Winter Chicken Coop Rises


Coop_Detail“It’s turned out real nice, it’s going to stand the test of time” says Eric Kerr standing back, hand on hip and head tilted, to review progress on the winter chicken coop he has painstakingly constructed from scratch for us here at Little Ghent Farm. It’s a typically understated assessment from our softly spoken friend and neighbor who is originally from Michigan. We have collaborated with Eric on a number of projects over recent years including the transformation of a damp old pig sty into a chicken coop at our old house and then an elegant mobile chicken coop built on a rusting old hay wagon frame and clad in siding from the old barns we found at Little Ghent Farm. Eric is THE craftsman locally for this type of project and we’re lucky enough to have discovered that fact together. It is not an exaggeration to say that Eric’s influence is very much a part of the farm and we’re looking forward to more projects ahead.

We start with an idea, normally a glint in Mimi’s eye. Then we roughly sketch dimensions and design features and sit with Eric to share and have him build in his vision and expertise. The conversation always quickly gets to where we can find the materials, what is available already on the farm that we can recycle and reuse?  We share a passion for that being the start point along with the need for careful craftsmanship which Eric brings in excess. It’s beyond carpentry and closer to artistry. A wooden peg here, a mortise joint there. Piece by piece the frames takes shape and we know already it’s going to be way better than we ever imagined.  Lucky chickens.

The only new materials in the winter coop are the walls and, by necessity, the metal roof panels. Everything else comes from the pile of beams, posts, flooring and siding we have from the rickety old barns. You can’t buy the character and history they hold and the stories they would tell if they could. We reclaimed the windows from old ones we had lying around. When the Autumn weather starts to turn into winter and the North wind returns we will move all the laying hens into their new home. There’s no rush. It will happen when the forces of nature suggest so and when Eric says the coop is ready. Then we’ll move onto the next collaboration.

Mimi already has that look in her eyes.


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