Thank you. Yes, I realized that about the stairs about an hour after I wrote it. The door stays closed now. I don't know where they will find shelter when outside of the coop as they roam a large area and the woods. It remains to be seen. The neighbor has geese and they have gone into that shed sometimes but he chases them out if he sees them. But I can get started on the locking up for awhile right away.
In fact, I could use some advise on what the real problem is...
The chickens actually belong to him, if you consider buying chicks and putting them in an old hen house as belonging. No roosts, no nest boxes, leaky roof with drafts and poor ventilation. I put up a tarp for the roof and sailcloth for shade in summer and he took it all down when I left on vacation. He says he appreciates my help but his actions say otherwise.
In the summer he left them without water or a water bottle filled up with shavings. I have set up two watering stations and fixed the water situation in the coop.
I'm not a carpenter but I managed to build a platform that holds 3-4 nest boxes made of cardboard and filled with shavings and hay (if they choose to pull it into the nest)
The coop is app.10x10, about 7 feet high sloping down to about 5.
Yesterday I made roosts and a ramp b/c the older chicken wants sleep high up.
There are six chickens.
He buys Dumoor and I buy organic. Everyone I give the eggs to likes organic, even his wife.
I buy them grit and calcium.
I put the feed in an airtight container, suddenly this morning his food is in an old chlorine jug with a lid on it. I was just getting ready to return it to him for the geese.
I have started the deep litter method, he says it won't work.
He initially replaced most of the floor and the screening but that's it.
The roof is leaking badly and he just keeps talking about fixing it.
He says "better get the tarp off or the roof will rot." Are you kidding?
That roof isn't going to rot any more in a few months than it has in the last 20 years.
Where is his concern for the birds. They have been sleeping in damp shavings at night. It's cold and getting colder. They are sneezing and I hope I the weather holds out until I get the bedding dry again.
I have had the nest boxes ruined two times b/c of the tarp thing. He wants me to put it up and take it down according to the weather. It's not that easy. It is guyed down, held down by stones on the roof and I have to get a ladder to get up there to do it. So no, I don't think so.
The other day I saw I had put the tarp too low and rain was getting in. I asked him if he had an extra tarp.
He says no and he can't use the old metal roof from the other building as he originally thought and then estimates the cost of new metal.
I tell him I will split it with him as I am enjoying the chickens.
He doesn't respond and I say I will pay for the whole thing. Still nothing.
Our landlord bought red paint and gave it to him. I think they are both concerned with how it looks, healthy chickens not so much.
I am putting up an extra tarp and buying caulking for the holes tomorrow.
I thought we were on better terms but I just don't know how to talk to him. It's like I have to play stupid and when he is describing something like the roof, I say oh I didn't know that and then he will talk and talk about how things are done .
Any other method of speaking to him directly has failed. He wont make eye contact and talks around the issue, there is no give and take.
I think he has too many projects and a new baby. I think he feels guilty(?) when he sees me taking care of them, but he only does what they don't need. They need a roof, not cheap food. He keeps buying that food and leaving me to deal with cold wet birds and so this is what I am going to do:
Put that food in his goose shed, (which is a mess and he doesn't let them out when he is late for work), and tell him it will go to waste with the chickens. Feed it to the geese. The chickens aren't eating well anyway and I am looking for a new food. I fall asleep at the computer doing the research, lol. The "make it wet" method lasted only 2 days.
He doesn't know the chickens aren't eating their food, I haven't said anything b/c I'm sure he will debate it and as usual, I will be left holding the bag, not doing it right: that's the problem.
He says they are thin because they are so active. I feel their breastbones quite easily, that's too thin, isn't it?
This winter he would leave them in the coop all winter long, just like he did almost all summer, it was a sweat box in there, hotter than it was outside.
I don't mind shoveling and so I will shovel. I need the exercise.
I want to say to him why do you have geese? I see eggs laying all over but you don't collect them.
I want to say, on the days you do open the chicken coop, why don't you collect the eggs? Why do I have to bring them to you?
I want to say we all want organic eggs, my neighbor, me, my sister, and your wife.
Why won't you address the issue of organic vs non-organic food. It's obvious and stares you in the face .
I want to say why did you take the tarp down when I went on vacation after I spent time putting it up? He watched me putting it up for two days. Never said a thing and took it down when I left. Even the sailcloth I put up for shade.
Why did you return to work after summer was over (school teacher) letting me put the chickens out ever day (I loved it) but when I specifically asked you to leave them in for 2 days (advise given for issue with new hen wandering off) the very next day you let them out for the first time in two weeks?
I really want to say don't you know that animals feel discomfort and we are their caretakers not their owners.
Am I not being clear?
Is this a competition?
What am I missing here?
Is he really trying to help
Why doesn't he ever look me in the eye?
If I had the money I would hire someone to do the roof and put a small window in the back for proper ventilation. He says he is putting up front windows over the chicken screening for the winter, that's bad, less ventilation, more ammonia and condensation. The air doesn't go anywhere and I think a "three sided" coop will work better than closing them up.
The coop faces south and the wind usually blows from the north east so they are well protected from wind.
Maybe he doesn't know about managing a flock as much as he says he does. Maybe he will never get to it like the roof.
Here's a typical example of a conversation: Jason, I am concerned b/c the shed has drafts but not enough ventilation. Jason says: Blah, blah ,blah.
So Jean rephrases it to " do you think these holes and openings in the walls work as ventilation or would that be considered drafts? "
Jason says: the wall holes represent drafts not ventilation a
cknowledging the need for caulking material but not the ventilation.
Why do I have to word it everything as a question for him to respond at least partially.
I hate all this because you have no control over what others do, only yourself.
I won't stop caring for the chickens now. The old hen is special, I'm sure she was a pet, she loves to sit in the stairs or my living room.
At night she runs around facing the roof making mewing sounds. It is pitiful.
I had to "teach" her how to climb the ramp to the roost I put up.
However she now has a sprained right leg b/c she must be jumping down instead of using the ramp*sigh.
Sorry for all the italics, wasn't sure how to turn it off.
I am too close to the issue. What does it look like from objective viewpoint? Please be brutally honest as I'm tired of feeling frustrated with his actions.
What can I do if anything? How might he be looking at the whole thing?
If I have scared anyone off with my venting, I apologize.