Wednesday, 1 October 2014

it's finished. finished. FINISHED.

OHHHHH EMMMM GEEEE. It is finished! Our palace on the hill-side, our best ever egg farm in the history of Kerala, our main frustration for the last two is. finished.  

This is what we were thinking when we began this project (now I think about it I really don't know what we were thinking). We were thinking 'a big chicken coop, easy, should be done in two weeks tops.' We were thinking 'well, obviously we need to make some kind of snazzy laying-boxes-poking-out-of-the-back-of-the-fence situation, for ease of collection and all.' We were thinking 'oh, and why don't we make the front walls lever up so we can clean it easily and I think the floor should be split in two, and have some kind of ridiculously over-complicated lowering system for some reason that I can't even recall right now'.

What we ended up with, two months later (!!), is a fairly simple hutch made almost entirely out of bamboo and coconut rope, with your basic floor and walls and nesting boxes strewn thoughtfully about, a snake/eagle/rat/dog proof yard for our hens to peck about in and a design that is so un-Keralan that everybody keeps asking us when we will be putting the tin roof on, concreting the floor and installing the light. And we keep telling them that our chickens don't need those things. Our chickens are going to be happy, earthworm digging hippy chickens. Our chickens are going to be the happiest in the land. And they accepted that (sort of). But then we bought rice-sifting baskets for laying boxes...

Here is our last two months in pictures. The satisfying digging and planting of the poles, the kind of frustrating kind of hilarious days when the kids were helping, the tedium of stitching together 60 metres of netting for eagle protection, the triumph of putting the roof on.

A moment when we were so sick of roping together bamboo to make walls that we had a quick 'look at how pensive and meaningful I am, staring into the distance, sitting in a chicken coop' photo shoot.

The painting of the hen-house. The time we were having a cup of tea and a sit down and we heard coconuts falling form the neighbour's trees...

And finally, the Arrival Of The Hens. We drove for half an hour with thirty hens cowering in terrified clumps under our feet in the back of the jeep. Then we arrived home and I handed them out, one by one, as you would with lolly bags at a birthday party, so the kids could take them up the hill and plonk them into their new home. As you can imagine there was much squealing and giggling.

And some very happy hens. Thank freaking god.

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