Several weeks ago when a woman who keeps very pampered chickens said she needed a home for her two Polish hens because the larger hens picked on them, I said, “I’ll take them. I just have to figure out some kind of housing and it’s easy to build a pen with metal posts and wire.”
It is easy to get metal posts into the ground here, unlike my previous house where you had to break the hardpan with a pick. That was the only easy part. After a few weekends and many trips to the hardware store, I have built a slum for chickens. The slum has sides of chicken wire reinforced with hardware cloth, as a normal chicken pen is supposed to. But the wire sags. The wire draped across the top of the pen sags. There’s a creative use of scrap wood and branches around the sides. The coop is a small hutch I ordered from Murray McMurray hatchery. It gives the hens a place to perch at night and is dry inside but that’s about all it offers. On the upside, the pen did not blow down in the windstorm of a few days ago that left all the neighbors’ poplar leaves in my yard with a litter of broken branches.
The Polish girls have definitely come down in the world from their previous abode where they perched in a generously-sized coop that was painted and decorated like a child’s play house and had a separate nest area. They spent the day in a professionally built chain-link enclosure that no dog, coyote, or raccoon can break into. The first evening they were here, they grew very restless in their little hutch as the sky darkened, as if wanting to get out of there and go home. I understood their feelings.
Fortunately, chickens have short memories. Unlike me, they have now forgotten all about their previous quarters and spend no time at all comparing their current circumstances with the past.