Chickens

Big exciting news! We’ve got chickens and I love them so very much. It’s a little on the unhealthy side actually. My husband jumped on board with the whole idea pretty quickly and we started looking into coop designs. I started buying chicken magazines (yes, they are out there!) and began to learn a lot of new things. I was horrified to find out about bumblefoot (google it, the name makes it sound more innocuous than it really is) and I’ve been terrified ever since that one of my girls will get it, though it’s really not that common. Anyway, my parents came down to spend a few days with us and my dad and my hubby sat down together and designed a coop and then got started on it that weekend. My hubby got a new toy in the process, his skil-saw, and after about a week, we got it finished. We designed it to be a chicken tractor, which means it will have wheels so we can move it around the yard. We are quite proud of it and so far there’s nothing we would change about it. Be prepared for an overload of pics now:

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Went to the local Ace Hardware and picked everything up 🙂

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DSC05426Working on the frame.

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Izzy is ever so helpful.

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DSC05442I’m just a whole lotta help taking pictures the whole time. Ha! Someone’s gotta document this 😉

DSC05446Getting the roof on.

DSC05454Our little miss helper girl. I can’t help but to put her in!

DSC05462It’s getting there!

DSC05464One of my jobs was to help caulk it.

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We cut a hole in the floor (thank you mister skil-saw) and drilled a hole in the cutout and one on the side of the coop. We put hinges on the cut out and then strung rope through the holes to act as a door to coop the chickens up for the night.

DSC05504The angled pieces of wood sticking out would act almost like wheelbarrow handles for our chicken tractor.

DSC05507Working on the ramp.

DSC05517Screwed in a 2×4 at an angle so that we could fasten the ramp to it. This way the ramp won’t drag when we move it.

DSC05536Many hands make light work. Thank you Charlie and Resa for coming and helping us finish up the coop!

DSC05540Oh yes we did. We went out and bought a pallet of shingles for the roof. It’s gettin’ serious y’all!

DSC05557Made a door to the chicken run, mostly so we could let the chickens out, but it’s just big enough that we can crawl in if we need to.

DSC05582Cutting the hardware cloth.

DSC05583The finished product! As you can see, we went with the whole barnyard theme.

DSC05586The little door in the side is the “egg door” where we can reach into the nest boxes and get our fresh eggs.

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The back completely opens up so we can easily get into the coop to clean it. We put down some linoleum which we got at Dollar General (random) which makes cleaning up the poo a lot easier. We have two nest boxes to the right. Everything I’ve read says that hens will share nest boxes, so we’ll see if that’s true when the time comes. So far they all squish into one of the boxes to sleep at night. We put down some plain pine shavings for them later.

DSC06012Here are the wheels. The coop has some wear on it now, as you can see from all the dirt. I keep their water elevated on this cinder block so they don’t get it as dirty, but they still manage to get it filthy.

Then all we had to do was find some chickens. We could only fit about 4 or 5 chickens in our coop, so most online sites that sold them were out since they only sell them in larger quantities. One good site I found was My Pet Chicken. They sell chicks in small quantities but shipping is quite high, so I recommend trying to find someone locally. We got 5 chickens and all of them are different breeds, because I’m too indecisive to settle with just one type. We got a White Leghorn (no, we did not name her foghorn), a Barred Plymouth Rock, a Golden Sex Link, an Australorp, and a mystery chicken. I never could understand what he said, but she is the large black and red one, so if anyone knows please tell me! They were about 10-12 weeks old when we got them. They won’t start laying until they are about five to six months old, so the end of summer for us, but I am eagerly anticipating that first egg! Okay another photo overload coming up!

DSC05614It’s chicken time! The guy we got them from had them all in the box for us and then he gets his knife out to make air holes for them. It was all good until he started stabbing the box! I just knew he was about to kill one of them! Don’t worry everybody, they all made it through.

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DSC05647She was fascinated by them.

DSC05686One of her favorite things to do is chase them. Poor thing will get so frustrated sometimes that she can never quite catch them.

DSC05687It was harder to decide on names for all of our chickens than it was to name our daughter. Yes, slightly embarassing, but it’s true. We finally settled on these: the white one is Penny, the top left black one is Jonesy (one of our friends named her), the speckled one is Little Beak, the golden one is Khaleesi (from Game of Thrones, which is “queen” in Dothraki) because she is so dang bossy, and the black/red one to the right is Jack-Wagon, because she’s stupid.

DSC05917Penny got herself a worm! It’s hilarious when one of them gets a bug or something because the others chase her around and try to steal it.

DSC05924Khaleesi is the calmest when we catch her. Izzy likes to pet her.

DSC06006Little Beak and Penny hanging out.

DSC06008Khaleesi enjoying a tomato.

DSC06011Jonesy and Jack-Wagon were very nervous to have me taking their picture.

So far they have been very easy to care for. After about two weeks I began letting them out a little bit while they were supervised and then let them out for longer and longer periods of time. Now, I just open up the door in the morning and let them free range all day. Once they know where home is they won’t really stray. They just stay in the back yard for the most part. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into our journey with urban homesteading. Have a blessed day!