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Miraculously, nobody was injured...and now I have my coop!

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by SankofaGypsy, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. SankofaGypsy

    SankofaGypsy In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Metro Detroit
    this past weekend, I finally went to go pick up my coop. It was made by a family about 40 miles from my house, they had decided they wanted to expand for next year. So... they put their old coop up for sale on Craigslist. I had been planning to build a coop over the winter and get birds in the spring but... this coop was even cooler than the one I wanted to make. So, I made the purchase, even knowing that I would now have to transport a 10x12x2 structure 40 miles down the road. This, of course, is made more difficult by the fact that I own neither truck, nor trailer.

    So, I enlisted friends. One friend had just bought an old F150, so she volunteered to haul. I didn't realize that she'd never hauled anything before, or I would have volunteered to drive. (potential mistake #1) We were going to rent a trailer, but my landlord said we could use his old boat trailer, just lash some 4x4s to it to support the weight of the coop. BRILLIANT idea! he came over, dropped off a ball for the hitch, he and my husband checked out the trailer and deemed it road worthy (here, I make the second mistake - I didn't go look at it until the morning we were going to haul. When my brother showed up and we started lashing the wood on, I realized that both tail lights had been smashed. Oh well, the bulbs were still plugged into the wires, and so with a chaser car with hazard lights, we'd almost be legal. At least it had a license plate.

    My friend shows up with her truck, we go to attach the ball, which is for the bumper hitch. My friend's 6 year old daughter says "daddy said don't use the bumper pull cuz it's about to fall off!" about the same time, my husband discovers that the screw thread is so rusted that we can't tighten the bold to attach it all the way to the bumper, which is apparently going to fall off, anyway. *sigh* So, off he goes to buy a new ball for the frame hitch. He calls from the first store, they're fresh out of 2 inch balls. Finds one at the second store he goes to. While he's out doing this, we're just sitting around chatting, and decide that rather than make a separate trip to pick up my first 6 birds, we'll do it on the way to getting the coop... so I toss a bunch of cat cages in the bed of the truck.

    My husband gets back with the hitch, and my friend backs her truck up straght and true, stopping directly under the ball (see why I had no idea she'd never hauled?) we drop the hitch over the ball, and go to hook up the electricity, and find that the pins are so warped (melted? smashed with a sledge hammer?) that they will not function. Any attempt to bend them back into shape was thwarted, so we decided to go it without lights (so much for that whole "legal" thing)

    We pile into the two vehicles, deciding to take the main non-highway road that runs conveniently from my house to the hens, 30 miles away, through several small midwestern towns. I'm riding in the truck with my friend and her daughter, my husband and brother are in the chaser car.

    We make it through my 10 foot gate (please note here, the previously mentioned coop dimensions...) without taking anything out with the 8 foot long 4x4s lashed to the boat trailer. go us! We get underway, and that's when I remember that my friend has a lead foot. I mean... LEAD. so she takes off hauling this 8 foot wide empty boat trailer with no lights down our country road...at 80 MPH. SLOW DOWN! my phone rings, it's my friend's husband "Is she going slow? Make sure she takes it slow...you know she likes to go fast" BWA HA HA HA HA. I'm hanging on for dear life. My husband, in the chaser car, doesn't speed. We have no tail lights. Ok, so she pulls over, and waits for my sweetie to catch up. At this point, she mentions she's nervous because she's never actually hauled anything before, but she needs the practice so she can haul horse trailers. I picture the wild-eyed, lathered up horses getting off the trailer after riding with her... actually, that pretty well described me at that point... and we were 2 miles up the road.

    So, my hubby catches up, and we start off down the road again. Did I mention my friend has ADD? yeah, she got distracted by something, and started speeding again. and every time she saw something shiny she'd swerve... moving the protruding 4x4s into the oncoming traffic or the right lane. I suggested that she drive in the rightmost lane to help alleviate it. Pulling through one of the little towns, we were in the center lane, with a left turn lane on one side, and a right turn lane on the other. the lanes also narrowed, so that the trailer didn't really fit in the lane. Just in front of us, in the right turn lane, was a large uhaul also driven by someone unaccustomed to driving large vehicles. The light turned green, our lane moved forward, the uhaul (which was half in our lane) stayed still. There was enough room for the truck to go forward, but not the trailer. She hits the gas. "STOP!!!!!" she inches forward. "We're not going to fit!" She keeps going. We came within about 6 inches of hitting the back of the uhaul with a 4x4 before she finally stopped. I thought we were done for. We got through that town, and made it without too much speeding and fishtailing to the farm where my hens were waiting. I took one look at the long skinny driveway with a fence on either side, and advised my friend to park on the side of the road. She didn't listen. as a result, she's filling the whole driveway with the trailer, and we're at least 15 trailer lengths in. I wouldn't have wanted to back down that! ack! why doesn't anyone listen to me? Oh Well.

    So, we pick up the chickens, apologize profusely as she's giving us permission to turn the trailer around in her yard (sorry) and go to pull out, when we see... a camel. yeah. a big ol' dromedary. This distracts my ADD friend, and she nearly backs the trailer into a flower bed. This day... not going as well as I would have hoped. But, we got back on the road, and headed off to get the coop.

    We pull into the farm, and behold my magnificent coop [​IMG] My friend nearly has a heart attack... "that's huge! I can't haul that! There's NO WAY!" At this point, I'm wondering what she was picturing when I said "10x12" she's freaking out, and we decide to try loading it on its side - 10 foot tall above the 4x4s. This was clearly a bad idea, so we went back to laying down on the top surface of the coop, so that it was upside down (the bottom is open for grazing. We started lashing the coop to the trailer, rearranging the 4x4s for maximum support, and generally getting on with it. My friend says "I'm going to need to get gas for the truck." I'm picturing the coop smashing into the pump and gasoline spraying everywhere, and my coop, chickens, friends, and family imolated in a giant fireball. She came up with the brilliant idea to drop the trailer and go get gas while we finished the lashing.

    Thankfully, this is when the day does a total 180 and nothing else goes wrong. *whew*

    Friend comes back with water and munchies and a full tank of gas, nobody has put their backs out, and the chickens are clucking happily away in their cat carriers. I suggest that my husband could drive the trailer, since my friend was so nervous about the width. We plotted a different route home that avoided the downtown areas and only took us through little farm towns where hauling an upside down chicken coop on a trailer with no lights wouldn't even make a blip on the radar. heh.

    My husband stepped behind the wheel, and drove expertly, at a sane speed, all the way home. We got to our gate, and my husband made a perfect turn... didn't hit either post, even with a couple inches of clearance on either side. *whew*

    We placed the coop in its starting location, put out the feeders and waterer, and turned the girls loose in the pen. They wandered around for a while, found food and water, then discovered the roosts and climbed up for a nice snooze. Yesterday when I came home from work, I was rewarded with my very first egg! My husband asked me if I was going to bronze it [​IMG]

    I'm still not sure how we managed to make it through the whole day without seriously injuring ourselves or anyone else, withouth getting pulled over, and without me having a heart attack.


    I spent nearly an hour just watching the girls to help me relax!

    I really hope the rest of this chicken keeping thing is a little less stressful on the whole!


  2. Karrie13

    Karrie13 Songster

    May 1, 2009

    WOW what an adventure!! I am glad everyone made it safe and sound. [​IMG]
  3. froggie71

    froggie71 Songster

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    Oh my gosh I couldn't stop laughing. Sounds like quite the adventure and now you have a great story to tell!The only thing missing is the pics of the new coop with the girls. Glad everyone is safe!
  4. SankofaGypsy

    SankofaGypsy In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Metro Detroit
    Yeah, Yeah... I also neglected to say that it was raining by the time we got home, so no pix. I was so happy to be back in one piece that I put the layer pellet feeder out in the rain instead of in the coop.

    I meant to take my camera but got totally distracted by the trailer lights and didn't even think of it again until well into the adventure!

    If it stops raining tonight, I'm going to get some good pictures to post along with Part 2 of the Chicken Keeping Adventures, in which I make a very cute little boy cry. *sigh*

  5. Uppity Peon

    Uppity Peon Songster

    Great story, well told! It reminds me of my misspent youth! [​IMG]
  6. SankofaGypsy

    SankofaGypsy In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Metro Detroit
    LOL I'm busy trying to misspend my middle age! I think I'm doing a great job so far!
  7. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Sounds like you had my Father in Law planning the whole thing!!!

    Somehow I get along great with him. Maybe because I'm the planner and he's NOT, I'm the driver and he's NOT, I try to do things right and he just rigs something up .....
    at least we don't argue about how it's supposed to be done. much.

  8. Terri

    Terri Songster

    Dec 1, 2008
    Level Cross, NC
    i am so a safety girl, i would have never done it.
  9. insiderart

    insiderart Obviously Insane

    Apr 30, 2009
    Ummm... pics???
  10. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    Wow,, that sounds like something,,,, lol hehehehehe eyah,,, Pictures!!!

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