Because there simply are not enough chickens to defend their territory, the chicken coop has been co-opted by black snakes in the summer and now by pack rats in the winter. I evicted a pack rat last year by raking out his huge nest of leaves and sticks and leaving the big door wide open. I tried to do that with this new tenant but he is not deterred. He diligently gathers up his scattered nest material and rebuilds it overnight! The disturbance does not bother him in the least. Consequently, the last surviving little hen will not use the coop. She spends her nights perching on the Dr. Seuss structure I constructed in the early days of Chickenry at Spiritcreek.
If I forcibly remove the pack rat, he will surely build his nest beneath the hood of my car. This happens often in the winter and causes hundreds of dollars worth of damage. It cost $300 to replace a valve that controls air into the fuel system last spring. I assume the rat also caused the digital temperature to read a perpetual 50 external degrees as well. I have no heart to trap or kill or poison the rat. He has as much right to his life on this earth as I have to mine. I admire his industry. Every single leaf I raked out of the coop has been retrieved from the ground around the coop and placed back into his nest.
The night temperatures have started to fall below freezing now, and I have been worrying about shelter for the little hen. Enter Facebook. I could construct an insulated cooler house for her. In fact, that would be even better than the poor tiny little thing trying to stay warm in the relatively cavernous coop!
I made a trip to Topeka to buy a styrofoam cooler. Per the First Law of Dumbassery (failure to measure equals another trip to town) it was one inch too tall to fit inside the blue storage tub already on hand. Cutting the cooler down to size made a huge, irritating mess of statically charged styrofoam crumbs. I shored up the raw edges with my trusty duct tape (famously called "hundred mile an hour tape" by my Reser cousins from Barton County). I packed the empty spaces with loosely crumpled newspaper, taped the two openings together, stuffed the interior with some of Ginger's hay, and viola: chicken shelter extraordinaire! I roped it to the Dr Seuss perch and it seems sturdy enough to not crash in a hard wind. It makes a cozy little nest for the poor little hen!
If I were to build this again, and I might have to, I would find a better fit to avoid damaging the styrofoam so the lid would fit snugly. I would also screw the storage bin lid on with four screws and use a drill to make holes along the bottom for drainage. I also do not know how well the hundred mile an hour tape will hold up, but I have a huge supply of that on hand at all times because the Second Law of Dumbassery states duct tape is the strong force binding the dumbass universe.
|High Rise for the last chicken|
|It is ugly but serviceable.|