I introduce a feature to the chicken enclosure.

“It shouldn’t take me long, honest,” I tell the LTLP.

For a while, Short Tony and I have been talking about constructing a special door to allow the chickens out to play in the woods. Now that the weather is more DIY friendly, we have decided to grasp this particular nettle by the horns, and even now Short Tony is standing beside the back fence brandishing an electric drill.

The LTLP gives me her ‘there are about 10000 DIY jobs that need doing and that have needed doing for ages and that I have been going on and on at you to do but that you haven’t done because you say that you have been too busy whereas now you seem to have all the time in the world to create some ridiculous and unnecessary piece of engineering for the chickens who you love more than I do it seems well I am not going to say anything but frankly I am not impressed’ look.

I shrug weakly. I am a bit intimidated that she is able to condense all those particular facts and feelings into one single look, although it cannot be denied that it is handy for the narrative.

“It won’t take us long,” I insist. “And you will understand when it is finished. All we need to do is to somehow rig up some clever door or hatch arrangement which will let them through to the woods. Then they can go and peck about to their little hearts’ content, before slipping back through when it’s their bedtime.”

I give her a reassuring pat on the arm.

“Plus with our DIY skills we will be creating a classy and interesting feature for the garden, creating a practical yet aesthetically pleasing focal point that will sit in harmony with its surroundings and add value to the setting,” I add.

19 Comments

  1. This can only end well.

  2. It may end well in terms of narrative for the blog, but on the other hand I foresee tears ahead for Jonny, the LTLP and, quite possibly, Short Tony.

    Ooooh, the suspense.

  3. what if the chickens make a break for freedom – I’m very worried about them now

  4. sort of like a fox-flap, you mean?

  5. Sporting of you to give them a way out, Jonny. They’ll pop out on the wood side first thing in the morning, saunter around to the front of the house, hop through the front gate, and mercilessly fuck the LTLP’s plants again for eighteen straight hours. Good healthy exercise for them, and for the LTLP too, assuming red-faced screaming counts as cardio…

  6. Play in the woods? Are you suggesting your chickens have somehow become too refined and cosmopolitan for your liking?

    A few minutes in the woods isn’t going to backwards-evolve them into flesh-ripping velociraptors, if that’s what you’re hoping.

    Because I’ll bet that’s what you’re hoping.

  7. No – they are allowed out there for a nice refined stroll.

    I am very pleased with the results of my DIY. It is elegant and refined, which is a good job as you can see it from the cottage and everywhere in the garden.

    I will take a photo when I get a sec.

  8. I’m with ajb1605. Sounds exactly like a fox-flap to me. Very convenient for the little dears AND you’ll have a lovely life-lesson for the toddler about the cycle of life, all in glorious technicolour.

    Chicken innards – an elegant and refined feature in any garden.

  9. Do chickens s**t in the woods, or is it only bears?

    Please advise.

  10. Why am I thinking of Jane Horrocks and Mel Gibson when you say you’re installing a ‘special door’

  11. I look forward to seeing the photograph, JonnyB. I may be able to learn from it.

    I started to add one of those features for my chicken run. I cut a hole in the weldmesh, low down on one side, and …. and that’s it. That was two years ago. The hole has been “patched” ever since with an assortment of former oven shelves, bits of mesh and so on. And the chickens use the human door (when open). I should have worked out in advance the engineering challenge that is creating a pop hole.

  12. How could I fail to feel warm and fluffy about this idea?

  13. I’m surprised you trust Short Tony with a drill…still, I suppose it’s marginally better than a saw…

  14. Just seen the photo – an excellent “Jo[h]nny” B solution!

    But having read your intentions, I do think the fox-flap warning is valid. Depending on which way it opens, either the chickens can’t come home or the fox can get in. Mind you, it’s one way so, if he can get in, at least he can’t get out again.

    Oh – another thought. You don’t think this might leave the LTLP caught short some time soon? I foresee more hyper-expressive looks…

  15. My aunt has that look. She brags about it. It makes even recalcitrant Arab students shrivel in their seats.

  16. I came back to see if the photo had appeared – and laughed aloud with the shock! That is so-o-o-o ingenious but I shall never be able to copy you. Most people in my social circle already privately believe I am mad (I can see it in their eyes). If I had a loo pop hole, I think someone might complain to the Council.

  17. I love the fact there’s a little step to help any foxes, cats or very short Tonies to get in and out.

  18. It could all spell disaster if the chickens ever get loose in the house and bathroom! ‘come on girls… it’s the woods!’ *splash*

    Ingenious, if a little erm… undignified – but then there’s not much dignity about being a chicken I suppose.

  19. Fantastic effort, loving in particular the John Seymour-esque smallholding synergies! I too am being told off by the wife, in my case that I should be sorting out guttering or stripping walls rather than planning the pathway for a new colony of bees …

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