Time had ravaged the old chicken run we built over twenty years ago. The salt air had turned the chicken wire to crumbly rust. The termite tunnels were more extensive than the volume of wood that housed them. Visions of large raccoons plummeting into the rotten structure began to gnaw on my thoughts. It was time to start anew.
Although the old run was originally sturdily built and entirely enclosed, it had never had a proper coop for the girls. Instead there was a bit of a covered structure that kept the rain off and for most of our mild winter weather provided enough cover. Our old fence needed replacing as well. This necessitated a way to secure the hens while portions of the fence were down to keep the neighbor dogs – good dogs.
Now if you have shopped around for chicken coops in the central coast/bay area recently, even the shabbiest used coop can cost a chunk of change. Building a coop from scratch (no pun intended) was appealing but would cost time and pushed back getting that new fence installed.
Our local landfill has a business called the Last Chance Mercantile where people can bring items that would otherwise be thrown into the landfill. Items are then resold as-is for people to clean, repair and use for another turn of the wheel in the great material continuum. This is a business model that other landfills need to adopt as it cuts down the waste stream load and puts resources back into a use cycle. You never know what treasure you will find at the Last Chance. But I digress.
At the Last Chance I found and purchased a homemade kids playhouse (treasure!) that was broken down into 6 flat pieces. I was able to load onto the car racks and bring home. A few minutes with the cordless drill and we had a serviceable enclosure that could be closed at night while the old chicken run was torn down.
Later upgrades included building a raised platform with a bottom so that the chickens were entirely secure at night. I was worried all the disruption would find the hens roosted in trees that night, but they got the memo and were perched inside as it got towards evening. They have faithfully roosted in the coop every night since its installation, even after moving twice while building the new run. Chicken stamp of approval!