Saturday, April 30, 2011

Predators fouled at the door

It is official, I should not have any more chickens die an untimely death.  I installed the chicken butler today and it is a wondrous device.  I had to build a frame for it to fit.  I didn't realize how much room my chickens really had to sneak outside.  I had made a 12 inch by 12 inch hole for them.  So I had to shrink it to 8 inches wide and add something to screw the butler into other than some flimsy paneling.  It really only took me about an hour to make the modifications and attach the chicken butler.  It goes up and down very slowly and works like a charm.  We installed the light sensor and it was amazing, all the chickens were in the coop and the door shut all by itself.  It was still light enough to move around outside but dark enough that the chickens had all gone inside already.  No more night time predators sneaking in to kill my chickens (especially because I forgot to shut the door).
Chicken Butler installed.  You can see the two new boards I added to the
inside of the coop to make the opening narrower.  If you follow
the door frame straight up four full boards above the top of the
door there is a tiny light sensor hanging outside of the wall
just to the right of the nail line.
Inside the coop I had to install a new low perch support.  It used to rest on top of the chicken door opening but is not possible with the butler installed.  So I fixed that at the same time.  We used some wire ties to bundle all the loose wires up and secure them from flapping chickens.  On a side note, I would recommend doing this around noon.  I had some early sleepers hanging out in the coop and two of them shat on my coat!  Luckily, I was wearing a hat.  My new support for the lower perch is nice and sturdy.  I figure even my new nine pound chickens will still be able to get out using an 8x12 inch opening.

I also managed to finish the outhouse/garbage can holder.  I had to install a foot locking mechanism to hold the door open and I had to chisel out the lock hole.  The tolerance was too close and all the rain caused the wood to swell and the locking mechanism would not work.  I found the door flopping in the wind after the garbage guys got done with it.  So I buried a post in the ground just below the bottom of the door and drilled a hole in the top of the post.  The door is opened, directed above the post and a locking mechanism is engaged by stepping on it, therefore locking the door open.  It works pretty slick.  The moon and star add the last little bit to the building.  It ended up turning out pretty good.  Kinda fancy for a trash can holder but it goes well with the surroundings.
Completed trash can (outhouse) holder.