Eight chickens and a Maker Keti’s rush to build them a home within six hours…
Last Monday, eight chickens unexpectedly showed up at my doorstep. What do you do when seven hens and one rooster lay siege in your house? You take out your #MakerKT apron and start building them a home of course!
Here’s the story of how a chicken coup led to an emergency coop that Monday…
Nine chickens were heading to my house at the back of a Maruti 800 taxi early Monday morning. They were being brought by a well-meaning man who had decided on an impulse that a passing comment i had made about rearing chickens someday should mean that “someday” should be “today”! He called to let us know that the chickens were already on their way!
When they arrived, we discovered that only eight had successfully made the journey. One had unfortunately gotten squished under the 50kg sack of chicken feed. (She was to be “dinner” later that evening…)
With nowhere else to keep them, the remaining eight chickens were herded into the dog house temporarily while I got my head wrapped around the bizarre situation.
I decided that an unused part of the garden used as a general dumping group would be made into a fenced in area for the chickens.
The clean up process began! From underneath the debris, our long-forgotten feeding station for a cow we once had emerged. This would be the place we would dump our kitchen waste for the chickens to feed on.
This is the general layout of the space i planned for the chicken coop and the pen. Part of the area would be fenced in by chicken wire and the dog house would be made into the coop. The pen was planned to be five metres long and four metres wide and the chicken wire fence would be two metres talls. While waiting for chicken wire, i decided to get started on a ladder to help the chickens get in and our of their coop.
I gathered the materials and planned on how to hammer in the pieces. As I started making the ladder, some adjustments had to me made… but the ladder was done!
Meanwhile, it was getting obvious that my dogs were getting a little too curious about these new houseguests. And knowing their ‘eagerness’ and their capacity to dig, it was clear that mere chicken wire would not be able to dissuade them from keeping ther distance from the chickens.
Therefore, unused pieces of jasta were secured on the bottom half of the pen and reinforced by logs of long-ago fallen trees. The chicken wire was then secured on the top half. The added bonus of this is that the chicken wire would not rust as easily since they were not in contact with the ground. A disused iron window with grills was set up in the northern end of the coop to allow for easy viewing inside the pen. A door would have to be made from a piece of jasta and secured between the tree and the bamboo pole.
After spending most of the day building the pen, it was time to stop for the day. The chickens had been cooped up in their coop all day. One of them had even managed to lay an egg already! They needed to be let out.
Freedom at last! And then diving straight into the mud for a mud bath. After a good ten minutes of mud bathing, the chickens started scratching the ground and pecking at all things shiny. Oh no! This was a dumping ground, so that place was strewn with bits of plastic and medicine foil that hadn’t biodegraded over time. There was a mad scramble from everyone present to search and discard any piece of styrofoam, plastic, foil and glass found. Problem is, the chickens would keep scratching the ground and bringing up fresh pieces of undegradedable items.
Soon they began exploring other areas of the pen. With the chicken out of the coop and exploring, i was finally able to put the ladder i made outside their coop and another chance finding of an old door with perfect ‘ladder’- like steps in the inside. Then bhus was spread on the floor so that the hens could settle into it.
The chickens were frolicking in the mud and hardly eating the chicken feed we were throwing their way. When i threw in a plant that had been pruned earlier though, they attacked it with vigour!
A maato ko bhiund became the water feeder for the chickens.
Soon it’s time for the chickens to be brought back into the coop and secured for the night.
“Why are you putting me inside already?”
The final view of the coop and the final layout of the coop & pen area by the end of the day…
Meanwhile, my dog continued to wait outside hoping to get lucky for a tasty morsel….
A few days later…..
And soon the andas appear… which must now make me an andapreneur 😉
As you can see below, the ladder i built has been changed with a sturdier one. The door has yet to be made. For now, fixed wooden window frames keep the chickens in and the dogs out.
After wondering for days why the chickens would just hang around in the window in the evening without going inside, it struck me that perhaps they liked having a perch. As you can see below, the new perch was a bit hit and that is where they roost every night now.
Meanwhile, the dogs are still waiting for a chance to get lucky…
p.s. Everyone needs help, especially when the project is a sizeable one. Therefore, three ‘maker ketas’ (Phatik, Amar and Dhan), helped immensely for this project! Thanks boys 🙂