We had various vague notions as to how to proceed with our months-long goal of increasing the size of our chicken coop. In the end, we wanted to create an almost invisible fenced area under an existing evergreen tree right outside our chickens’ 110 sq. ft. abode. Whenever we let the chickens range free, if they were not in our compost pile, they were typically kicking around under this one tree next to their coop, a tree that we can easily see from many parts of our backyard. If successful, the project would not only add 50% more square feet to the coop, but it would also do so in a visually appealing way. Just as the functionality of our backyard is paramount, aesthetics are equally supreme for us—in part because we do not see the sustainability movement happening if it is seen as anything other than beautiful.
Today, my four-year old and I started by moving fencing materials out to the northwest corner of the backyard. As soon as I got there, I immediately rejected a plan I’d been leaning toward and started sketching (in the dirt) an even-more-round-about plan. Finally settling on the direct route that I had rejected weeks ago, we got to work using only found materials. (This is one of the times that it really helps to be involved in the landscaping industry. We always have all sorts of scrap fencing materials stashed somewhere, begging to be used.)
After lining out the basic structure and getting the project half-way up so Melissa could see it and grant us her official aesthetic approval, we proceeded to bust out the job in a couple of hours (And the ladies only escaped once!). As the sun was getting ready to set, we let our hens explore their highly improved digs. Given the way that they enthusiastically scratched and found all sorts of good things to eat, we could tell that they loved their new scene. But it was late and chickens are as groggy at nightfall as high school students are at dawn, so we encouraged them to retire to their bedroom. This they did grudgingly but somehow, too, they hit the hay, in their own goofy-chicken way, gorgeously.