2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Pastured Poultry Live In Pumpkin Pen
Building the henhouse in a pumpkin shape seemed to be the natural thing to do, Chris says. Her parents had raised and sold pumpkins and gourds for the 49 years they had been on their 195-acre farm in Orford, N.H. Chris and Bruce continued the tradition when they sold their restaurant and purchased the farm a couple of years ago. "I try to grow different varieties every year," Chris says.
Bruce came up with the design for the pumpkin poultry pen and hired a welder to make the frame, which is attached to an old popup camper trailer. After creating the 9 1/2-ft. dia., 10-ft. tall pumpkin shape, they covered the outside with tin roofing scraps and painted it with two coats of bright orange latex paint.
A 3-ft. stovepipe stem, and screened holes cut for eyes, help vent excess heat. Painted leaves and facial features add the final touches.
The Balches screwed wooden bins to the interior pipes to create nesting boxes. Chickens roost on a wooden pole secured high in the pen.
The chickens took to the pen immediately, eating grass inside the portable electric netting and finding shade under the trailer by day, and roosting safely in the pumpkin at night.
The pen pulls easily with a small pickup. It's not insulated, however, so the Balches move their chickens to a barn for winter. They plan to keep the pumpkin pen near the pumpkin patch and visible to customers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bruce and Chris Balch, 1322 Nh Rt. 10, Orford, N.H. 03777 (ph 603 353-9066;
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