So, I realized I never shared our family's newest additions.
Chickens! The kids named this one Sunshine.
There's also Mercy, Gretchen, Samantha, Charlotte, & Yoshi.
Poor Sunshine met an unfortunate end by our black lab, Einstein. I feel terrible about it, as I was the one who left them unprotected, and really never thought he would do such a thing. She was the friendliest chick. I thought they were safe, because we'd been keeping them in our mudroom and garage. It was really hard to look Einstein in the face for a day or two.
It also meant we had to rethink our coop plans. We were going to do a tractor, which is a portable coop that allows the chicken access to fresh grass and bugs with each new spot. We were going to let them roam the yard during the day. With our dog's blood thirst (not to mention our neighbor's Boxer who comes over to play, and another's bird dog...) we changed our minds about free range.
Mercy is an Americauna. (Sunshine was as well) He was recommended by the nice man helping me at Orschelen's. She will lay pale green and blue eggs. I can't wait for that!
Gretchen & Yoshi are both Plymouth Barred Rocks. They are smaller, and I can tell them apart because Gretchen has a larger black band across her beak.
Samantha & Charlotte are Black Stars. They are the biggest of the five, and it will be interesting to see how their personalities match up to their bodies.
Troy took a few days off work and tried out his new nail guns on this project. (We are planning a remodel and storage shed, so the purchase was the first step) I even used them, and it was very empowering! Look at me, building things! I have been poring over Ana White's site, planning loft beds...
even Sawyer helped!
The coop didn't actually cost us that much to make. We had a lot of the lumber left over from other projects, and so we only had to buy chicken wire and cedar planks, and a few other bits. We reused some old windows from the shed, leftover hinges, and rusty tin for the roof. Pack rat validation!
Our biggest concern was keeping critters out. I knew I would grow attached to these dumb birds, so I don't want them to end up coyote snacks. Troy is more concerned about raccoons - they are crafty and smart. I made a plea for a llama (did you know they will protect your chickens?) but Troy turned me down.
The plan is to have the coop in place this weekend. I am excited to be able to watch them run around - chicken tv! They will be so much happier than in the tank in the garage. And I will be able to show you how much they've grown in such a short time!
I won't bore you with "how to" for chickens - if you're interested though, here's a few links to some things i enjoyed.
reinventing the chicken coop
when chickens move in
chicken coop 101