Our little chicken barn is in rough shape. There’s a hole in the roof, the outside siding has seen better days, and the door may open and close one more time before it plummets off the hinges and crumbles. Before we moved in we concluded that we’d tear it down, and make use of the big barn for all of our farming needs. We weren’t going to need two barns anyway. It’s a bit of an eyesore.
Somewhere along the way of pricing lumber for the big barn and surrendering to the enchantment of our new homestead we evolved our little shipwreck into chicken Shangri-la. What if we fixed the roof, the door, and the windows? Put some more cement down to fix the cracks in the floors, and reinforced the structure. Oh, and re-clad the outside. “Sure, no problem,” we said slowly with egg-shaped stars in our eyes.
Work has officially commenced. We skipped the ribbon cutting and the groundbreaking ceremony until the first egg arrives, and while we were scraping ancient manure off the floor we fantasized about how we would prepare that first egg. Kenny says boiled, although I’d prefer poached. Hopefully there’s two that day.
We have since found a sheet of the exact metal roofing to replace the damaged panel. Not until we traversed to the lengths the province in search of it. It haunted us everywhere we trekked. We saw it on barns, sheds and garages but could not find a piece of it for ourselves new or used, until someone finally answered our Kijiji ad. The good news; It’s a perfect match, and free if we wanted to come get it. The bad news; It was two hours away, and really rusty. Beggars can’t be choosers, and replacing the entire roof is out of the question so we’re relieved that we finally have something to work with.
We are working from the ground up, and our concentration has been on repairing floor. It’s coming away at the back while it’s heaved up in the middle. Ideally, we’d back a cement truck up and recap the entire pad, but for this implement we settled on a dozen or so bags of ready mix. The cement has bolstered the skeleton of the barn, and all four walls are much sturdier already. Bring it on wind!
Phase one, the floor is officially complete, and we have acquired most of our supplies for phases two and three, the inside structure and the outside facade. On the crest of our agenda you’ll find that we need to address the lack of framing within the structure, and that needs to be done before Kenny gets up on the roof to replace that busted panel. From there on in we are constructing a new door, and finally going over those old shingles with new board and batten.
The best part about all this is the chickens! The girls will be here in about a month’s time, and when they arrive they’ll already be eight weeks old. We were indecisive about what kind of chickens we wanted, and where best to get them from, but after exploring all of our options we settled on sourcing them from our reputable farm store. There are many breeders here, and countless ads online, but given the season and our lack of experience we thought we’d go with chicks a little older and save the brand-new-baby, heritage breeds for the spring. Easter photo shoots here we come…The rabbits are going to be thrilled!
In the midst of all the planning and preparing for our flock, plus a myriad of other things to do around here, we found the time to pick up a free-range chicken from a farm around the corner. We roasted it in the oven on a drizzly day, and crusted it in herbs straight from the garden. We served it with butternut squash, and caesar salad with homemade dressing. It was the finest reward and incentive for the commission of our little chicken enterprise.