Friday, April 13, 2012

The Don't-Fence-Me Inn

Proposed location of the new "inn"
My girls feel free though they now live in a double-gated community.  They are happy as can be about that new development.  You see, before, their hen pen was about half its new size. It's been expanded with a new fence to a larger gated community called the Don't-Fence-Me-Inn.

When Gwyneth was coyoted over the short fence and out of existence last fall,  the hen pen shrank in size and grew a higher fence.  During the winter and spring, the girls have had several afternoons a week to roam the whole yard while I keep an eye.  But now the peas are up.  The lettuces are up. Spinach is up.  Arugula (the chickens don't eat this!) is up.  From now on into summer is simply not a good time for eager, scratching-to-China, pecking hens to be loose in the yard.

So my heart and brain were eager to come up with an expanded area they could be turned out to that would feel like freedom without endangering the plant babies.  The new area includes a compost pile that needs their vigilant turning capabilities.  These chickie-babes have to earn their keep.

Lowering stepping stones for gate clearance

It's been pushing on the list of Things I get to do today for several weeks now, this chicken fence idea.  Thought of using some of the cedar fence boards left from the woodshed.  Thought of several not-so-clever plans for corralling the farm gals.  All the recycle-reuse ideas seemed to create an unattractive visual and had marginal success predictions on keeping the hens in. Today was the day to make fence. Simple solution: poultry netting--in plain terms--chicken wire.
Removing layer of old landscape fabric.
Post can't go through it.

Prep work:  1) Check stepping stones   2) Locate and sink posts

Unrolling this stuff is a two-person, large-
vocabulary task.  I wired the roll to this post
 (my second person) to help me out.

3) Talk sweetly to the squirrelly, chicken wire fence material  4) Get tough with the chicken wire 5) Secure the gate
Placed the gate hinges on the 1x3 and
zip-tied it to the T-post.

"FREE" at last and up to their elbows in
rich, bug-filled duff.

By now the hens are literally standing with their beaks pressed against their first gate wanting to expand their territory with a great rush of wings and churning legs.  Happier hens I have not seen in some time.*

The all-new Don't-Fence-Me Inn

*A commercial chicken-farmer once said there was no way to tell if a hen was happy.  Totally clueless he was since his hens had never, never had the delight of this experience.



  1. Nice job, I know those hens are clucking up a storm!

    1. You betcha! Do you have hens? Your place looks so beautiful that I can't see a hen pen anywhere.