of wood smoke while we worked. We picnicked & even napped a little next to the fire between working hours. It was a true autumn welcome on the homestead. The project went by quickly & was relatively uneventful. In other words, I used power tools & we didn’t need to call 911 and/or fashion a tourniquet out of Josh’s belt for any reason, so…. Success! We made some wonderful memories & our new poultry palace will surely serve our feathered friends well for many, many years to come.

Speaking of the feathered critters… My chicken loving guru friend Chanda has been caring for all of our meat birds alongside her flock in her backyard, until we could come up with a coop solution out here at the house. On Monday, we decided to officially move the roosters into their new palace. All 14 of them. By ourselves. With the exception of our two toddlers, which as you can imagine are a huge help when it comes to wrangling roosters. Anyway, we were so excited & it all seemed so simple. Chanda would load them up, drive them out here, we’d open the fence, free them into the pasture & then shower them with praise, some munchies & some nice, cool water. I had this picture perfect, prairie homestead vision of welcoming them into their new hobby farm fantasyland. It would surely be epic! Oh… It was epic all right. SO very epic. I’m such a naïve farmer wanna-be. What should have taken 20 minutes, ultimately took 3 hours of hard labor. Okay, so maybe not HARD LABOR, but VERY. TEDIOUS. LABOR. The kind where your body aches the next day because:

A) You’ve been neglecting your sun salutations for months and you’re almost 40 years old.

B) You are not used to squatting & being hunched over for 3 hours straight while tying ridiculously tangled pieces of netting around the base of a fence so that your abundance of roosters cannot escape through the posts… which they did… EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.

C) Chasing 14 escapee roosters is simply hard & tiresome work.

Yes. We happily welcomed all of our feathered friends into the pasture, only to watch them spread out, split up & slip through the fence posts & out into the big, wide world within minutes of their arrival! FUN. Apparently we didn’t take into account the fact that the roosters are still rather small. At any rate, Chanda (Oh my dear, patient, positive “we’ll find a way” friend Chanda) decided to take what little netting we had on hand & attach it to the lower half of the fence line to keep the birds in.  This basically took FOREVER. I only wish someone had a video of this situation. We have two toddlers trapped in the poultry pasture & 14 birds prancing around aimlessly in the woods. By the way, did you know it’s IMPOSSIBLE to herd chickens? About every 7 seconds or so, our two massive roosters (Mr. Darcy & Vince) came along & tried to attack the rogue baby roosters. Each time Chanda would take off running after the big roosters while waving & swinging a bed sheet lasso-style around in the air over her head. I could hear her yelling things in the distance like “See! They think I’m a big hawk! You just have to act like a big hawk!” I kept thinking about how this entire situation would look from a distance. Surely people would assume we were on some sort of hallucinogenic. I repeatedly thought about how the two of us could likely star on our own reality show. Suddenly Chanda managed to chase one of the baby roosters toward me… “Grab it!” She shouted. Of course, I was gazing off in the distance, dreaming up a marketing pitch & a name for our new television series. Again… I’m a dreamer.

“You need to catch them when I chase them toward you!” she shouted.
“Oh. Sorry,” I said.
Imagine if a neighbor or someone truly did happen to be spying on us from a distance. The netting we were working with was so thin that one can barely see it while holding it in hand. Here we were, lifting it up, stretching it way above our heads trying to spread it out so we could attach it to the fence. It was getting stuck to everything in sight, weeds, fencing, grass, trees, our hair, EVERYTHING. So we’re spinning around, reaching for the heavens & whatnot, yanking the netting from here to there, yet it cannot be seen with the naked eye, so we totally look like lunatics, doing some sort of trippy modern dance routine on a fine, sunny afternoon in the woods. Oh my word. I guess you just had to be there. Anyway…. Somehow, someway by the sheer grace of God above, the roos managed to waltz their back into the gate about 10 minutes before we finished attaching the devil’s netting.  We ended up only having to chase down a couple of birds. It was a day to remember. Or forget. However you want to look at the situation.  At any rate, everyone is home, safe & sound, tucked in tight & enjoying their new palatial poultry palace.
As always… Thanks for visiting Wildwood Acres.
ABOVE: The original structure after we removed all of the slides & swings, etc.
 ABOVE: Almost done! We used leftover cabinet doors from our kitchen renovation.
 ABOVE: Our funky coop is finito!
 ABOVE: Some of the roos & turkeys enjoying their new pasture.

 


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