Chicken coops on the brain

For the past few days, I’ve had chicken coops on the brain. The chicks are scheduled to arrive in less than a week, and while they won’t need a coop for at least a month I still need to build one before the weather gets too bad.

Well, David will have to build one.

I’ve talked several times to a guy who sells Amish built coops and sheds; he has a nice one that normally retails for $1250 but he’d let me have for $950, delivered. That’s probably a fantastic deal, but I don’t have $950.

So I started searching on craigslist.com and was contacted by someone who had a pieces of a shed that he said I could pick through. I also talked to the garbage guys who said that I could sort through the odds and ends of lumber the town picks up on trash day.

The town has a huge pile of old furniture, lumber and other odds and ends that might be perfect in a pinch and save some money. But I thought I’d go check out the shed parts, too.

The shed was at Playmor Farms. The farm owners, Shari and Russ, raise miniature horses along with some chickens, donkeys, turkeys and goats. They also do miniature horse rescue.

It’s the coolest place.

I stopped over unannounced. No one had answered the phone and I thought maybe I could see the shed from the road. When I got there, I realized it’s an actual farm. There was a man sitting on the side of a trailer, so I took a chance and stopped.

I didn’t want to be weird, but I figured I had nothing to lose.

Fortunately, Russ was very nice. He showed me the horses, some that are his and some that are rescues and looking for homes. He had some donkeys, too, and the cutest little baby goat. I tried to give the goat a pretzel but the rooster snatched it from my fingers. I wish ER would let me have a miniature horse or donkey or goat or even a rooster. While the roosters are noisy they are interesting to talk to.

The pile of lumber that had once been someone’s shed does have some possible pieces that could be salvaged, including the roof and shingles.

But as we were leaving, he showed me his turkeys and chickens, and then pointed to one of two plastic calf huts he had near the goats. (It looks like this photo.) He said he’d picked one up on craigslist and if I wanted, thought it might make a decent coop. He’d used it the year before for turkeys and said I could borrow it until we got our coop built in the spring.

That might actually be the perfect solution to my coop dilemma. All David would have to do is set up a solid floor off the ground and maybe build nesting boxes. There’s already a window and door, and while it’s not completely insulated, Russ said he leaves the windows open on his coop in the winter. The hens don’t need to be in tropical temperatures. Just out of the elements.

So I’m feeling particularly happy this afternoon. First, because I got to pet a baby goat and some miniature horses and chat with a rooster. And second, because we may have solved the coop problem with an interesting and cool idea.

And, of course, saved David some backbreaking labor right at hunting season. He had his cortisone shot yesterday and has gotten a little relief. If he ends up feeling great for a few weeks I don’t want him to waste that on building a coop. I’d rather have him out in his tree stand, where he’d be much happier.

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