The strangest thing happened on Thursday morning. Lying in bed, having been fast asleep, I became aware of Hugo chatting away in his cot at the foot of our bed. Exhausted, I slowly opened an eye. As soon as I focused, I saw that Alex was doing exactly the same thing. He was looking as puzzled as I was feeling. It was light. Hugo had slept through the night. Woot! I’m pleased to report he has repeated his trick each night since, aside from Saturday night (where he only woke once).
I am hoping beyond hope that sleep will be our new normal. We saw a pediatrician a while back who changed Hugo’s reflux medication around. We saw an almost instant improvement, but we were still up a few times a night. A fortnight ago, I decided to give him a try on a formula designed for babies with cows milk protein allergy based on the fact that his tummy was more upset than not. The change has been remarkable, so I think we may have found the source of his discomfort. Fingers crossed.
Thursday, it seems, was destined to be an auspicious day. We picked our first strawberry, and a little rhubarb (which I’m ashamed to say I’ve done nothing with – it was only about 1/2 a cup worth of stalks).
While I’m still feeling exhausted despite the sleep, I’ve also had a lot more energy for working outside. I’ve not been blogging much because I’ve been out in the garden, clearing the area where we will soon, hopefully, have a chicken coop all ready for chickens.
The place was an absolute mess. The weeds were up past my knees. Alex and his father cut down three more trees over the weekend. They were all within a meter from our poor apple tree. Talk about over planted. We have yet another trailer load to go to the green waste section of the tip for composting.
The vegetable patch is proving to be a bit of a disaster due to lack of sun – even though I thought I’d found a good spot, I under estimated our apple tree. The cucumbers and bean plants have all been eaten by snails.
The strawberries look like they would like more sun but the tomato plants are soldiering on. I’m going to find a new spot for the vegetables next year. Either that, or prune the apple tree (which is overdue anyway).
Once I’ve got this part of the yard cleaned up, it’s time to set up a coop. The coop will be going on the slab from the old shed (peeking out from behind the grape vine).
I’ve been tossing up whether to go for an eBay flat-packed chicken coop from Four Seasons, or whether to build our own from the Wichita chicken coop plans. Either way, the coop and fittings will be forming the better part of my Christmas presents this year.
These are the two choices:
Wichita Chicken Coop, photo courtesy of backyardchickens.com
Four Seasons chicken coop, photo courtesy of eBay
Of course, we could also just make it up as we go along. I fear that might not end so well. There are many pros and cons involved in this decision and I change my mind with the wind.
The eBay coop would be cheaper than buying all of the materials for a new coop and it would be much quicker to assemble. The coop could be modified to make it stronger and more weather-proof, and it would be a good introduction to keeping chickens without a huge outlay if it all goes pear-shaped for whatever reason. The downside is that eBay coops have a reputation for falling apart, and being rather small and hard to clean. I’m not sure what this seller’s reputation is like, but this is their biggest coop and an adult can stand up in it.
Building our own coop would probably result in a more sturdy coop which would last longer. It probably wouldn’t look as neat. It would take us a much longer amount of time, especially considering we have no carpentry experience and the kidlets to wrangle. We would not only need to buy a lot of the materials, we would also need to buy a lot of tools (although my father has helped on that front, buying me a circular saw this week!). Based on some preliminary research, I think I’m unlikely to be able to salvage enough to make a coop from recycled stuff. It would, however, be extremely satisfying.
I’m going back to work in January, and it would be nice to get the coop sorted by then so we can get the chickens settled in before winter.
At the moment, I’m back to leaning towards buying the Four Seasons coop from eBay and modifying it. Tomorrow morning I may well have reasoned myself back to building from scratch. It’s like playing responsible grown-up roulette. With chickens. Don’t forget the chickens!
What do you think? Do you have any experience of coop building or eBay coops? I’d love to hear your opinion.