Wednesday, May 22, 2013

when chickens move in

So, I realized I never shared our family's newest additions.

Chickens! The kids named this one Sunshine.

Sunshine :)

There's also Mercy, Gretchen, Samantha, Charlotte, & Yoshi.

So. We have chickens now.

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.

building the coop

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...

 Daddy's helper

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!

Since I'm #notgoingtomarket we built a chicken coop! Power tools are awesome!

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 coop works as a kid cage too! #whenchickensmovein

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
backyard chickens
when chickens move in
chicken coop 101

peep peep!


Cindy Sharp said...

My husband's family had chickens. He tells me that you have to burry the wire fencing around the coop so that things like skunks don't sneak in and have a snack.

Colleen said...

A friend has a golden and it happened when they got their first chicks. They ended up restricting the dog from the yard at certain times when the chicks /hens were out. So sad but great lesson in the cycle of life.

movita beaucoup said...

1. I would live in that coop.
2. Alternatively, I would let those chicks sleep in my bed.

Peggy said...

Thank you very much for supporting your friend Elizabeth with her new shop and the giveaway. I am so excited to find out I have won! I love Aurifil thread and have tried other sizes in those marvelous needles. Can't wait to try this size. I've never worked with voile so I'm happy to have an opportunity to play with such lovely pieces. I urge everyone to check out Cucire. Very nice shop.


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