Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Chicken Coop’

Hot Weather and Predators

Summer, the real heat of summer arrived in the Pacific Northwest this week.    Temps in the high 90’s and low 100’s permeated the State of Oregon bringing with it skies……..

August 2016

Our Oregon sky!!

…..as blue as any sky you’ve every imagined.  Thankfully, this summer, there has not been any large fires proximally close enough to cause smokey air, or dingy skies.  The air has been clean, warm….well, hot….and easy breathe.  It feels good, actually, as the humidity that can sometimes accompany the heat, is really nonexistent this time of year.  Well, let me clarify that….sitting, sitting in the heat feels good….working out in it beats you down pretty quickly.  This really has been a lovely summer.

August 2016

Okay….don’t laugh at my scrawny watermelon…..hahahaha!!

Something else arrived on the homestead this week…..something less desirable, something lying in wait, opportunistic in nature, watchful and observant….waiting for a chance.  I let my guard down, and it turned it’s instinct into an opportunity…and, without hesitation, ran with it.  The chicken house was the intended target…..cunningly, or more like a rushing train, “It”, the predator, took advantage of my unwarranted trustfulness in what I had not yet experienced…a predator had broken into the chicken house.

June 2016

See the screen….these guys ripped that screen one day when they roagly entered the, Chickens Only, yard. We keep the chicken feed in this area…the goats L-O-V-E chicken feed!! See the empty feeder on the ground…UGGHH!!

Due to the heat, I had opened that little window, from the picture above, on the chicken house to create a little air flow through the night.  One larger window we leave open in the summer, but it is covered by mesh wire (not a window screen.)  This window had a screen, however,  it had been torn away…..so no screen, no wire mesh.  I had placed a fan in the window and held it in place by wooden dowels, thinking the sound of the fan and the supporting dowel structure would keep predators at bay.  It had worked for numerous nights, but not that night.

March 2016

I heard commotion from the flock, it was about 2:30 a.m.  It woke me up.  The flock was upset.  Sometimes, Benedict, our rooster will call out in the middle of the night….that is not an unusual sound.  The cackling that was going on that night, was not that sound.  Half asleep, I got up, and listened….Penni, my Great Dane, barked just a single bark…..I was in the process of thinking, “Should I go out there?” …. I did not instinctually run out in my jammies and bare feet ….. I listened, and the sound rescinded.  I listened a while longer, and all was quiet.

I had already cleaned up here a bit before snapping this shot.

I had already cleaned up here a bit before snapping this shot. Notice the struggle in the sand. 😦

Morning chores revealed the struggle my birds went through that night.  The first clue was noticing that I did not see one hen or rooster, anywhere.  Seeing the open window, no fan, or dowels remained within the open space.  Opening the door of the chicken house….there were feathers…there were many feathers.  In the corner of the droppings tray lay the body of a Rhode Island Red hen.   My heart sank.  I checked her legs…..she did not have a red band so I knew it was not Chardonnay, our #1 broody hen for hatching chicks.  Chardonnay is a sweet, sweet hen.  I was happy to see that.  So, this meant it was either, Don Pedro, or Chablis (I only had three true Rhode Island Reds at that point.)  Her head and neck were gone…the rest of her body untouched, but still I knew….this was Don Pedro.

Don Pedro....hen in the foremost of the picture.

Don Pedro….hen in the foremost of the picture.

Don Pedro was the lead hen of the flock….she ruled, second only to Benedict.  Sometimes she ruled with an iron beak, but one thing is for sure, she was respected among the other hens.  We will miss, Don Pedro!!  She had the largest, floppy comb of the hens, and I could always tell which of the hens were her actual offspring…they were the ones with the larger floppy combs…but none of them as grand has hers.  RIP, Don Pedro.

Foot print in the sand

Foot print in the sand

 

It seems that this was probably the work of a racoon.  There were suttle foot prints among the signs of the struggle within the sand of the droppings tray.  Also, a Google search told me that if just the head and neck are missing, the predator is either a mink, a racoon, a hawk or an owl.  I’m pretty confident I can eliminate all three except the raccoon…I don’t think we have mink up here…I’m not sure….but I’m pretty sure an owl or a hawk would not enter the hen house through a partially blocked small 2 x 2 window.

A claw mark, I think.

A claw mark, I think.

Needless to say that window will remained closed until I put a wire mesh screen over it.  On a good note, when the flock emerged from their hiding place, we found that only the one hen was taken from us that night.  It could have been so much worse.

Don Pedro showing off her personality as a young chick.

Don Pedro showing off her personality as a young chick.

Don Pedro….she was quite a character!!  Hahahaha!!  I’m glad I knew this funny, demanding hen!

Happier news on the homestead…..our Great Dane, Penni, has a confirmed pregnancy!!  Puppies due Sept. 21, 2016.  Check out http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com

Thank you for visiting today!!  Have a wonderful Sunday, and an awesome week!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#racoonattacksonchickens  #whatanimalwillonlyeattheheadandneckoffachickenandleavethebody  #predatorsagainstchickens

 

Move That Hen House

Some days the task is huge….and heavy…..and awkward.  Enter the need for the relocation of the hen house.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

Tony built the house on skids for just this occasion, but once again, this is not your average chicken coop.  It is large for a chicken enclosure …. 8 ft by 10 ft by 12 ft tall — it is heavy ….. built with full, heavy lumber, fully insulated, tar shingles, and a porch — awkward….something this large does not move without a lot of ingenuity.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

Why move a large, stationary, unyielding object such as this?  The flock seemed “just okay” with their house.  It was consistently shady, and dark.  Many of the hens sought out alternate places to lay their eggs.  They seemed to tolerate their home, but they didn’t love their home…hahah….as I write this, I do realize how ….quirky that sounds, but it’s true!!

IMG_2957

Other than that, we really want to control the chicken poop in the people living areas.  They are all over the place, and I want them off of my porch, in front of my car doors, and where my dogs run.  They are going to live in the pasture with the goats.

IMG_2974

The real story here, though, is in the process of moving this small, but large out-building.  The video below is just that.  It took a few hours, but it did eventually get to it’s intended spot.

Thankfully, the move was successful, and no one got injured. This project actually took place a couple of weeks ago, and I am happy to report that the hens are happy again!!  They are speaking loud and clear with an abundance of eggs….inside the nesting boxes….and now two broody hens!!  What more can you ask of a Saturday!!

IMG_2883

Thank you for visiting the farm today.  I hope your day is filled with the beauty, and warmth of spring

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#howdoyoumoveanoutbuilding

Benedict’s Bungalow

March 2015

IMG_8998

A few posts ago, I hinted…well maybe more than hinted….on the flock’s new house.  it has been a work in progress….work a little…..NOT…..work a little….NOT, and finally it is finished  I had very little to do with this construction project beyond design …. Tony did 90% of the work, my son…..maybe 10%.  So, although the new little shelter should be called, Tony’s Place, (or something like that), it has to be….Benedict’s Bungalow!!!

Benedict's Bungalow

It started with a moveable foundation, built on skids.  The one part I did help with was the building of the trusses for the roof.

Benedicts Bungalow 2015

Every hen house deserves a nice porch to sit out on while enjoying those long, summer evenings!!

Benedicts Bungalow 2015

YES!!!  We are wired for electricity!!!  No more flashlights, or construction extension cords draped across the ground from the shop.  Hey…we have to have….

Old Chicken House 2014

……Christmas lights!!!

Benedict'a Bungalow 2015

Insulation for our fine feathered friends!!  They deserve this…they work hard for us.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

I think I could live in this little house!!!

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

I think they are enjoying their little house!!!

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

The flock is really enjoying this set-up of their roosting boards.  There seems to be a lot less picking on each other, and there is enough space for those ladies lower on the pecking order to find a peaceful resting spot.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

The new 16″ x 16″ nesting boxes.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

I think the girls are happy….I know they are!  With more light, peaceful nights, and these amazing nests…we are getting between six and nine eggs a day now!!!

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

And with this automatic chicken door….. I’m a happy camper too!!!  It raises and lowers with the light of day, and as night descends.  Now that I trust that the flock understands that this is their home, and they haven’t missed getting into the house on time for two weeks…I am not running out every night to check on them.  I’m trusting that everybody has made it in… it’s very liberating, actually!!! 🙂

So, I leave you with this….the next time you crack open an egg…..think about the hen that gave you that little gem, and thank her.  If you think it’s easy work….just listen to our morning……they do carry on!!!

Thank you for visiting the flock today!!  I hope your time here was fun!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

 

 

29 Hours on the Farm

I’ve come to realize that my life is all about the chickens…and of course Sir Benedict.

October 2014

They tell me, under no uncertain terms, when to wake up. On those rare mornings that I have not gotten out of bed before sunrise, Benedict loudly calls from his high roost, and the hens squawk and complain….and poop…everywhere. Since I clean their roosts, nesting boxes, and platforms in front of their nesting boxes every morning…it’s a good idea to get them out just as the sunlight crests the darkness. I fudge this timing, just a little on the weekends, but still need to get out there before the hens have need for their time of privacy.

No more rooms at the Inn!!

This flock dictates how late I can stay out at night…somebody has to close the door to the hen house after dark!! Predators in the forest = a definite need for security.

Moonlit Night Oct. 2014

The flock and I have a symbiotic relationship…..they poop…I pick it up. They eat…I buy more food. They get blown by the wind….I cover up the drafts…. (this will be the last time I do this….more on that in my next post.)

The UPS guy told me that that was the most "Red Neck" chicken coop he's ever seen...hahahaha!

The UPS guy told me that that was the most “Red Neck” chicken coop he’s ever seen…hahahaha!

…..they poop…I pick it up (yes, I said that twice…I spend a lot of time picking up chicken poop!) My flock free range. They follow their natural food sources, and always end up back in their house at night. Sometimes that means this……

Hey, get off the porch...that water is for the dogs!!

Hey, get off the porch…that water is for the dogs!!

….and this…..

Seriously...that is chicken poop...That's ridiculous!!!

Seriously…that is chicken poop…That’s ridiculous!!!

….so, I follow them around picking up their…not so golden surprises. In the end, I believe the flock is healthier (I know we are!) and happier.

If you have 41 seconds….take a look at our little video, 29 Hours on the Farm , …. this is the reason I let this flock run my life ….

….next stop….well, we’re looking at goats (any ideas?), but I think I need a trip to Disneyland first!!! I’ve definitely got the bug!!

Thank you, for visiting the farm this morning!! Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

My Least Favorite Time of Year

Do you like summertime? I do! I like harvesting, sharing, and eating the beauties from my garden….

Summer Corn 2014

I like the long days that stretch into the later hours…

July 2014

……and the hot summer night sounds from my neighbors Peacocks

I like the warmth of early summer….

June 2014

…..when the ground is still green…

Happy chickens in the warmth of early summer.

Happy chickens in the warmth of early summer.

THEN…..August thinks it can just come along and spoil the goodness of my green summer days……my least favorite time of the year!!

What's that???  Hey who invited, August, to our summer party??

What’s that??? Hey who invited, August, to our summer party??

August brings the heat, and the dryness to the land. It is the time for getting poked from stickers that get stuck in your socks as you walk through the dry grasses.

August 2014

August 2014

Unfortunately, a bolt on the mowing implement attached to the tractor was broken for awhile at the end of June. Burn restrictions went up on July 3rd…since we have rocks, and metal blades against rocks can create sparks…sparks against dry grasses can create fires…mowing season ended earlier than usual. I didn’t have a chance to do the final cutting…so, unfortunately, the weeds are larger, and uglier than I am happy with…

YUCK!!

YUCK!!

The chickens get hot, and scrounge the dry grasses for bugs and seeds. I hooked up a fan in the chicken house for relief of the hens while they conduct their “business”…then I turn the fan in the afternoon toward the roosting boards so they can find some relief as they need it.

August 2014

The pond has receded….thankfully it has never gone dry! But this summer…actually, the past two summers, have really tested our little pond….

The pond is way down...this "green" area is usually not as large.

The pond is way down…this “green” area is usually not as large.

See the green ridge above the water line? This is where the pond usually recedes too…the ridge above it is where the pond sits when it full…I call that the NORMAL part of the year!!

August 2014

Saturday, August 30th, did bring some relief…

Fall can’t come too soon!!

Thank you for sharing the first day of September with me. I hope your Labor Day is spectacular….put one on the barbie for me, and I’ll add a burger on my BBQ for you!!

Your friend from the NW,
Tami

A Major Remodel

My hens have been talking to me, very clearly. I can hear them, and their requests have not fallen on deaf ears. Okay, before you call a crisis worker, let me explain….

Hey Ma...Can we talk??

Hey Ma…Can we talk??

…chickens have a way of looking at you, an impassioned blinking of their eyes, and a subtle, sweet, higher pitched cooing of sorts that lets you know they have something to say. If you listen, really listen with your eyes, ears, and your heart you can start to understand what they are saying. My chickens were telling me that their home was no longer inviting. Given the addition of the, now-laying four Middles, to the, already six laying Originals,…and four near-future-laying-hens better known as the Littles, three nesting boxes were no longer adequate. The ladies were complaining.

Nesting Boxes

Nesting Boxes

First of all…can you imagine having to wait your turn while needing to lay an egg? I don’t think it’s too comfortable…and neither did they. We had A LOT of complaining going on and rightly so! I drew up the plans, and the remodeling began!

Tony removed the inner wall, which included the nesting boxes, that separated the people area from the chicken area, opening up the entire house…

All opened up...

All opened up…

My idea was to create a tiered nesting box area on the left side, back wall. The bottom level would jut out creating a ladder of sorts for easier access. The top level boxes would sit flush against the wall. My hope in this also was to create a poop protected area underneath the nesting box area for those who might want to snuggle into clean(er) shavings to take a dust bath or just take a nap. I have found that not everyone wants to roost at night, some prefer to nestle in. So, Tony and I…Tony…built three more nesting boxes, and in they went!

Stamp of approval...that's Mama hen, Chardonnay, nestling in.

Stamp of approval…that’s Mama hen, Chardonnay, nestling in.

We had a constant companion helping with the process….

….she supervised the entire project. Even though she didn’t like the sound of the drill, and complained her way through it…she wouldn’t leave..hahahaha!

After the nesting box area was finished, we started on the rousts. We decided to change out the Douglas Fir limbs to wooden planks. I believe they are happier not having to balance all night, and are resting better. I don’t hear the early morning (like 3:00 in the morning) carrying on anymore…now it starts about 5:30. I think we are all happier!!

New nesting boxes + new roosting boards = happy campers.

New nesting boxes + new roosting boards = happy campers.

And here’s the result…..

The first night after the remodel.

The first night after the remodel.

…yes, those are the Littles, now totally integrated within the flock. They are finding their place in the pecking order, and are starting to roost on the boards with the older birds. Harmony in the merge?? Not quite yet achieved…but they are working it out! As for the success of the additional nesting boxes…A LOT less loud complaining from the hens…and MAMA CHARDONNAY IS BACK ON THE NEST!!!!!

Nooooooo!!!! Really NO!!! I replaced the eggs she accumulated…. TEN!!! ….with wooden eggs. She is still nesting and protecting her false clutch as she normally would, and I’m supporting her efforts with extra food, goodies, and water. I’m hoping she will abandon the nest at the point where they should hatch but don’t. She is so adamant on the nest, I didn’t have the heart to take her eggs away and push her off the nest…I hope this will be easier for her. She looks at me, and blinks slowly as she tells me she loves her little brood beneath her. She’s a great Mama…thanks to this big guy…

Benedict....our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

Benedict….our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

In that vain……our family would like to say…HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!…to any dads who may be visiting the farm today!! We hope you have an awesome day, week, month, and year!! Take care all!!

Tami

Growing Season

A farmers delight, a heavenly sight, a mix of sun and rain, a blessing for the growing grain….and weeds, and trees, and tomatoes, and…….. IT’S GROWING SEASON!!

Last year's cantaloupe 2013

Last year’s cantaloupe 2013

Enter the keep-working-till-the-sun-goes-down-eat-dinner-around-9:00 p.m. busy season. Well actually, in about a month it will be 9:00….right now it’s more like 8:15 🙂 I need to get my routine down a little better this year, and head inside in the late afternoon to prep dinner during the higher heat hours of the day. Otherwise, I find myself trying to throw something together around 8 p.m. or later. My goal is to have dinner ready to eat by 7:30 p.m. this summer…that would be a good change.

The early evening hours hold chores. There are dogs to feed, the tidying-up of the chicken house (poop control, new water, food, and shavings in the nesting boxes, sleeping areas (for those who don’t seem to like to roost), and brooder area (if we have chicks…which we always seem to have chicks – thanks Chardonnay…oh and of course Benedict!!) Also, a nice, general tossing of new shavings really freshens up the place.

Benedict and some of his ladies...a little molting going on.

Benedict and some of his ladies…a little molting going on.

I prefer a “clean” chicken house (is there really such a thing) when the Roommies show up for their night’s stay. When the sun rises, it’s out to the let the Roommies roam for the day; a quick look, and removal of any poops in or near the nesting boxes, and a freshening of the brooders water (always seems to need freshening.) With the extra effort, we have very few eggs with any soiling on them.

WOW, did I ever get distracted!!! This post was supposed to be about this year’s vegetable garden 8)

So, here it is…so far. For the most part, we’re using planter tubs again this year. Hopefully by next spring we will have a proper fence, better gopher control, defined planting areas, and a more defined watering system. I’m hopeful!!! In the meantime, here is what has been planted so far…

The Douglas Fir mulch lining the garden.

The Douglas Fir mulch lining the garden.

Cantaloupe, and Strawberries

Cantaloupe, and Strawberries

That empty container is waiting for watermelon.

That empty container is waiting for watermelon.

Sugar Snap Peas, and regular pod Peas

Sugar Snap Peas, and regular pod Peas

Cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, yellow onions

Cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, yellow onions

Grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, etc.

Grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, etc.

Russet Potatoes and Red Potatoes

Russet Potatoes and Red Potatoes

I'm getting quite used to using one of these.

I’m getting quite used to using one of these.

Well…it’s not fancy, but the veggies and fruit will be awesome nonetheless. I still have a few more things to plant, but it’s finally coming together!

Catching Up…

I really dislike it when “life” gets in the way. There is a lot to update on the farm…I will let the pictures do the talking.

Five of the six Originals

Five of the six Originals


Riesling and her man Benedict!

Riesling and her man Benedict!


Jag....one of our Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red mixed roosters...very handsome!

Jag….one of our Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red mixed roosters…very handsome!


The Muppets and Chardonnay!

The Muppets and Chardonnay!


Benedict checking out his progeny!

Benedict checking out his progeny!

As the sun came out, so did those who inhabit this hilly forest…..

The Muppets, testing their feet on the green grass.

The Muppets, testing their feet on the green grass.


Not too sure about this...

Not too sure about this…


Hey Ma!!!  It's still a little cold out here!!!

Hey Ma!!! It’s still a little cold out here!!!


Penni watching over the youngest flock.

Penni watching over the youngest flock.


The Muppets following mama with no boarders!!

The Muppets following mama with no boarders!!

…and the trees decided it was time to make their long awaited appearance….

The first Cherry Blossoms!

The first Cherry Blossoms!


Apple trees

Apple trees


Beautiful Pear Trees

Beautiful Pear Trees

…but the Chestnut trees are still in that “groggy” state right before they wake up! The first pasture’s grass needing to be mowed down is completed (only 8 more hilly acres to go…uuggh..but also 🙂 …..

The back hillside is mowed....to be repeated at least 4 more times this season....

The back hillside is mowed….to be repeated at least 4 more times this season….

….producing this lovely, lovely product….

All these cuttings and not a single goat, cow, horse, or rabbit to feed it too...

All these cuttings and not a single goat, cow, horse, or rabbit to feed it too…

…hhhmmmmm maybe we need to rethink this……

Our neighbor's horse!

Our neighbor’s horse!

…but I don’t think we are quite ready yet…the good extra work of spring has worn us all out…

Tired old Tucker

Tired old Tucker


Karli catching some rays in the warmth of a beautiful spring day.

Karli catching some rays in the warmth of a beautiful spring day.


Hank, the cat, kicking back on Easter.

Hank, the cat, kicking back on Easter.


Tito and Lilly

Tito and Lilly

…but the epitome of being worn out due to excessive spring-like-I-can’t-believe-the-sun-is-out behavior goes to….Penni!!!

What a day!!!

What a day!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter!! Enjoy the burgeoning springtime!!!

We Thawed, They Moved

As brief, beautiful and fun as it was, it is good to see the vibrant green of our Oregon home once again. To read these words one may think that we have been trapped under ice and snow for weeks…well 5 days is a long time! {ducking as tomatoes are thrown by those in the midwest, etc. who have spent months in a deep freeze} There are reasons we moved to Oregon rather than, say, South Dakota…5 days of snow, then a thaw is apparently one of them.

The vibrant green of the moss on the trees is striking!

The vibrant green of the moss on the trees is striking!

Expanding the view of the vibrant green moss on the oak trees.

Expanding the view of the vibrant green moss on the oak trees.

The ice-rain layer covering the snow left some damage, and broken limbs…but thankfully most of what we are seeing is minor.

Minor branches broken and debris is most of the damage we have found so far!

Minor branches broken and debris is most of the damage we have found so far!

We’re still hoping that the damage, if any, to our newly planted trees is minimal. Although we’re not too worried about the 300 Douglas Fir babies as they are built for Oregon winters, and the fruit / nut trees are also quite resiliant to the cold while they are dormant, the Giant Sequoias are a greater concern. So far, the tension and suppleness in their young branches seem okay…only time will tell (at least another month) if they will survive. Here is what they looked like in the snow/ice…

As we thawed, our band of cabin fever poultry showed great happiness in being able to stretch their legs. Literally, as soon as they noticed a path out of their cabana without snow those little chicken feet ran to the great outdoors. They were so happy!!

The “Chicken Littles” on the other hand had GREAT BIG changes awaiting them. With increasing bullying going on in the bigger chick brooder, it was time for them to move into the adult chicken house. Thursday night was the big transition. In preparation, I had cleaned the big house, and added a lower roost that afternoon. About an hour after dark….my son and I carried each one in, sitting them on the lower roost. The older chickens didn’t seem to really notice or care about what was going on below them…funny how darkness kind of lulls chickens into a daze of some sort. Since Little Austin Healey and Honda are 2 weeks younger than the oldest Chicken Little, I hooked up the heat lamp in their original brooder (within the big house), but left it open so that they and the others could hop in and out as they wanted.

First night in the hen house...it's actually dark, except for the flash!

First night in the hen house…it’s actually dark, except for the flash!

I worried, but they survived the night! I put up a barrier to keep them inside the house and cabana areas, but would also allow the older chickens out…well at least I figured the older chickens would find their way out, and they did. Benedict was hanging around the “Littles” and seemed to be accepting them quite well. I hadn’t seen much pecking going on by either hens or rooster so I was hopeful…

Since then they are struggling a bit with their courage…I find them all in the brooder area most of the time, although they know how to get in and out of it. I did see some pecking going on from the more dominant hen toward the young ones, but it was more attention getting than trying to harm…however, Benedict, our rooster, did go after one of the little suspected roosters in a much more “assertive” way. I scooped up that little baby and held him…..okay a little over the top, but he (hopefully she) closed his eyes and snuggled in…they are still my babies!! We’ve had stormy weather everyday since Thursday, and I’m hoping that once the older birds get out and about more, the younger ones will start becoming more adventurous, and grow their courage..the combs on about 3 of them sure are. NO ROOSTERS!!!

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!

A Little Elbow Room

If you’d like to add a little ambiance to this post…please click on the youtube link…it will play while you scroll. If you want to relive something from your childhood…if you grew up in the…gulp…60’s & 70’s this is a cool blast from the past and fun to watch. Either way, or both ways…ENJOY!

Being squished is no fun!! It’s not fun when you’re trying to maneuver in a small space. It’s not fun (yet totally important) when you’re having a mammogram. It is certainly not fun when you are one of eight rapidly growing young chickens.

We’ve had a lot of bickering going on within the young brood. Still in the small, improvised brooder, there has been increasingly less and less space as the chicks have grown. Since it is winter, they are house-bound, and getting no relief from one another, with the exception of the two days in the 50’s without wind we had about a week ago. Since then they have been in real tight quarters…not a healthy lifestyle to sustain healthy “tween-age” chickens.

I tried allowing the young chickens into the adult chicken’s house area.

Visiting their home-to-be. once they grow up!

Visiting their home-to-be. once they grow up!

By closing the outside door, the young ones were protected from the incoming draft, and the incoming house-protective flock. The chicks were somewhat reserved in their enthusiasm, and the older chickens were not happy to be closed out of their house. This idea was fine for an outing, but they needed a more permanent home during their too big for this, too small for that awkward stage.

My solution…drag their outside look-I’m-a-big-chicken-now pen into the shop, and set it up as an indoor pen. The beauty of this is because it has an open bottom, all I have to do to clean them up is to lift the pen a little, move it over (corralling the chickens within it’s walls), then sweep up the old shavings. EASY!! Also, when we do have a warmer day, I can easily walk the chicks, and their pen outside for a little while.

I’m hoping this move will make our little snarky brood a little kinder to each other. I’m feelin’ the love…I hope they are too!

Looking happy in their "tween-age" brooder.

Looking happy in their “tween-age” brooder.

Jag enjoying her new perch.

Jag enjoying her new perch.

An old TV antenna provides the support for a heat lamp.

An old TV antenna provides the support for a heat lamp.

BRRRRROODY HEN

I’m a nervous chicken mama. The temp has been dropping steadily for days. Our efforts to protect the flock has been a learning experience, especially since one of our hens has decided that this would be a great time to sit on a nest. Chardonnay is broody, and extremely dedicated to her potential chicks. December 14th will mark 21 days on the nest…and maybe our first hatching!

This is our first experience with a broody hen, and I know this is the worst time of year for her to be wanting to hatch these eggs, but….we’ll provide whatever support these little chick-a-dees may need for warmth, etc., and hope that Chardonnay will take over some of that responsibility. She has been off the nest a couple of times wherein I think she has gotten confused which box she had been laying on. The eggs had cooled off some, but did not get “cold.” Well maybe a couple of them did. Each time I put her back on the correct nest, she has cuddled down and brought any eggs outside of her body into and under herself. At last count, she had 14 eggs!!! I don’t know if she is bringing more eggs into her nest, or if others are laying theirs where she is lying. This is a true learning experience, and if we come out with one or two chicks, I will be ecstatic!!

This all started two weeks ago today. Six of the 7 hens laid eggs in the same nesting box…Chardonnay decided to sit, and there she stayed. The 7th hen laid her egg in a different box, so since it was still warm, I put that one under her….one egg for each hen giving us a better chance of a pure Buff Orpington chick. Our boxes are a bit small for a broody hen, so Tony took out part of the lower wall under the nesting boxes (they are about 4 ft. off the ground) and made a nest/brooder area that expands into the “people” area. I lost some of my storage space, but Chardonnay is more comfortable, and the chicks won’t fall off the landing area in front of the nesting boxes.

I was afraid that moving Chardonnay and her eggs would result in her abandoning her nest, but she is so devoted, she just wiggled herself back into place, pulled two eggs under her that were sitting out, and snuggled in. She has been much more comfortable since the move, and is growling a lot less when I come near. I bring her treats, and little bowls of cracked corn and chicken feed at night…I thinks this is helping. Due to the cold, I haven’t candled any of the eggs to see what we’ve actually got going under there. I’m sure we won’t have 14 eggs hatch. It’s going to be fun to see what we actually get…I’m hoping for at least one Claudio (our Buff girl) look alike!

New nesting box.

New nesting box.

Ideally, the hope is that the brooders can stay with the flock (in their own area within the chicken house) with mama leading the way, keeping them warm. Logic would say that their integration will be more natural this way, but there are dangers of attack by other flock members that we have to be really thinking about. Our logic doesn’t always coincide with God’s design in nature, so we’ll try our best to nurture through the cold of winter whatever may hatch. I just hope they’ve stayed warm enough through this bitter cold. Either way, I won’t let Chardonnay sit for much longer than a few days past the 21st day. She needs to nourish herself and get back to chicken business beyond nesting.

A question for my knowledgeable poultry friends out there….Will eggs that have been sat upon for many day still hatch if Mama Hen gets confused and sits on eggs laid that morning while her nest grows cold? Chardonnay did that today. In very chilly weather, the eggs were cold to the touch when I found them without her. She readily snuggled back down with them when I put her back on the nest, but my fear is that damage has been done.

OMGosh…It’s Cold out There!

Well…I’ve had to cut my posts from one loooonnnnnnggggg post to two shorter. Keep an eye out for my next post….!

I think that almost the entire country has been in consistently dropping temperatures.

At 7:00 this morning, our outside temp was 3 degrees…3 DEGREES!! The welfare of my chickens has been a huge concern. I’m just short of inviting the flock into the house…..well….maybe not that far, but the garage stays in the back of my mind. Though their house is really wonderful, it is not insulated, and the roofing is metal sheeting. Without help, their inside water would surely freeze…actually it did. This freaked me out!! I felt like such a hugely awful chicken mama, but it threw me into action. I started with rigging up one 250 watt heat lamp, and a heated water bowl…since there is no power to the house, I hooked up power with long, yellow, construction power cords. A week and a half ago, this worked fine…this past week it fell way short. Implementing a cord splitter, heat lamp #2 was employed. The temp dropped again…we moved the heated, outside water dish inside. This seemed to work well for the teen temperatures…but last night we were going to be dropping into the single digits. So, in the dark, in temps of about 13 degrees…Tony and I were out at the chicken house lowering the heat lamps to more directly provide heat to the chicken roosting / nesting areas instead of the general house. With this, and a generous supply of cracked corn, everybody survived the night. Give me a break now….I’m used to animals living INSIDE the house…these girls and guy are my first out-of-the-house experience, and with these kind of temperatures….let’s just say it was a glorious 6:30 a.m. moment when I heard Benedict crowing!!

It's cold out there!

It’s cold out there!


Heat lamps add warmth.

Heat lamps add warmth.


Heated water bowl was a necessary addition.

Heated water bowl was a necessary addition.


Coaxing them in with cracked corn so I can shut the chicken door.

Coaxing them in with cracked corn so I can shut the chicken door.


Claudio the hogging the heat.

Claudio the hogging the heat.


At least they look warm and toasty.

At least they look warm and toasty.

The cabana has been a really great addition, and the flock has spent a lot of time out there. Tony picked up a couple of straw bundles, and spread some of it on the floor of the cabana. That was a hugely great idea as the chickens are not liking foraging around the snow very much. They actively kick around the straw and look for the chicken scratch we’ve thrown out in it, and little bugs that may be hiding.

A big pile of straw to play in.

A big pile of straw to play in.

The more extreme cold is supposed to last a few more days, I think we’ve got it covered….maybe…wait until the next post, big news on the farm!!

Rooster tracks in the snow.

Rooster tracks in the snow.

Freezing Chicken Fix

By Friday the temp fell to 19 degrees...brrrrr

By Friday the temp fell to 19 degrees…brrrrr

I think it is safe to say that the late, fall weather has arrived! I still find it fascinating when I leave for work and puddles are frozen…then when I return, those puddles are still frozen. Two days later, still frozen…obviously these puddles are shaded throughout most of the day, but I’m still amazed. In the Bay Area, it is a rare event when it gets cold enough to freeze a puddle, and even more rare for it to stay frozen the length of a day. I don’t think the beauty that the cold brings will ever get old for me. Since we now live at a higher elevation in the foothills surrounding our town, our temps can be 5 – 10 degrees different than what the phone weather apps, like the one above, display. Sometimes I will call down to my Mom who lives in town when it is snowing…we may be getting a bunch, while in town it is more of a slushy rain.

This puddle stayed frozen for 3 days.

This puddle stayed frozen for 3 days.

Mostly or partially frozen for 3 days.

Mostly or partially frozen for 3 days.

With the onset of the colder weather, my thoughts ran to the chickens. I know they wear their own down filled “jacket”, but I worried that their house wasn’t going to be warm enough through the night. We still had some issues with drafts, which, I have learned through my blogger friends of whom I hang on their experienced wisdom, is bad, bad, bad for chickens. That first cold/rainy/windy night about 3 weeks ago, I kept waking up thinking about my freezing birds. I apologized to them as they stepped out onto the wet ground of the morning, fluffing their feathers and cackling at me (do chickens swear, cause I’m sure they were…) Needless to say, when I got home from work, I hopped into action. I can’t have a bunch of angry hens and a rooster on my hands…not since they’re producing these….yes, that’s one day’s collection.

Seven chickens, seven eggs...life is good!

Seven chickens, seven eggs…life is good!


Everyday, we’re collecting 6 or 7 beautiful eggs…from 7 hens. It has definitely helped with my dog food bill. 🙂

I just really love our chickens, I don’t want to think that they are cold or can’t get out of the rain. #1 – I decided that they needed a cabana that would give them cover as they stepped out of their house. I took the paneled wire fencing from around the garden, and with the help of my son, set up a three sided frame, attaching it to the chicken house for stability.

They already like it!

They already like it!


Looks like a good space.

Looks like a good space.


At this point, then, I was alone with the rest of the design and build of the cabana. We always seem to have a supply of plastic tarps, so I threw some of these over and attached them to the wood framing with a heavy duty staple hammer. This was the first level of protection against the winds that come over the mountains behind us and funnel through on their way into the valley.
First level of protection, insulating against the wind.

First level of protection, insulating against the wind.


I then found a ground tarp that we used underneath our tent for camping. I hesitated on the thought of punching holes with the staples through this tarp, but I figured our flock was more important than a piece of plastic. This tarp was large enough to provide protection from the rain. It was a great fit, then I realized that I had to pitch the roof-line or rain would just accumulate on top and cause all sorts of problems. On my hunt for a solution, I found items like a stand alone wire shelving unit, boards, and boxes that as I lifted, shoved, and somehow moved around, creating a pitch…we had a pitched roof. I stretched the tarp tightly, and tacked it down to the wooden frame. I was stoked! It really came together! As I stood back to take pictures to send to hubby who was away on business, I realized that as I created the roof pitch, the tarp had shifted…leaving the wind/weather side of the cabana shorter than the other side. UUUUGGGGHHHHH!..it was that Charlie Brown moment….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ-t4DhAfrs

It ain't purty, but it works!

It ain’t purty, but it works!

I wasn’t about to go through and remove all the staples, so I used Shoe Goo on the seams of the white tarp, and it seems to work just fine. It’s quite cozy, and the chickens really seem to like it. With the addition of a heated water bowl to keep the water from freezing, I think they’re doing pretty well! I’m glad I liked to build forts as a kid…and with my kids when they were younger…I think that helped!

Cozy and dry

Cozy and dry

Cozy and dry...that's their heated water bowl.

Cozy and dry…that’s their heated water bowl.

#2 – I needed to fix the drafts and provide some sort of “insulation” since their house had none. As you can see in the previous pictures, I tacked on some large, flattened, cardboard boxes to add a line of insulation on the outside areas corresponding to their indoor roosting branches. Then hunting around the shop, I found some cans of foam insulation….PERFECT!! Being afraid that the birds might be attracted to the yellow, hardened foam, I insulated from the outside. It’s not that pretty, but it completely cuts that draft from those areas I applied it. Basically, I just followed the gap lines between the boards, trying to keep a straight line..haha.

Can you see what's roosting behind the windows?

Can you see what’s roosting behind the windows?


Canned Foam Insulation 2

By the time I finished, it was getting quite dark, but I couldn’t let them go one more night in the cold. The result is that the flock is happy, I’m happy, my dogs are happy because of all the eggs they get to eat…all is well, and I’m not waking up thinking about freezing chickens.

I feel good that our chickens have a dry place to go from the rain.

I feel good that our chickens have a dry place to go from the rain.

One Day in September

Life is full of “firsts”…some you can foresee, and some you never thought you’d experience. Two years ago and beyond, I never would have pictured the “first” that was necessary one day in September.

I had mentioned in a previous post about our “bad boy”, Merlot. This animated, exuberant rooster had changed his approach from assertive, to aggressive. His aim was the flock, and any hen not falling into place was to be punished….and punish he did! He chased, he pecked, he pulled out feathers, and he jumped forward with talons leading the way. The three hens that were loyal to Benedict…Don John, Don Pedro, and Claudio were the objects of Merlot’s main aggression. He was relentless in his pursuit, grabbing and pulling the hens by their combs….our entire chicken community was constantly disheveled and on edge.

Benedict, our buff orpington rooster, emerged as a lover, not a fighter. In the beginning he stood up for his three gals…chasing Merlot away…Merlot would respond. Until one day….one day in September. On that day, Merlot raised his talons to Benedict and Benedict cowered to Merlot’s rising aggression. It was 89 degrees that day…Merlot had the entire flock sequestered inside the hen house. Anytime they tried to get off of their roosts to get food or water….he punished them. They were breathing through their mouths and suffering in the heat of the day. As I chased Merlot out of the chicken house he turned on me biting and raising his neck feathers. He ran back inside, to reestablish the hostage situation, I decided it was time for his tyrant reign to end.

Merlot was separated from the flock that day. The solution was apparent. Given his aggressive nature, he would be vulnerable to getting into the wrong hands wanting him for fighting, and he was not appropriate to lead a flock. We decided that we would finish the responsibility we started when we added him to our little farm. He would meet a humane end. Everything went well…it was quick, and the processing without blemish. Merlot is now in our freezer awaiting to grace our table side-by-side with our Thanksgiving turkey. We think he deserves that place of honor!!

So please help us celebrate Merlot with a video tribute…light hearted, and exemplifying of the life that was Merlot’s!!

Animal Antics

Nature, domestic and wild, is really a great form of entertainment. During the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed a myriad of heartwarming animal antics that brought with them tears, laughter, and contemplation. For true effect, I’m writing about them in time order….

The five “Fine Wines” were moved to the chicken house (actually this was more like 4 weeks ago) and merged with the four “Shakespearean Untouchables” with great excitement!! They loved their new house! Benedict, our young-but-oldest rooster, set down the law very quickly. He chased the smaller hens around a lot, and was especially attentive to, Merlot, our younger rooster. There was some mild pecking going on from the older group, but no blood was ever drawn, nor feathers plucked. The most heartwarming thing that occurred every night through their transition was that no matter the disdain from the older brood toward the younger, at night when seeking safety inside the house, everyone was accepted to roost. There was some cackling going on as they all found their spot, but the chasing and pecking was at a minimum. The inherent understanding of the dangers that could befall each other if left outside was incredible to witness. I am continually amazed and entertained by my feathered friends.

The Roosting Broods

The Roosting Broods

Two young red-tailed hawks have left their nest and are looking for a feeding ground. The chickens have learned to listen to the birds in the trees, and run inside when they strike the alarm. Benedict’s eyes have learned to watch the skies for dangers and darkness. He leads the brood in and out of their house as safety permits, and has determined the level of darkness that he will allow them to stay outside…after that, he rounds up any hens that are outside, into the house…it is so cool to watch. Here is the call that brings the brood indoors….

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/166694/play

Our Great Dane, Penni loves, loves, LOVES our neighbor’s dog, Daisy. Daisy is a true farm dog, of the Great Pyrenees variety, that protects their livestock. Daisy and Penni have a through-the-fence friendship. They actively run back and forth, stick their heads through the fence squares to say, “Hi,” and just lay down and spend time with each other. One day, Penni seemed confused by Daisy. Daisy was just laying there, Penni was trying to engage her, but it was a no-go. Penni looked back at me several times, so I thought I should check things out. As I approached Daisy, I saw something very strange…then it dawned on me…Daisy had a snout and mouth full of porcupine quills. PORCUPINE QUILLS??!!! I didn’t even know we had porcupines in our neck of the woods, but it makes perfect sense…we’re in the woods!! Long story short, Daisy’s human took her to the vet…wherein she was not only de-quilled…she gave birth to 6 puppies!!

This unfortunate guy made his way into the chicken’s yard area….
Garter Snake July 2013
I didn’t see it, but he didn’t last very long. I found the brood close to it…the snake was already dead.

It seems that it is that time of year again….the Peacocks have arrived!!

This picture was taken last spring...they made a visit to the chicken yard this past week.

This picture was taken last spring…they made a visit to the chicken yard this past week.

Beyond all of this…Tucker has gotten into burr bushes 5 times in the last 3 days,

Our poor Tucker doggy and those darn burrs.

Our poor Tucker doggy and those darn burrs.


the family of quail living under a wild blackberry bush have been exercising their bevy of tiny wonders, deer mommies are cautiously bringing out their spotted fawns from under cover, and the neighbor’s goats have been kidding and telling the world about it.

The highlight of all these animal antics, however, has to be the running of 1500 ducks down the main creek winding through town…..Enjoy!!

A Sad Reality

My next-day post turned into a week later…..the realities of life sometimes get in the way of those things, like writing, that I’d rather be doing.

There are other realities in life that we encounter less frequently (hopefully), but always, when they occur, too often. Before I get to that, I have some updating to attend to.

So obviously, the chickens have continued to grow. Since my last post, the “Fine Wines” have feathered out nicely and have been spending time in the small pen that Tony built for the “Shakespeareans”, aka…the “Untouchables.”

Watching over both broods, Penni is a very busy Mommy!

Watching over both broods, Penni is a very busy Mommy!

For three days, their outdoor run was not in the location you see above.  We had them across the driveway, closer to their brooder inside the garage.  They LOVED the great outdoors, and were very quick to get the idea that they could eat the grass, and bugs under their feet.   Our first group didn’t seem to catch onto this concept quite as fast.  Maybe it’s because they were raised by a Great Dane, and not a hen…hahahaha!  This younger brood has taught us a lot about chicken behavior, and some of the dangers they face.  They just, in all aspects, act more like the typical caricature model of those feathered fowl you see in cartoons.  Younger than our first brood, these “Fine Wines” have scratched the dirt, found that grass is a great substitute to feed, chased bugs, and found a roosting place earlier and with more ease than the “Shakespeareans.”

The Fine Wines decided this was a good place to spend the night!

The Fine Wines decided this was a good place to spend the night!


They don’t really want to be held (unlike Claudio), but have found that it is a necessary evil to getting outside.  There is one exception to this, “not wanting to be held” tendency that I will detail in a bit.

The “Untouchable Shakespearean Four” have settled very nicely into the chicken house. We started out having to coral them at nighttime back to indoor safety around 8:30 to 9:00. The sun hasn’t been setting until about 9:30ish, and since, at this point, we manually close their access door we lose patience around 8:30. One night we waited, and it was so cool…it was about 9:15 p.m…our neighbor’s rooster called out…our little man and ladies lifted their heads and ran straight into their house! It was the most awesome sight!! Once the sun starts setting a little earlier, I’ll have patience to wait for this crew to begin doing that on their own…for right now, we do the nighttime coral dance. =o)

Well, now to get to the title of this post…during the week that we were introducing the “Fine Wines” to life outdoors, we had a real-life homesteading lesson. We left the brood out in their covered pen while we went to dinner. I wasn’t concerned as I had left the older group out many times with no problems…Tony, on the other hand, mentioned that we should bring them in…my thoughts won-over the moment, and we went to town…the 6 glasses of wine stayed out. As we were coming up the driveway back home, a hawk took off from a ground level position…near the outside brooder. I glanced at the six smaller chickens…they seemed ok. My concern was mostly on the older four, their outdoor pen is not top covered….they were not outside. Taking a peek into the chicken house, my fears were quelled…they were all there, but they didn’t come out to greet me. Something scary must have happened.

My attention then turned back to the “Fine Wines”…they were all grouped together in one corner of the pen, except one…it was laying, crumpled against the side of the pen…the opposite side of the pen. I thought, “Oh no!!” And within the few seconds it took for me to get to the brood, the additional thoughts that went through my head were…”Which one is it? I think it’s going to be the rooster…he’d try to protect the girls…he always does…Oh no is it Gretchen?” By the time I formed that last question, I realized that it WAS Gretchen….he was dead.

Little Getchen.....the rooster.

Little Getchen…..the rooster.


The little hen who would be a rooster!!

The little hen who would be a rooster!!

Our imagination tells us that Gretchen (the Rooster) must have run forward in front of the flock to protect them. Even though he was still so young, Gretchen always put himself in front of the girls when he sensed something. The hawk must have grabbed him through the wire mesh wall. It was very sad, and it was a very good lesson of true nature…it is all around us up here in Oregon. We have less of a threat of the artificial dangers such as animals being hit by cars, but a more prominent possibility of predators. This requires a different level of thinking and planning. We’re still figuring it out…like the fact that we now put a cat carrier into the outdoor pen so these little ladies and gentlemen have a place to run to for protection.

Do you remember me saying that the younger brood of 6 (now 5) do not like to be held….well, the night of the hawk made things a little different. Those little glasses of wine stood absolutely still while we picked them up to move them inside. They actually relaxed into the crevice of my arm and almost all of them closed their eyes as I walked them back to their home. They were scared, and exhausted. Huddling together, they ate, got a drink of water, then huddled together and took a good sleep. They were somewhat quiet for a little over a day, but something really cool started to emerge….we had a new little rooster. Up to that point I hadn’t noticed that we had two, except for a little “chest pounding” by Gretchen and this little one….welcome to the cockerel section, little Merlot!!

This little guy stepped up to the plate after Gretchen died.

This little guy stepped up to the plate after Gretchen died.

My concern now….will little Merlot be big enough to stand up to Benedict if necessary? Hmmmmm……..

From Brooder to Chicken House

Still catching up….

About 10 days ago, we moved our 4 “untouchables” to their new home…the lavishly designed chicken house. Who are the 4 “untouchables” you ask, and why am I calling them that??  They are the 4 originals…the 4 amigos (although 3 are amigas)…the 4 never to be seen on a dinner plate, soon to be leg banded so no mistakes, named after Shakespeare’s, “Much Ado About Nothing”  male character roles even though 3 are hens, first brood of chickens our family has ever raised.  I feel very parental over these fine, feathered friends!!

Benedict (the rooster), Claudio, Don John, and Don Pedro - The 4 "Originals"

Benedict (the rooster), Claudio, Don John, and Don Pedro – The 4 “Originals”

Don John, and Don Pedro

Don John, and Don Pedro

Claudio

Claudio

Penni, our Great Dane, must have been a little concerned too.  She HAD to get into the chicken house and count her babies.  As soon as she found everyone accounted for, she relaxed and left the newly designed home with her approval.  She hasn’t needed to get in there since, so I guess everything checked out to her liking… ;O)

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

June 26, 2013 087 June 26, 2013 090 June 26, 2013 094 June 26, 2013 097 June 26, 2013 101

Their first night out of the brooder in the garage was a rough one….for me!  I worried all night about raccoons or coyotes, were they warm enough, did they have enough light filtering in from the outside shop light.  I had read that chickens like some sort of dim light in their house…that they are scared of the dark…really???  So I worried that they were cold, afraid, and vulnerable……am I the only one who thinks this way??

I think this is what you get when you move from city life to country life….an over exaggerated tendency to want to keep everything under your own roof to keep it safe.  Maybe it stems from always needing to know where your animals are when you live in the city.  If they are not within earshot or sight, they are at risk for getting hit by a car, picked up by animal control, or barking too loudly and disturbing neighbors.  Dogs must always be leashed, confined, and controlled….cats, although given a bit more freedom, better not be choosing a neighbors freshly dug garden as an area of interest or they risk mysteriously disappearing.  Always, always know what your pets are doing….since I have not been removed from that reality for very long, I am still working my way around the city confinement vs. being able to stretch the boundaries a bit more.  I’m trying not to view the chickens as pets….but I think I have lost that battle with the 4 “originals.”

Me and my buddy, Claudio!!

Me and my buddy, Claudio!!

Despite my worrying, the chickens have done well.  The last couple of nights have been cooler than I’m comfortable with since they don’t have any type of heat source.  A light bulb or the heat lamp may be something we add today.  I’ve read varying advice on that.  These 4 are not of egg laying age, and although feathered out nicely, they don’t yet have the body fat (I’m guessing here) to keep them as warm as they should be.  I am not sure if that is true or not.  But they are not yet roosting, and they huddle together on the floor in a corner during the night…that tells me that they are a bit cold.  I’m not okay with that, so we’ll see what we can do today.  If anyone has insight of this, I’d be happy to get your advice!!  The chicken house is not wired so we’ll have to run an extension cord…hhmmmm.  I’ll have to figure out how to get an extension cord through a wooden wall…I may have to drill a hole…..sorry Tony!!!

First time contemplating walking down the ramp to the great outdoors.

First time contemplating walking down the ramp to the great outdoors.

They made it!!

They made it!!

I'm not sure why we thought closing the chicken door was a good idea.

I’m not sure why we thought closing the chicken door was a good idea.

Stay tuned…..the “fine wines” have had a little adventure of their own….but that’s for tomorrow!!

 

 

 

Chicken Coooooo…… naw……. Chicken House!!

When you think of chickens what comes to mind??  Well after seeing these little girls (and it looks like 2 – 3 boys) grow and feather out from their soft, downy, fluffiness…I don’t see dinner!!  Those clean, pudgy fryers that I buy at the grocery store could never have been one of these cuties….I have to keep that separation…at least at this point.  Tony thinks differently, he thinks that when the time comes we will have a delicious meal sitting before us that once was in the chicken coooo…..uhmm …house.  Only time will tell, although I have no doubt that if it were the best option to feed the family he wouldn’t hesitate….but, there is a grocery store 3 miles away….and hunting has never been his thing.  Age and time has a tendency to change you…maybe it will me too……but I’ve named them, maybe I shouldn’t do that.

Shelter….that was the big question on our list a couple of weeks ago.  What are we going to use for a chicken shelter as they grow out of their brooder?  We started looking around for premade chicken coops.  There are some really cute ones out there, but I couldn’t see 10 fully grown chickens spending a rainy day or many successive rainy days, as we have here in Oregon, squished together in such a small area…. #1:  these little gals like to stretch their legs… #2:  I don’t want them having to be so squished together that they have poop everywhere they walk.  I realize that they are going to have poop everywhere they walk no matter the size of the chicken coop….but if the shelter is a little bigger, it will be more spread out and they won’t have to be walking through fresh “piles” of it.  That’s my inexperienced way of thinking.  It may be really inefficient in poultry management principles…but doesn’t it make sense…a little??  BTW, Tony agreed with me on this one.   🙂

Not being able to find just the right shelter option, Tony decided to build one. We thought about contracting with Adair Homes (our home builder), but decided to take the project on ourselves…hahahaha.   After looking at many different plans, Tony decided to combine  a few different ideas, and the chicken cooooo….naw….chicken house was built.  It really is a thing of beauty….

Tony Building the Chicken House (with a little help from Penni)

Tony Building the Chicken House (with a little help from Penni)

The Two Rooms and Nesting Box without Interior Wall

The Two Rooms and Nesting Box without Interior Wall

The Front People Door

The Front People Door

Clean-Out Trap Door

Clean-Out Trap Door

Looking Out the Chicken Door

Looking Out the Chicken Door

Roosting Ladder

Roosting Ladder

Looking Out from the Chicken's Area

Looking Out from the Chicken’s Area

Nesting Boxes

Nesting Boxes

The Work Area and Egg Gathering Side of Nesting Box

The Work Area and Egg Gathering Side of Nesting Box

Looking Out the Chicken Door

Looking Out the Chicken Door

The only thing left to add now are the chickens…………….

Mickey 4th of July

BTW…our family would like to wish your family a Happy 4th of July!!!  Our prayers go out to our wonderful country, that our footing would once again become solid in it’s foundation, and that God’s hand would not be lifted as we continue to move away from the principles that made our country great.  May God continue to bless our United States of America, and may His people never forget the sovereignty of His love.

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The Healthy Irish Kitchen

A Bright Ray of Hope

I'm a temporarily staying-at-home mom of two living in Oregon, learning all over again (after 15 years of city life) how to garden, harvest, and put up food. You might see posts about baking, parenting, crafting, organization - anything that strikes my fancy!

Homesteading NJ

Keeping the garden in the Garden State.

Winkos: a straw bale building adventure in Poland

A journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle

Press Publish

Inspiration and tools for better blogging from WordPress.com

Cherry Orchard Homestead

Learning to live a Simple and Self-Sufficient Life

Humble Little Homestead

Living Simply and Enjoying the Good Life

happilybackward

an exercise in simplification

Health, Life, and going back to basics

What I've been discovering about the ultimate self-sufficient lifestyle

Kevin Hotter

Los Angeles Freelance Writer • Comedian • Photographer •

Crockern Farm

The evolution of an old farmhouse, an American woman, an Englishman and their dog.

Mucking Moms

Horse Showing, Stall Mucking, Kid Raising, Garden Growing, Animal Rearing, Creative Crafting, Home Cooking, Penny Pinching, Coupon Clipping, Family Loving Moms

kelzbelzphotography

My journey - The good, bad and the ugly

Anam Baile (Spirit Home)

The Experiments of A Romantic Hobby Farming Homemaker

Preppin' Mamas

Get your prep on...no matter what comes your way!

My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

The ancient eavesdropper

Nature's nuances in a nutshell

Willow Creek Farm

High Altitude Homesteading

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