Chicken House

Fall 1998

Twice each year our farm hosts a college retreat.  It is a chance for the students to do things they've never done before and it is a chance for us to get work done! Because of the large number of chicken houses throughout the world, I thought posting instructions might help others who are attempting similar projects.  Here are the steps involved in deconstructing a chicken house.

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First remove the roof.  This is to prevent anyone from getting hurt later.  It also makes noise so everyone comes over to see what is going on with the chicken coop.  If the person on the roof acts like he is trying to steal all the tin before the owners get back, it will get even more attention.

chickenhouse03.jpg (169173 bytes) Removing the roof requires one person on the roof and as many people as possible on the ground giving advice.  It is more exciting if no two people give the same advice.  One word of warning for the advice givers: The person on the chicken house roof has a hammer.  Don't make them too angry.
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Next tear holes in the building at structurally strategic points.   This is the point that we setup a stereo playing Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland.

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After running boards through each corner, have everyone gather around and prepare to lift the former poultry residence.

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LIFT!!!! The distance you can move at a time is determined by: 1. The combined strength of everyone. 2. The combined endurance of everyone. 3. The combined tendency to fall down and get stuck under the chicken house.  Needless to say factor 3 offsets factors 1 and 2.

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When you get the building a safe distance away from your house, have everyone gather around and flip it over.  This isn't really necessary, but it is a lot of fun and really gives everyone a sense of accomplishment.

chickenhouse08.jpg (198645 bytes) This is a very appropriate time for a group picture to celebrate your accomplishment. Try to get everyone in the picture even if they didn't help.  Later, when they see the picture, they will think they helped.   This will make them feel like they were more a part of things then they actually were.
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The actual deconstruction can be done in a variety of ways.  We chose to use the "jump-on-it" and "hit-it-with-sledge-hammers" methods.  It is very important to remove all animals, roosters, hens and small children from underneath the chicken house before beginning this part of the process.

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As it gets lower and lower more people can join in jumping on the hen house.  It is kind of like a trampoline except it doesn't bounce and you can wear your shoes...well, I guess it really isn't anything like a trampoline.

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You can pick up all the pieces and haul them off but I suggest the oxidation method. (This is why we moved it a safe distance from our house.  A previous deconstruction project revealed the low melting point of vinyl siding.)