Saturday, May 3, 2014

Building a New Chicken Pen

Our flock of laying chickens have grown. We now have too many to fit in our old portable pen. If you have been reading my posts for a while you will know that we moved out of an old run down house into a new double wide. I have taken part of the old house over as a workshop, one room has been turned into storage, and now we have taken in the old laundry room for the chickens.

This was actually kind of tough on me. I liked the portable pen. I liked the fact that every week or so we could move the chickens to a different place and they would graze, which would save us some money on feed. But the truth is that we really needed and wanted more eggs than the 3 hens could produce. We now have 6 hens and 3 roosters (one of the roosters will be going away soon). This will give us more than enough eggs for our family use and a dozen or two a week to either selling or giving away.

Our old hens vanished over the course of three nights. Not a feather was found. No sign of struggle, or violence. This is one reason that I believe that our chickens were stolen. With the new pen we have increased their covered room by about 4 times and their run room by at least that much as well. So we will still have room to grow our flock a little more.

My youngest daughter helped me build the chicken pen. She has enjoyed helping me with critters ever since I met her. She is my stepdaughter, but we both agree that she is my daughter. She helped me stretch the wire and she tied the wire to the t-posts. She was working while I was building the gate. My daughter helped name all of the chickens and she picked out the rooster that would be going to a new home very soon.

Tying off the chicken wire.

Playing with the young chickens after the pen is finished.
 Now I want to cover some ways to save money while building any animal pen.

  1. Plan Ahead. If you know you have a project coming up, make a list of the items that you think you will need. This will help you price shop.
  2. Look for items that are clearance. Companies change vendors fairly regularly. Sometimes when they change vendors the new company will not allow them to place the new items out for sale until all of the old items are gone. With items that you will be using several of some stores will actually give you a discount if you are willing to by all of the clearance items that they have.
  3. Look for Returns. I am not kidding. The t-posts that I purchased to build the chicken pen were returned. Why I have no idea. Two of them were actually bent a little. Here is the thing; most people will not buy an item that has been bought before from a retail store. I have seen people open a box, look at the item, then put the box back and get an item that is unopened. They do this even though they are the ones that opened the box in the first place. Below is the t-posts that were returned that I purchased for the chicken pen. Due to the fact that they were returned, had dirt on them and two of them were slightly bent, I was able to get them for a little less than half price.
  4. Price Match. Retail competition is stiff. Several companies will price match even on sale items. If the price of an item is cheaper and it is not on sale, several companies will beat that price. I have seen ads where companies will beat a regular price by anywhere from 5 - 10 %.
  5. Be aware of discounts. I know this example will not apply to everyone, but several of the home improvement stores give a 10% discount to veterans. They will give this discount on top of matching or beating the other stores price. Sometimes you can get this discount even if you have had the price reduced due to returns or damage. This alone could save you a good bit of money.

Returned t-posts work just as well as new ones.

If you take your time and think out what you are wanting to do, you can do a nice job and save some money. This alone will help you achieve your...

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

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