Home, Sweet Home

Audrey and Mabel pacing up and down their present run – with the new coop they’ll have access to fresh grass all the time

Finally, I’ve a new, portable coop for the Araucanas Audrey and Mabel. After much henhouse-hunting over the past couple of months – viewings have included the beautifully crafted collection by Flyte so Fancy and the super-eco builds by Green Frog Designs made from recycled industrial plastic waste – I followed in the footsteps of friend and fellow henkeeper Lisa Sykes and trawled the internet for a second-hand (or should that be second-wing?) one. Of course, eBay was the obvious choice – though I also signed up to my local Freecycle group and now receive countless emails about first-time buyers in Chelmsford who need a fridge and people in Colchester who have a spare 1990s-era remote control – but alas and perhaps unsurprisingly there were no complimentary coops on offer. The main criteria, apart from it being second-hand – so it was green in a sense, whatever materials it was made of – was that it should have an undercover run, so the girls have somewhere dry to shelter and their food could be kept out of the rain. Plus, the trick – as seasoned eBayers know – is to find large objects, such as chicken coops, that are in your area so you don’t have to drive hours to collect them – we instantly discounted poultry properties up in the north of Scotland and Devon, no matter how many boxes they ticked.

James began the search in our county of Essex and located a dream home for Audrey and Mabel in Rayleigh, near Southend, barely half-an-hour’s drive away. With just a couple of hours to go till the online auction ended, we placed our bid and then went about our jobs in the garden setting a timer for 30 minutes before the end-time. We hurried in, expecting a last-minute flurry, but after a few bids from the other interested parties, we were soon on our own with just seconds to go. Much whooping and excitement ensued – we even cracked open a bottle of Prosecco – it made me wonder how, if I feel this thrilled about buying a secondhand henhouse on eBay,  bidding and securing a piece of art feels – such as The Scream which sold at a real auction this week.

The new coop – ready for a bit of a makeover with lavender-coloured paint which will help protect the wood as well as make it pretty

We picked it up – during the only gap in the rain last Sunday – and now, after a couple of simple repair jobs, I’m hoping to paint it a pretty lavender colour this weekend if there’s a spot of dry weather. Then – after it’s dried and aired – Audrey and Mabel can move into their new dwelling. Anyone else doing any henhouse DIY this Bank Holiday?

7 thoughts on “Home, Sweet Home

  1. These are lovely hen houses and I have a very similar one, but it’s wise to be extra vigilant at spotting the mites that nest under a felted roof like this. I lost 2 of my gorgeous porcelain Sablepoots last year as I hadn’t realized what a haven for mites these roofs are. I have 2 other houses, one with a corragated roof and one with a shiplap wooden roof and have had no problems with them. The house with the felted roof has been banished to the bottom of the garden until I get round to putting a new roof on it!

    1. Thanks for those tips, Sarah – very good advice. On the red mite topic, have you come across Diatom powder at all? It’s brilliant at eliminating red mite and 100 per cent natural. An exciting new discovery!
      Happy henkeeping!

  2. We got ours from ebay last year and it is EXACTLY the same as yours! Our three seem very happy so I’m sure yours will enjoy it too. Good luck with the dry weather for painting!

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