Chickens on wheels

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After spending about six months in our side yard, our flock of chickens–which now numbers five–had left their mark. There was still plenty of grass left in their run, but they’d carved paths through the lawn and created depressions where they took dust baths. And we wanted to get their chicken mojo working in our garden proper. So, after the summer crops were done, we prepared to move the coop (and all its paraphernalia) about 30 feet or so.

Now, we’d originally wanted to build a lightweight coop for ease in moving, but as it turned out the chicken house is more than the two of us can lift. So my husband grabbed a kid’s bike from freecycle, removed the wheels, and added them to the back of the coop. This looked pretty funny, but it did the trick. We were able to muster just enough strength to pick up the coop from the front and drag it uphill to its new spot.

Ready to roll. (The plastic is to keep the rain out, by the way.)

The chickens were running loose as we strained to relocate their home, and when dusk fell they proved what very tiny brains they have. First they clustered on the old coop site, as though their house were about to reappear. When they realized it wouldn’t, they began trying to roost anywhere they could: in our porch, on the garden cart, in a rhododendron bush. We had to catch them and hand-deliver them to the coop.

The old coop spot is now a garden-bed-to-be: soft and amply fertilized. We’ll be doing some composting there over the winter, for good measure. And with the chicken fence enclosing much of our existing garden, the girls are now working their magic amongst the dying peppers and tomatoes. It’s very satisfying.

Any of you other chicken-keepers changing your setup for the winter?

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