Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Resetting the Hen House

I may have mentioned that the floor was rotting out of my hen house. It's a bit of a sore subject, since we paid extra for super-special subflooring that wouldn't rot. That didn't work out so well. Turns out that some water was getting in by the windows when it rained, which is what rotted the floor. Of course, the carpenter ant nest we found when we tried to fix it didn't do us any favors, either.

We decided to do without a wooden floor altogether. To take out the floor, first Mike used a Sawzall (it's his favorite tool, I think) and used it to cut the screws holding the walls to the floor. Then he screwed long boards to the hen house wall to use as lifters. Using a big car jack, he jacked up the hen house a corner at a time and stuck tree stumps and boards and cement blocks under those lifters to keep the walls up in the air.

Once that was done, we pulled out the subflooring in chunks.

Then Mike dry-stacked cement blocks to make a new foundation to hold up the walls. That's easy to type, but it meant two days down in the mud with chickens walking on top of him and scratching muck into his eyes while he dug down and set the blocks exactly level. I did not attempt to level blocks, but I did get the honor of buying, loading, and unloading stack after stack of concrete blocks, then carrying them down to the hen house and passing them to Mike when he needed them. Let's just say I skipped the "Y" those days!

Now we have a hen house with no bottom. That would be find in the summer, but right now the "floor" is a disgusting, muddy mess. We can't put any bedding down (shavings mixed with chicken poo mixed with mud, anyone?) so it's just gross for now. Tomorrow we have 14 tons of gravel coming, which we'll shovel into a wheelbarrow, walk down the the hen house, and shovel into the hen house through the window. Then we'll use a tamper to pack the gravel down tight to make a hard (and hopefully dry) floor. I don't think I'm going to the "Y" next week, either!

What were the chickens doing during all this time? First, they were a bit worried. Then they realized that there was nothing to stop them from running under the hen house and out to FREEDOM! Well, they don't care so much about freedom, really. What they do care about is getting to the compost pile. Have you ever seen chickens in a compost pile? Until next week, enjoy: