Building Moving: Preparing for Winter Chickens, Part 1

| 9/16/2008 5:45:00 PM

Something that I have never experienced in my young days is seeing an entire building being moved. I come from a generation that has never heard of recycling old buildings. But that's not how it used to be. We attended an estate sale down the road about a month ago and the elderly owner was telling how her home of 60+ years had originally been built 10 miles away in another township. She spoke of horse drawn vehicles capable of moving an entire house down unpaved country roads and then transplanting the house where it currently sat. To illustrate the efficiency of this once ordinary practice, she retrieved a mint condition kerosene lamp that had apparently survived the entire journey perched on a kitchen shelf.

I thought at the time that I would have loved to see something like that! Well, God must have been amused by me, because last Wednesday, he showed me building moving first hand.

Real men move buildings!

Our happy flock of chickens (I should call it a flock-ette; there are only three hens and a rooster named Reinhold) have been spending the last year in our old dairy barn. My father and a friend built a make-shift coop last fall when we acquired the chickens from a neighbor. Now, however, we are diligently cleaning out a decade of non-use in order to prepare for ... gasp! ... milking cows! (That is for another blog post or twelve.) We need the three stanchions that the coop takes up and the chickens need a winter home.

Last year, my Dad purchased an old brooder house from a relative who happens to be a neighbor and a farmer without chickens. It's been sitting patiently at the neighbor's property for a year, awaiting our pick-up. With the push from Andrew's parents, who are really interested in our future plans for fresh eggs and free-range poultry, we decided to come together and move a house. A chicken house.

The first step after arriving at the neighbor's place was to manuever two sets of rounded wood fence posts under the building. That required our trusty skid-steer to lift one corner and then the other, until Dad and Andrew's father (Steve) could shove the posts in place. The house was sitting on railroad-tie skids, so the fence posts would (ideally) allow the building to roll across them quite efficiently. Next, Dad took the big Ford tractor and began pushing the brooder house backward, to get it out of the deep ground it had sunk into. That took some patience and several tries, but eventually the house was sitting on green grass.

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