Rome wasn't built in a day....and neither was our chook pen

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Many (many) moons ago, I got the brilliant idea that 'we' should build a chook pen out of the timber from the falling down house next door.  After a little bit of persuading, Jamie agreed and so began the next adventure of our home farm. One that took slightly longer than expected but was definitely worth the wait.

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Most people, from what I hear, knock up a chook house in a weekend. Not us. The little cottage next door was actually built from timber that was the existing Queenslander where our house now stands so rather than let it all go to ruin, I loved the idea of preserving some of that history here on our property. The entire cottage is made of hardwood, which seemed awesome to me, I love old hardwood, but as it turns out, is not the easiest material to work with and definitely led to several broken drill bits and many curse words uttered from Jamie's mouth throughout the entire, lengthy process. 

Here are some pictures of 'us' building our chook pen...

 The four posts in the ground are treated pine. Things got more difficult after that.

The four posts in the ground are treated pine. Things got more difficult after that.

 Note Jamie's facial hair which is the true indicator of just how long this process took. Also note my daughters keen fashion sense. 

Note Jamie's facial hair which is the true indicator of just how long this process took. Also note my daughters keen fashion sense. 

 My hunk of burning love pulling old iron off the roof to fulfil my vision...he was mostly swearing at the hardwood by this stage so I took all my photos from a safe distance where I could ignore him and pretend he really enjoyed what 'we' were doing.

My hunk of burning love pulling old iron off the roof to fulfil my vision...he was mostly swearing at the hardwood by this stage so I took all my photos from a safe distance where I could ignore him and pretend he really enjoyed what 'we' were doing.

 Giving the hardwood a break, we went on to building the fence.

Giving the hardwood a break, we went on to building the fence.

 The nesting boxes are on the side of the house and can be accessed without having to go into the chook pen.

The nesting boxes are on the side of the house and can be accessed without having to go into the chook pen.

 I bought an old set of french doors along with heap of old casement windows and a few other bits and bobs from a beautiful old queenslander in Bulimba.  The little square windows and the rectangular one that you can see in the picture before and below this one, were left over from the french doors that we installed in our back entry way.  The rest of these gorgeous casement windows are going to be used to enclose part of the barn sometime in the future.

I bought an old set of french doors along with heap of old casement windows and a few other bits and bobs from a beautiful old queenslander in Bulimba.  The little square windows and the rectangular one that you can see in the picture before and below this one, were left over from the french doors that we installed in our back entry way.  The rest of these gorgeous casement windows are going to be used to enclose part of the barn sometime in the future.

 Chook house hangs...charlie is entertaining his siblings with his new party trick doing the 'tuck'.

Chook house hangs...charlie is entertaining his siblings with his new party trick doing the 'tuck'.

 So close! Jamie is just figuring out how to attach the rooster weather vane.

So close! Jamie is just figuring out how to attach the rooster weather vane.

 Jamie actually made me this rooster as a birthday present about 8 years ago, but we moved house before it made it to the chook pen.  It's been in the shed ever since waiting for this very moment.

Jamie actually made me this rooster as a birthday present about 8 years ago, but we moved house before it made it to the chook pen.  It's been in the shed ever since waiting for this very moment.

 We used old branches for the roosting perches.  Apparantly natural branches are better for the chickens feet than uniform dowel perches and they have the benefit of costing nothing.

We used old branches for the roosting perches.  Apparantly natural branches are better for the chickens feet than uniform dowel perches and they have the benefit of costing nothing.

 Errmagod! Can you believe it? After about six or seven months, the chook pen is finally ready! Jamie survived and we still haven't filed for divorce.

Errmagod! Can you believe it? After about six or seven months, the chook pen is finally ready! Jamie survived and we still haven't filed for divorce.

So here is our chook pen! It's everything I could have asked for and more. It's rustic, charming, practical and built to last.  I love that its almost entirely made of recycled materials and all of it has a story to tell.  

 The 'Palais du Poulet' aka chicken palace

The 'Palais du Poulet' aka chicken palace

 Complete with windows and flower baskets

Complete with windows and flower baskets

 I sanded graffiti off the old door which resulted in this beautiful distressed look due to all the coats of old paint.

I sanded graffiti off the old door which resulted in this beautiful distressed look due to all the coats of old paint.

 The old door before

The old door before

 My little egg collector with his wooden eggs as despite all the effort, the chooks still refuse to lay. Probably has something to do with the fact that half of them have turned out to be roosters. But that's a whole other story!

My little egg collector with his wooden eggs as despite all the effort, the chooks still refuse to lay. Probably has something to do with the fact that half of them have turned out to be roosters. But that's a whole other story!

 Hardwood floors (which we've covered in black plastic and wood shavings for easy cleaning)

Hardwood floors (which we've covered in black plastic and wood shavings for easy cleaning)

 Their grain is kept in a sealed bin to deter rodents (and therefore snakes).

Their grain is kept in a sealed bin to deter rodents (and therefore snakes).

 The casement windows open and we are going to put some mosquito mesh over the opening so that they can be left open for ventilation at night whilst keeping the chooks in and snakes out.

The casement windows open and we are going to put some mosquito mesh over the opening so that they can be left open for ventilation at night whilst keeping the chooks in and snakes out.

 The nesting boxes open from the outside so the eggs can be collected without going in the pen but we are still fine tuning the lid as the hardwood is a bit heavy for the kids.  We also are yet to partition the space into smaller boxes as the chooks like privacy for laying. That will be next weeks job, as i mentioned earlier, the chooks aren't laying yet anyway.

The nesting boxes open from the outside so the eggs can be collected without going in the pen but we are still fine tuning the lid as the hardwood is a bit heavy for the kids.  We also are yet to partition the space into smaller boxes as the chooks like privacy for laying. That will be next weeks job, as i mentioned earlier, the chooks aren't laying yet anyway.

 The home made rooster weather vane sitting proud atop the home made house.

The home made rooster weather vane sitting proud atop the home made house.

 The chook run is huge and is shaded by a big mango tree.

The chook run is huge and is shaded by a big mango tree.

 I'm growing passionfruit along the front and side fences and star jasmine on the back boundary for a bit more shade and privacy.

I'm growing passionfruit along the front and side fences and star jasmine on the back boundary for a bit more shade and privacy.

 I still let the chooks out for a run every afternoon, even though I say I won't as they really enjoy attacking my herb garden and scratching the mulch off my fruit trees every single day.

I still let the chooks out for a run every afternoon, even though I say I won't as they really enjoy attacking my herb garden and scratching the mulch off my fruit trees every single day.

 Millie our maltese x shitzu thinks she is miniature old english sheep dog.  She likes to guard the chooks. She fits through the gate on the chook pen so spends quite a bit of time in there just sleeping under the tree and keeping an eye on the chooks.

Millie our maltese x shitzu thinks she is miniature old english sheep dog.  She likes to guard the chooks. She fits through the gate on the chook pen so spends quite a bit of time in there just sleeping under the tree and keeping an eye on the chooks.

 We have the funniest little kitten Tiger-lilly who has been joining in on most of our adventures. The chicken about to peck her is the nastiest chook I've ever met.  She beats up on all of the other hens and fights all the roosters except her brother pictured above who has taken a liking to her and only her.  Thus we've named her Cersei - if you're a GOT fan, you'll know what I'm talking about, if not, moving on....

We have the funniest little kitten Tiger-lilly who has been joining in on most of our adventures. The chicken about to peck her is the nastiest chook I've ever met.  She beats up on all of the other hens and fights all the roosters except her brother pictured above who has taken a liking to her and only her.  Thus we've named her Cersei - if you're a GOT fan, you'll know what I'm talking about, if not, moving on....

 Strangely despite the enormous labour of love, the ten chooks are still choosing to sleep in the tiny guinea pig hutch at night but they like to hang out in the house during the day.  As you can see, my animals are all a bit different and somewhat confused. I don't know where they get that from.

Strangely despite the enormous labour of love, the ten chooks are still choosing to sleep in the tiny guinea pig hutch at night but they like to hang out in the house during the day.  As you can see, my animals are all a bit different and somewhat confused. I don't know where they get that from.

 Caught the chickens hanging out in the house.  As soon as they hear me they come running out.

Caught the chickens hanging out in the house.  As soon as they hear me they come running out.

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And that's it.  I am just in love with my chook pen. It was worth all the cursing, fighting and broken tools. I really appreciate all the hard work that Jamie put in to make it for me. It's the best present ever. We will be finishing  a few things off over the coming week or so, making some signs, running a water pipe and building a herb garden around the outside edge of the fence so the chooks can peck through for supplementation. Then it's on to the next project...the pony stable!

 Happy days!

Happy days!