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I’ve Flown the Coop

Okay, I admit: that’s a terrible title, but in my strange attempt at “being witty,” I thought it was fitting.

I’ve never been good with titles, really.

It’s been an odd few months.  Work has kept me busy and I’ve been really trying to get my life on track.  I’ve had my ups and downs but I really can’t complain too much lately.  I have been quite bored though, so I’ve been on the hunt for a new hobby.  I considered homebrewing, and I’d still like to try it some day, but the initial investment is a bit too much for me to handle and I don’t have the world’s greatest palate.

ramsay palate

(Maybe not quite as bad.)

I then considered gardening, but my family’s already got a garden so my own would prove rather redundant.  I’m still contemplating doing something with a window planter since I think it’s interesting to see a plant grow from its humble beginnings as little more than a seed.  I’d also like to see if I can maintain the willpower and attention span to take care of a plant long enough for it to mature.  I’ve only ever grown a cactus and it died, so my track record with plants isn’t too impressive.

One of my talents is inherited from my maternal grandfather, who I never had the chance to meet.  I’m told the similarities between him and me are uncanny, and one of those is our inclination to all things mechanical.  Perhaps you remember the standardized tests in school where the math portion demanded you find the next shape in a pattern, or figure out which shape was needed to complete a puzzle.  I always aced that part (the rest of my math score was questionable).  I have a penchant for troubleshooting and fixing things.

It’s because of this that I was considering going back to school to learn carpentry.  Carpentry is a well-paying and enjoyable-enough trade, but I don’t really have the money to afford school nor do I want to abandon my current job to do so.  Since considering carpentry, I’ve had the urge to do some hands-on work; I’ve been wanting to put together some bookshelves and a desk, but don’t really have the space for any more right now.  I’m also not planning on living at home much longer so I’m trying to minimize the amount of furniture and junk I’ll have to move.  This lead to me having an impulsive idea which, as I usually do, I decided to build upon and bring to fruition.

I’m going to get some chickens.

hound chickens

 There’s a few reasons as to why this random, baffling idea has turned into a reality.  First and foremost, I want to build something, and a chicken coop seems like a relatively simple and undemanding project for a beginner.  I’ve got some formal training in CAD and architecture so I’m going to put a few mockups together in Sketchup (or AutoCAD, if I still have it somewhere).  My initial goal is to get the basic structure and layout of the chicken coop planned and built and then modifying it as time goes on, using my ongoing experience with the chickens to make a better coop.

My second reason is that I love animals.  At least once a week (usually far more often) I tell someone that animals are far better than people, and by-and-large I mean it.  My pets have always been treated like members of the family and I honestly can’t understand how anyone can act otherwise.  They’re living, breathing creatures with as full a range of emotion as humans, but with a dependence on us for safe, healthy lives.  I love seeing all the zany, crazy moments of joy (and frustration, true, but only out of innocence) that they create in my daily life.  So I figured I’ll get a couple chickens (my local law only allows for two on residential properties, and no roosters) and raise them.

I’ve spent my free time today researching what chickens and their coops require and honestly, it’s not all that bad.  Chickens seem to be very easy to take care of so long as you maintain their food/water supply and cleanliness, and give them a safe and secure coop and run.

I’m still in the planning and preparation phase but I’ve decided on building a 14’x8’x5′ run in my backyard.  I’m looking at a few different materials for various bits of the project but I’m not going to be too concerned until I at least get the frame set and built with regular lumber.  I’m also thinking of implementing pallets for added support or even accenting/detailwork, but we’ll see; I have to convince my work to let me take some, if that’s even possible.

I intend to document the whole project as it goes on.  It’ll be a fun little side-project to go over what I’m sure will become a hectic frenzy of me asking myself what I’m even doing, but it’ll be cool to look back and note what progress I made.

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