As a knitter, I’ve learned that if I have a bad feeling about some aspect of what I’m knitting, I should go with that feeling. And I’ve learned that if something isn’t working, you just have to close your eyes and rip it back.
Turns out, carpentry is just the same. Who knew?
Among its many other flaws, the gambrel roof chicken tractor is designed such that twice a day (while moving from coop to pen, or pen to coop) the chickens can escape. My original schematic took this into account, and attached the pop door such that it could be unlocked and opened from outside. But when it came down to building it, that just wouldn’t work, so I fit it in as best I could, and kept building.
Unfortunately, thanks to the previously-mentioned design flaw, there was an “incident” Wednesday evening. Martha’s fine, although the back of her right thigh is bald. And one of the dogs is coughing up feathers. And I’m still a little traumatized.
The worst part, of course, is the self-inflicted I told you so‘s.
And so it is that Thursday morning I skipped out on work to make yet another trip to the hardware store. My enthusiasm for building the third chicken tractor in two months is… not high.
By the way, here’s something else I learned: 5mm plywood is not going to work. The gambrel roof has been outside for only 12 days. It has not been directly exposed to rain. And look at how badly it’s buckled!
I’m basing Chicken Tractor the Third on someone else’s design. I know! So unoriginal. I eat humble pie while poring over her photos and description.
The main difference between her design and mine is that I’m pulling the welded wire hardware cloth up to 4 feet, almost to the roofline of the coop. This is to prevent giant dogs from leaping up onto the top of the run and jumping up and down until it collapses. (This is a relevant concern for some of us.)
Also, the roll of hardware cloth I bought last month is 4 feet high. And anything that keeps me from having to cut the hardware cloth is my best friend of all time. (Making cuts wouldn’t be so bad if I had a pair of tin snips. Alas, I have only a borrowed bolt cutter which is literally longer than my arms. Fun times.)
I’ve built the first long side already:
I will be building the coop (of 1/2″ plywood this time) into the hole on the upper right. This way, see, the chickens can enter and exit through a door in the wall. Chickens like to do that! Chickens do not like to hop out through a hole in the floor. What kind of idiot would think otherwise? Ha ha! Ha.
Speaking of significant looks, they go both ways. I like to give the chickens a significant look, while casually mentioning that I’ve been saving egg cartons since last December.
No pressure, ladies. Just sayin’.