A Curtain for the Coop
One of my fall projects that got put off until January was to make a curtain for my new poultry house, to keep out cold drafts, especially when it snows. I know that ventilation is more important for chickens than keeping them warm, but I’ve also read that ideally the coop should be facing south, and should not be drafty. Since mine is up against a north-facing slope and gets almost no sunlight in the winter, I thought it best for the coldest nights to have something covering the large north-facing window, where I had replaced the glass with rat wire. (I was also thinking of my outdoor cat, who spends nights in there. He does have a cubbyhole with a warm blanket in it, but it still gets pretty cold in there.)
So I devised a cover made from an old cloth shower curtain, lined with one of those emergency blankets made of thin metallic foil. I reasoned that the holes in the shower curtain could be used to anchor the bottom with hooks so it wouldn’t blow. I then found a strip of wood around which to wrap the top edge, to hold everything together and to help secure it to the window frame. I also hung ropes over it in two places and secured them with safety pins, so I’d have a way to tie up the curtain when not in use.
Conveniently, the strip of wood I had chosen already had three holes in it, so I figured that would make it easier to screw the whole thing into the window frame. (I had to put pins with colored heads in the holes so I wouldn’t lose track of where they were after it was covered with the fabric). I thought I could drill right through the curtain and into the window frame to make the holes for the screws. Nothing doing! The fabric got all caught up in the drill bit, even after I made holes in it with a roofing nail.
Then I got an idea: Maybe I could just secure it with roofing nails instead? I wasn’t sure the nails would be strong enough, but it worked perfectly! Then, instead of hooks I decided to try three roofing nails for securing the bottom, and that worked fine too. So far, it seems only to keep it a few degrees warmer inside, but at least it will keep out the snow and the north winds. And I can finally cross this off my list and move on to the next challenge: covering the small gap in the door to keep out snakes and weasels!
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Raising ducks makes perfect sense for the homestead, from helping in the garden to reducing insects and producing eggs and more.