Believe it or not, we have more than just feral cats at the homestead, despite them being a popular topic of my blog posts.
We also have chickens, and I recently did a minor repair of their grazing box. This is a wood and hardware cloth (wire) cover over some grass, to enable the grass to grow without being pecked to the ground by the chickens. They can nibble on the tips that grow above the wire.
Some of the wires had come loose at one end:
So I snipped off that panel and replaced it with fresh hardware cloth, nailed down with U-shaped nails:
Recently the pop door opener for the old chicken coop stopped working. The pop door is the small door that enables the chickens to go from the coop to their run. It has a door that slides closed at night (on a light sensor), and open in the morning.
So, I purchased a replacement.
One likely factor in the failure of the old opener was that the cord went through the wall then horizontal then vertical, via three pulleys. This complicated system would have put more strain on the motor. Plus, I had a fairly heavy pop door. Here’s the old system, when it was first installed (in January 2016; wow, seems much longer ago):
So in addition to replacing the opener, I simplified the cord system. It still goes through the wall, since the light sensor needs to be outside, but there are now only two pulleys, on a more direct path. Here’s the inside of the new opener, and the pulley above the hole in the wall:
The opener control panel, awaiting installation:
Installed control panel:
On the inside, the hole and second pulley:
The cord now goes straight down from the hole:
The wooden door is also more lightweight now; thick plywood instead of solid wood. Not quite as secure, but should still suffice.
It has come to my attention that I haven’t posted any pictures of our chickens for a while. So here are some. If you’re curious about their names and breeds, you can refer to the previous chicken names post.
One of my daily routines is to collect eggs from the two chicken coops.
Some of the chickens lay in the nice roll-out boxes I built in the new coop, where the eggs roll down a gentle slope for easy collection from outside the coop:
But most of them seem to prefer to lay in the boxes (or floor!) of the old coop. Here are some eggs under Martha, who has been feeling broody for a while:
And in another box:
I collect them in a plastic carrier that holds a dozen, though sometimes I have 13 or more:
I bring them inside, and put them into egg cartons. A tip: I put them small-end first, which makes them stay fresh longer, as the air bubble remains at the top:
Here’s a closer view of a carton, with a custom stamp for our Yellow Cottage Homestead, and a date stamp:
I don’t wash the eggs; the bloom on them also helps keep them fresh. When it’s time to use them, I simply wash them then (in warm water; cold would draw any bacteria into the egg). Here is a freshly-washed bowl of eggs, ready to be boiled:
Before I could mow I needed to get some gas (petrol for non-US readers) for the mowers. Securing the gas cans in the bed of the truck is always a bit tricky, so on a whim I whipped up a wooden holder for them, that contains them securely:
It’s attached to the bed both via a bungee across the top, and a hook directly onto an attachment ring, so it won’t slide around:
I also did my monthly run to the local feed store (15 minutes away; the closest shops to home), where I got several bags of chicken feed, bird seed, and peanuts for the jays: