The Bach

For those of you not from New Zealand, a Bach (pronounced ‘batch’) is a small holiday home, quite often at the seaside. Short on mod cons, big on view. One definition that aptly sums up the zeitgeist: 

something you built yourself, on land you don’t own, out of materials you borrowed or stole.

So when it came time to make a small house with attached run that was intended to be temporary, flexible and modular … what better name? It’s intended to give us the opportunity of physically isolating one chook from the others, whilest still remaining close enough so that flock dynamics don’t get disrupted. So they can get used to a newcomer and do all the posturing and bristling they feel like, without actually being able to hurt each other. (Eventually they get bored, and so you can avert – or at least minimise – the otherwise inevitable fights when they do get beak to beak.)

The Design

The Bach is a two-part structure: a small house, and a three-panel run that bolted on to it. We wanted to be able to reuse the house part of the batch in a couple of different contexts – the main one being as a re-integration unit for Poppy. But we also wanted to be able to add it to the run extension from the Winter Garden. And we had a deadline – Nicola was bringing Gytha and Esme (aka “Madame Cholet” and “Jenny”) on holiday with her, and needed some sort of temporary housing for them.

The width of house and run were determined by the space available next to the Loft Style Apartment, but we also kept the  size and angles of the Winter Garden run in mind.

The Construction

This was the first building we managed to do in a sensible timeframe: one weekend. Day one was spent assembling the run – three panels (high side, low side, end), joined together by bolts through a block at each corner (and a similar arrangement to join them to the house). No mesh over the top – we just screwed sheets of clearlite on directly when it was in situ. That way it can be a flexible as possible (both literally and figuratively.). Easy peasy!

Building the house took a bit more faffing. Mainly trying to decide if we’d use new ply and stain it to match the Loft Style Apartment, or old ply (recycled) and oiled to match the Summer Palace. We went with the latter, as a more environmentally responsible (not to mention cheaper) approach.

Actual assembly of the Bach took place in a bit of a hurry, after Poppy abruptly decided she was tired of motherhood. It was as easy to do as we’d hoped – Jo assembled the run on her own in the morning, and then we both completed the job (adding the house, attaching clearlite, furnishing with feeder, waterer, nesting material etc) that evening. Poppy was added the following day, and was able to be reintegrated into the flock proper within five days.

There were a few remaining modifications to be made to allow it to be used as a holiday home for Gytha and Esme in Darfield. The Bach house was going to be attached to the ensuite from the Winter Garden, rather than to its own flack-pack run. So a bit of work with some spare pieces of ply and a power screwdriver was needed to block off the bits above and around the house front wall (the ensuite was taller and wider). 

But it worked beautifully, and Esme and Gytha were safely installed, and made full use of all the facilities. (We’ve asked them to write a post about their holiday, so we’ll add a link to it here when/if they do.)

Could it be that we’ve finally honed our chook-house construction skills to the point where we know what we’re doing more often than the reverse??

And what will we make next?!

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