Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" - From "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Up, Up, and Away...

John finished the chicken kite this week.

I don't know why John calls it a "kite." He said something about it looking like lightweight stick kites he used to make when he was a kid. They were triangular, and there was something about the way the air flowed through them, to lift them into the sky. I guess I can see that in the chicken kite.

John's inventive nature attaches itself to every project around the farm. He looks at something, and he just has to improve upon it. It frustrates me sometimes, because what should be a quick project becomes a lengthy one; but more often than not, the results of John's efforts are far superior to acceptable standards. The chicken kite is no exception.

All the chicken tractors we have looked at are relatively small, and made of wood and wire. They are only big enough for a half-dozen chickens at the most. Some are larger, but not by much. One woman I know has complained that the plywood on hers is warping badly. She's on
ly had it a few months, and already, major changes are required.

Chicken tractors are supposed to be portable. Most have two wheels on one side, and are picked up on the other side like a wheelbarrow, then moved. A common complaint however, is that they are much too heavy for one person to move. Most have too-small wheels. One I saw had large, but heavy wheels. Some of them are attractive, but what good is a portable pen that is too heavy to move?

John's chicken kite is large compared to others we've seen. It's triangular shaped, approximately 10' long, and 4' wide at the base. It's relatively lightweight, and moves easily without wheels. It's pretty spacious too. Right now, there are 15 chickens in the kite, and they have plenty of room to scratch the earth, stretch their wings, and chase each other around.

I wasn't sure about John's design for this chicken kite when he started. I wanted his assurance that it would be aesthetically pleasing. Even as he built it, I wasn't sure it would be. But John's chicken kite is more attractive than any of the chicken tractors I've seen. I absolutely love it!

John's going to build a second kite for the younger chicks which will be ready to move outdoors in a few weeks. This kite won't take nearly as long as the first one did (I hope), but I know John will be making improvements on the design.

I'm anxious to post pictures of the kite and our chickens, but I think John's got a great idea here that folks will want to copy, and I think he should be able to sell the design, or kite kits if he chooses to do so. So I've encouraged John to patent his kite. That's why I'm not posting pics of it yet. Once the patent is established, I'll post pictures with great excitement.

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