When people sarcastically ask me why I drive such a big truck I usually think one thing but answer with another. I want to say “Does it matter why I drive a big truck?” What I actually say, “Because my husband and I have a farm and sometimes big things need to be moved.” Now I have an example. Recently we moved our 12’x12′ chicken coop down the road to my in-laws house. Talk about a painstakingly slow process.
Our family will be moving in about a month and a half. We could take our chickens and guard dogs with us, but it was easier to move them to my in-laws. Our sheep are already at my in-laws. This house move is also not a permanent move so it is less stress on the animals if we just move them once vs several times. My husband still takes care of the animals in the mornings and evenings. The girls and myself also go over to my in-laws frequently so they will still be able to see the animals.
There was quite a bit of planning that went into this process and I am happy to report all animals and structures were moved without incident!
The night before the move my husband put all our chickens in the bed of a Dodge that my father in law has for his business. It has a cage built onto the bed of the truck so all my husband had to do was put a mesh tarp over the top of the cage and the chickens were ready for the move. My husband chose to put the chickens in there after dark because chickens roost at night and they do not see well either. He was able to put them in the bed of the Dodge one at a time without having to chase around a single chicken.
Once the chickens were in the Dodge, my husband and our neighbor lifted the 12’x12′ chicken coop onto the bed of our Ford. The coop is too heavy to lift straight up for two guys so they propped one edge of the coop on the back of the bed rails and then slid it on the rest of the way. The coop was secured to the bed with tie-downs and a 12′ board underneath the coop to help prevent bouncing. (Side note… Our F-250 has an 8′ bed.)
Then the morning came… Now it was time for the girls and I to help out. We loaded our two Great Pyrenees into the back seat of our truck. (White fur everywhere!!! My vacuum wasn’t ready for that.) Aubrey rode with her daddy, the dogs and the chicken coop in the F-250. Isabelle rode with mommy and the chickens in the Dodge. I played spotter for my husband while he was driving down the road. We had both our phones on speaker phone with each other so if anything went wrong with the coop we could communicate quickly. It took us almost 20 minutes for to drive what is normally a 3 minute drive. 10 MPH was our speed limit.
Miraculously, the only people we encountered on the road was someone walking their dog and someone running. Not a single vehicle drove down any of the 3 roads we were on. Where we live is obviously rural… But I rarely drive down the road without passing another vehicle. No vehicles on the road was a huge stress relief.
Getting through my in laws gate was a wee (and when I saw wee I mean large) bit tricky. You see our coop is 12’x12’… My in laws gate… 12′. Oopsie! Now I got to drive the coop truck while my father in law and husband guided the coop through the gate. At one point they did have to lift one side of the coop a little so it would clear a gate post. But that was a small portion of a long trip and it wasn’t that bad for any of us.
After Coop-Gate was finished, my husband drove the truck up the windy driveway while my father in law and I made sure he didn’t sideswipe any trees. (You know how trees can jump out at you sometimes.) The truck was parked near the field on the property and the coop was lowered onto the ground. My husband put the wheels on the coop and rolled it to the spot where we were going to unleash the chickens.
This was probably my least favorite part of the whole move. Removing 21 chickens that had been in a bed of a truck for approximately 12 hrs. There was poop everywhere. It stunk! The chickens were great. Super easy to handle like always… but that smell!! I have no idea how people have stationary coops! Our coops have always been portable 1. because it is healthier for the chickens 2. because my husband and I don’t want to clean up chicken poop for a living. It is nasty! Now I understand why confinement houses smell so bad when you drive by them. I digress…
In the end, the chickens were happy to be back on the grass running around chasing/eating bugs, the dogs were happy to be back with the chickens and the sheep, and we were happy everything went smoothly.
I’m really going to miss having the animals on our property for a while. However, the wooded property they are on now is way better for them than the pasture we were providing for them for the last 2.5 years. Our animals will be healthier because of this move which means more lambs will be born (our flock will grow) and more eggs will be laid (better breakfasts). I am also thankful that we have a place that we can have our animals while we are in a farming transition phase. Who knows… maybe the next place we move will be permanent and then the farm can really grow!
*To my local friends who read this blog and want to visit the farm… You still can! It’s still our farm even though the location has moved. Just have to give the in-laws the heads up 🙂