Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rescue by Bucket Handle

It isn’t even 10:00 in the morning and I’m flat out exhausted.  Rescuing oneself from a predator proof pen will do that to a person.  Yes, I managed to shut myself in a chicken coop. 

This is the coop.  It is 4' wide and 8' tall with the tall wall being over 5' high.  Where there are no walls, we have chicken wire.

We used to have a safety cord on the latch but that fell off and was not replaced.  The latch is also fussy.  We have to shut the door jjjuuuussst right (hold your mouth right too) to get it to shut properly and stay shut.  If you are in a hurry and just carelessly let the door slam on your way out, it will bounce open and the Swedes will run around the yard trilling with glee.

These are Swedes, aka Swedish Flower Hens. 

SFH eye candy

 Awesome chickens, you should get some!  

But this tale isn’t about the chickens.  No, it is about the woman who stepped into the pen and heard the door softly snick right behind her. 

You know that little frisson of fear that runs up your spine?  I had that.

It wasn’t even 8:30 in the morning yet.  I knew full well my lazy summer vacation teens and preteens wouldn’t bother to notice I was gone until about noon when they got really hungry from sleeping and reading and playing computer games.

So I did what any sensible person would do.  I tried yelling.  The chickens all squawked and ran for their lives.  A neighbor pulled out and left his driveway but I couldn’t see over the coop wall.  So I climbed the coop wall and yelled again but that was ineffective because the neighbors are evidently used to random noises coming from our property. 

This could go on all day and all night!  

I looked around; nope this derrière is not fitting through the chicken door.  Tried forcing the wire apart for my hand and arm to fit through; nope, while I am amazing in many aspects, being elastic-girl is not my power.  

So I looked, and I mean really looked and considered any possible use for the few things inside the coop.  There was a feeder, screwed to the wall, a roost, also screwed to the coop, an egg box and a bucket.

Aha!  The bucket had a handle!  I could remove the handle and slide it through the slit in the door panel and unlatch the door.  

Easier said than done.  

You know those buckets with handles that just fall off?  Yeah, this wasn’t one of those.  I put my foot on the bucket and pried.  I pulled, I smashed a finger, then I gave up and tried yelling again.  Yelling wasn’t going to work so I eyeballed the bucket to see if I was stronger than the plastic around that handle.  I pried and pulled and pried and pulled, finally making some progress and applied more muscle. 

I win.

Now to bend the handle.  This isn’t too hard.  Turns out bending metal is one of my super powers.

I win again.
A re-enactment of bucket handle vs latch

Except for the busted knuckle and being a little thirsty, I’m good.  Spent all of 10 minutes inside that coop which didn’t turn out too bad for a morning escapade. 

I go inside to chew out the children for not hearing me and the 13 yr old looks at me like I’m nuts.  “I just woke up!”  She says this like it’s an excuse.

All in all, after finishing predator proofing the gate into the juvenile pen and severely smashing my forefinger, then rescuing myself from the Swede’s coop, I’ve had a busy morning.  And the chores aren’t even done yet!

PS.  This could have been a far different story had there been no bucket in the coop and it were 109 outside instead of 68 degrees.  Always keep safeties on your coop latches!

The bucket handle of the day award goes here!