Chicken Scratchin’s: Making birdhouses from gourds; what to do on a snowy day

gourdcutting When the snow is deep and the garage is project free you can have a great day making birdhouses from gourds. We grew basket and birdhouse gourds the last couple of summers and have been drying and curing them different ways. Our methods were somewhat successful so we have a good 15 project gourds ready to go.

We chose the gourds with loose sounding seeds. The first step was to wash them with a bleach water (10 parts water one part bleach) solution to stop the mold process. Mold on gourds doesn’t mean the gourd will be unusable. Just be sure to remove it safely. After the bleach bath, sand the loose skin free. Many abrasive surfaces were used with sand paper and steel wool the most productive.

gourdcleanoutNow your gourd is ready to become a birdhouse. With a short amount of research you can learn about the size and shape of entry door birds prefer in their homes. Purple martins have shown preference for an eclipse shape door 1 3/16 inches tall, while Eastern bluebirds need a round 1 ½ inch hole on their homes. They will also need clean out valves to remove last year’s nest every spring. We try to recycle, reuse and repurpose here on our farm. So we utilized the necks and lids from large plastic jars for the clean out valve. A jigsaw will easily cut out your pattern transferred onto the gourd.

gourdcaulkingWhen the clean out holes have been cut, you will need to remove the seeds and pulp inside the gourd. Fit the plastic jar neck and secure. Run a small bead of caulking around the jar lid and gourd to make a waterproof seal. Once your gourd has dried you may paint it as you wish. More research will tell the height you should hang your birdhouse.

Today we made five purple martin homes and several bluebird homes to place around our farm for our feathered friends to inhabit this spring.

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