Hen Home Renovation

Jenny and Jordan moved into the new Invercargill Vegan Society HQ, and brought their Hen Friends with them :-)

It was quite an adventure getting their own human home setup nicely for potlucks etc, but what about the Hens adventure?

We started with a rundown, beaten up old glasshouse frame.  It was filled with panes of broken glass and huge weeds.


With a little work, we got the door sliding again, and covered it with greenhouse plastic for the Hen Friends to live inside :-)


They were happy to help out, clearing their initial outdoor yardspace :-)


Until they had some room to sit inside their warm safe Hen Home!




They sleep sitting down, but we’ve made them some perches to explore.



Amelia Hen firmly holding on to the perch :-)  They were cautious of the perch at first, but equally curious about what was being installed on their wall!  The finished perch has flush screws :-)



Whole Hen, Amelia Hen, Home Hen, Geiger Hen on the main perch.


Home Hen placed on the higher perch :-)  She has been through so much, initially being “Hurt Hen”, her body has mostly recovered from life on the farm.


Amelia Hen looking up to Home Hen and her remarkable recovery.


Home Hen eating rolled oats scattered across the perch.


During these 30 degree (celsius) days, we’ve left ice cubes in their drinking water.  Here Home Hen eats rolled oats and drinks nice cool water.

The Hens have a covered walkway along one side of their Hen Home.  We made two doors in the greenhouse, and then covered this pathway with wire mesh.  This allows them to always be able to get outside even while the Hen Home is shut for the night.  They have outdoor access while being protected from cats.

Home Hen and Yellow Hen are very good friends, you’ll often spot them sitting together in one of the walkway openings :-)

Outside of the Hen Home, at the other side of our fenced in backyard we have a grapevine.  These two great friends like to sit there together too!  Awwwwwwww.


At night, the Hens sleep inside these boxes.   Two of these were originally flour bins from a kitchen unit, painted green and turned on their side!


They tend to pack together warmly among pine needles at night :-)


Whole Hen exiting one of their nesting boxes.



We figured their Hen Home needed a door that would keep them safe from cats at night.  Chickens have wonderful eyesight, but like humans, they cannot see at night.  They are vulnerable to cats who attack them while they are sleeping.  The Hen Home door seals off their outside yard and protects them.  Very practical, but as you’ll see, whimsical too!

A quick sketched out design.  The door is a Bag End suitable green on the outside, with a mural of the sun and stars inside.  At all times, there are Vegans all across New Zealand who are looking after Hen Friends.  We decided to make the door for the Hen Home and then send it around to our Hen Heroes to sign!


Making the door from a piece of wood.


Painting the outside green.


A quick palette to test the mural colours :-)


The Night and Day divide.

Fixing hinges

The mural design comes together!


Finished!  Pictured alongside our World Vegan Day 2012 posters.

Heck, this door is MUCH funkier than the doors inside our own home!

Checking for size and tolerances.  Theres a minimal draft around the door, keeping the Hens inside warm at night :-)

Painted a nice dark green on the outside…

…and bursting with colour inside!



As much as we loved the Hen Home door, it was ready to be sent away on a nationwide autograph tour!

While it was away, we had a ……..temporary…… setup each night :-)

It kept the Hens inside safe, but it wasnt much to look at!

Heres how Jordan and Jenny hoped the door would look on its return to Invercargill.

The door went from Invercargill, up to Auckland, and back down to Dunedin!    We drove to Dunedin to collect the door from Carl himself :-)

door maps


With tears in our eyes for the farewell, we posted it to our friends Romina, Susan, Kath and Deirdre in Auckland :-)


The door arrived in time to attend an Auckland Vegan potluck!  Kath brought along Pip the Rooster, who she and her partner look after :-)

Shanez, Susan and Bridget with our Hen Home door :-)

Romina with a Pip, eating watermelon!




Kath signs the door on behalf of the roosters they look after :-)

Before the door was sent back home to the South Island.  Theres so few of us here, the single postwoman knows us all by name!

Jordan and Jenny met Carl in Dunedin, at the fantastic “Circadian Rhythm” vegetarian cafe!


We had a lovely time in Dunedin, visiting many Vegan friendly cafes, seeing the sights and making friends.  We returned home to Invercargill with the now signed Hen Home door, its nationwide tour complete!


Doesn’t it look great? :-)

Yellow Hen happily sitting on Jordans hand, obligingly having her photo taken :-)

Having half our backyard for themselves, the Hen Friends have a great life :-)  They are safe and warm at night although they always have outdoor access.  They have a grapevine to sleep under and plum trees.  And their fenced yard area surrounds our vegetable garden :-)


Kale, Bok Choy, Parsley, Lettuce, Silver beet, Celery, Chives.

We are lucky to live with such lovely, well mannered Hen Friends :-)  You are welcome to meet them at one of our Vegan potlucks :-)