I wanted to protect my hens from rats, snakes, weasels, raccoons, hawks and possible nuclear destruction, so I had the Fowl Fortress built. I was going to try to do it myself (ever taunting the gods of construction with my ineptness in this field). I bought Redicrete, t-posts and aviary wire. Then I came to my senses. I’m having shoulder and back problems, I wanted the coop to be done by the time I left to pick up my daughter from Oregon last week, and I really didn’t want the coop to be an eyesore.
And I only wanted the best for my girls!
So I hired the contractor who put up my wooden fence a few years ago. He said he’d do it over the weekend. Of course, not only didn’t it get done until 7 pm the night before I left the state, but he’d run over a whole lot of plants with his trailer, broke an irrigation line and a small tree, was scooping buckets of pond water to use for the cement because he didn’t see the HOSE and HOSE BIB that was right there (I found two buckets left over the weekend, and they had live mosquito fish and a pond snail in them! Ummm… habitat area! No-kill zone! Gee!). Frustration mounted and didn’t make my tension headaches go away despite chiropractic adjustments. And the coop was far more expensive than I had imagined. Survey question: how many of you who have had a construction project, have been given a no-show excuse of “a broken water heater in San Diego (substitute a city that is close but not too close) ? For me, it has been two contractors who have used that excuse. I’m catching on.
Still, I ended up with a nice-looking, sturdy coop. It has a wire roof, and the wire goes down a little ways into the soil, but on one side the rats can still scoot under, so I need to secure it with rocks and more dirt. The girls love the coop because they can range around during the day safely, and they have plenty of good dirt bath places as well. I had a 4-foot door installed so that I could get large things in and out. Aviary wire is small-gauge wire, smaller than poultry wire. It should keep most vermin out. It is doubled at the bottom which will help keep small snakes from getting in or getting caught in it. I can also subdivide the coop on the inside if I wanted to put other birds in there (frizzles? ducks?) and keep them from being pecked by the ladies.
The two coops are inside and the girls mix it up when it comes to egg laying. I want to get the quail run inside, too, but it will take a little more lifting power than just my daughter and me. I’ve moved it myself, out of the truck and down the property, by leverage, ramps, and tilting it over onto my garden cart so that it is balanced on part of the roof. I tried that again the day before I left, but the ground was sloped and I lost control of the whole thing. I managed to get it back down for the quail and only did minor damage to myself. Wonder Woman I am no longer!