Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jury Rigging

Jury Rigging refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made only with the tools and materials that happen to be on hand.  Originally a nautical term, on sailing ships a jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of damage or loss of the original mast~wikipedia

And all this time I thought it originally meant paying off a jury member to vote one way or another during a trial.  I also knew it was a slang word for fixing stuff with duct tape, baling wire and zip ties.  In other words, faking it.

Below, you see my jury rigged attempt to keep the House Sparrows out of my chicken food until I can come up with something different.  Yes, I see the irony in using a bird cage to do the job.  I'd like to gather the little buggers up in the cage and take them 20 miles away to a new home.
Most chicken coops have a wooden door that has a sort of 'doggy door' at the base. The people use the big door, and the chickens use the little door.  The big door stays closed and keeps the majority of wild birds out of the coop.  My entire coop is a jury rigged 6 x 10 dog run.  I lined the entire thing with hardware cloth, and then put a roof on it.  There are also wooden panels on two sides to keep the wind and rain from the north, off the birds.  They are held in place with bolts and wingnuts. The boards, not the birds-silly. Yes, the whole thing looks like a set piece from the Beverly Hillbillies, but I haven't lost a bird to a predator yet. That hardware cloth makes it Fort Knox at night.  

I would love to put a 'chicken door' in the door of my coop, but it is made of welded steel. Not gonna happen.  

This will be my next try.  Ignore the cheesy guy standing in the doorway with goodies for his BBQ.  He's the model for the ad for the product I want.  Besides, real men don't wear aprons, they BBQ in their wife beaters.  I digress
The product is a widget made out of screen that has a split in the middle and overlaps.  I know I could probably make one, but this one is already made to perfectly fit my coop doorway.  It has a top and a bottom that are sewn already, and it has a magnet situation at the bottom that causes it to 'close' automatically.
Yes, I know that some sparrows might get in and out.  Hopefully, not all 30 or so that I have counted.  The trick will be convincing the chickens that this bit of jury rigging won't kill them.  Whenever I introduced something new to the coop, they all sit around and discuss it for hours.  You'd think I was putting cobras in the pen the way they carry on.  
Bug Off for doorway
I'll let you know how it turns out.  My next move is a sparrow trap.  They might just all get to move 20 miles away anyway.   They are considered a introduced, invasive species by all government agencies who care.  I could drown the critters if I wanted to, but I don't.  I just don't want to feed them very expensive chicken food anymore.


  1. I have to stay ahead of the crows and blue jays. There's enough food out there for the wild birds right now without them raiding my expensive layer pellets.

  2. Wow, that guy *is* cheesy, isn't he? But you can tell he thinks he's a stud. Poor guy. Let's not tell him.
    I think your jury-rigged solution is very clever! I had to laugh at the way you described how your birds relate to any new little thing you bring to them - very funny! :-)

  3. Pretty clever the way your have jury rigged up that run. I say scratch the idea of that screen and bring on that model. But you might want have him holding a sparrow on a skewer so they would get the message and stay away. How's that for jury rigging?

  4. CeeCee, You crack me up. That bird cage over the feeder is brilliant!
    You might consider sending that picture into a chicken info photo gallery. I bet it would be invaluable to others with the same problem.
    Hey! That's how patents are made :)

    I hope the plastic 'door' is successful.
    I bet you've already considered installing a screen door with a cutout or flap at the bottom for the chickens, right?

    Those darn sparrows! :P


  5. Jury rigging is a way of life on the farm. I'd say you're quite adept at it there - briliant solution! ;-) I figure it's expensive enough to be feeding the farm critters - feeding all the wildlife gets to be a little much. Our latest problem was raccoons.

    I'm glad to learn that wasn't one of your family in the photo. (big grin) He is rather.... much.