Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Chicken House’

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. ūüôā

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.

A Day in the Life…..

….Of a Chicken!

It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was shining, giving warmth to the cool, damp, November morning. I had been away, not for more than a few hours. The welcome I received was as if a long, lost friend had returned from an extended absence.

There we were, my chickens and I, enjoying the warmth of the sun, basking in the knowledge that we were together again. Then it dawned on me, this flock of welcoming poultry were hoping that I had a bag of lettuce in my purse. But then, well, look what happened next…

Our reunion was interrupted as I went into the house. Within moments, I felt that I was being watched. I wondered from where the ever-present aura of watchfulness had sprung. Looking around, the culprit was exposed.

"Look guys, she's in there!"

“Look guys, she’s in there!”

My fascination with the flock was diminished as the reality of three dogs standing around with their legs crossed, looking up at me with pleading eyes led me back outside. Truth be told, the canine drive for eliminating outside was truly a blessing to our feathered friends.

The following events happened in an instant in time, yet slowly played out in great detail in front of my eyes. As the four of us opened the garage and walked out to the world awaiting us, Penni my Great Dane, ran to the right. Glancing that direction, a dark veil draped over the bliss of the morning. There swooping down toward the tiny patch of grass in front of our porch on which our chickens had just been gathered, was a very large, brown bird. Stealthy and silent, the hawk was quickly approaching. As if in a choreographed dance, Benedict our rooster, caught sight of the danger and started stomping and clucking loudly, sending out the alarm. The hens responded quickly and headed for the cover of the porch. As the hawk reached, what I would consider the striking vicinity, it must have noticed the approaching freight train named, Penni. Without hesitation, the hawk effortlessly turned to the left, and with completely silent movements disappeared into the horizon. Penni ran toward the direction it flew, but it was so quickly gone.

Quickly counting heads I found all present and accounted for. Benedict was doing his own counting…

The flock stayed hunkered down for several minutes under the chairs on the porch.

Hiding out from the big, bad monsters.

Hiding out from the big, bad monsters.

They came out and resumed their foraging, however, remained a little more on edge. Happily everyone survived, but the hawk now knows our address…she will be back. And she was back…today. I think she got a bit closer this time because I found a lot of feathers…a lot of Buff Orpington feathers which means either from Benedict (rooster), or Claudio (hen.)

My poor little chicken.

My poor little chicken.

All the other hens are Rhode Island Reds. Seeing the hawk once again, I found the flock split into two different hiding places. They managed to get enough courage to come back together, and my kids and I wrangled them into the chicken house…we then closed the door for the rest of the night. It was time to just stay indoors and calm down. Once again, all were accounted for.

So the big question is now….free range, or corralled under cover. One, obviously, has a larger danger factor than the other…but it also holds more freedom, better tasting eggs, and the ability to welcome me home. They seem happier since being able to free range, but maybe a bit less relaxed. What would you choose?

The Day After One Day in September

To say that the events of Merlot’s day in September came and went without another thought would be the understatement of the year for our family. We have always done everything within our power to preserve the life of any animal that we have been blessed to care for.The events of Merlot’s September day was something we had prepared for in the physical requirements, but it took a lot to get the ethereal preparations in order…once we got somewhat there…well, that’s yesterday’s story.

The story of the day, is about healing….the healing of the flock. Within two hours of Merlot’s absence, we had an egg…Don Pedro, who had seemed to be quite uncomfortable for more than a day jumped into the nesting box and started kicking around the pine shavings…

Our very first egg!  Thanks Don Pedro!!

Our very first egg! Thanks Don Pedro!!

These days in September actually began on Sept. 15th. Since then, the flock is at peace, we have gotten five small eggs and Benedict has become the gentleman protector of his flock. It has taken until today, one week later, for this city-raised-buy-your-eggs-from-the-grocery-store-girl to work up the nerve to cook up our hen’s eggs….and they were delicious!!!!

My first home-grown fried egg.

My first home-grown fried egg.


September 2013
Making a tiny omelette with two tiny eggs.

Making a tiny omelette with two tiny eggs.


BREAKFAST!!

BREAKFAST!!


These are some delicious little eggs!

These are some delicious little eggs!

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!!

The Bully, The Rooster…. Meet Merlot

It is totally obvious that the boys, Benedict and Merlot, have definitely, and loudly hit their “roosterhood!!” They are both very handsome, young studs with a definitive following. Benedict has his three ladies: Don Pedro, Don John, and the beautiful Claudio. Merlot has four ladies that follow his every command: Riesling, Chardonnay, Champagne, and Sangria. They are both ever present Sultan’s with a separate, devoted harem. Everyone, generally, lives peacefully with one another. The hens co-mingle and get along quite nicely. The roosters seem to be tolerant of each other, and in the human world, would probably even kick back once in awhile at a BBQ or at the beach…. that is until this past week.

Something has changed in the “mind” of young Merlot. When that rooster stepped out of the chicken house on Wednesday morning, things were different. It was as if he looked around and said, “this kingdom is mine…it is all mine!!” He started wrangling the girls into a corner of their outside yard. Benedict’s harem were caught a little off guard and seemed confused…rapidly clucking, they followed Merlot’s direction, except Claudio. Claudio ran the opposite direction. She has never been amused with Merlot’s antics, and has chased him around the yard many times (Caludio is 2.5 weeks older.) This, apparently, did not sit well with young Merlot…his new demeanor was not accomodating, and he was determined to let everyone know.

Watch out Benedict...I'm ranglin' for your hens .. especially that beautiful Claudio!!

Watch out Benedict…I’m ranglin’ for your hens .. especially that beautiful Claudio!!

Later in the day, it was very apparent that Merlot was not only trying to win the affections of the flock, he was demanding it. It was like a switch came on overnight; he had become a mean, bully boy. Although Merlot was chasing and pecking any of the ladies who fell out of line, he was pursuing Claudio at a different level. He would dig deep into her back or above her tail with his beak, pulling out feathers while she desperately ran away squawking loudly. She had become afraid of Merlot, and by afternoon, was isolating herself from the rest of the flock. If he saw her trying to eat or drink, he would chase her away.


(Since this IS my first rodeo raising chickens (both hens and roosters) I’d be totally appreciative if you could tell me if this is normal rooster behavior, or is Merlot an aggressive rooster. I don’t want my girls stressed out. He also has taken to biting people. Thank you for your advice in advance!)

While all of this was going on, Benedict just stood around looking like a deer in the headlights. Normally, this Buff Orpington gave Merlot a very small allowance; there was not much that he would tolerate from the smaller Rhode Island Red. Was Merlot taking over the throne? While they are both Sultan’s…Benedict has been the real King over this chicken coop. I was hoping that he was going to step up and put Merlot in his place. Benedict is, normally, kinder to the hens than Merlot tends to be.

As Friday rolled around, something was happening within the flock. The older girls (the Shakespeareans, AKA The Untouchables [see earlier posts]) started standing up to Merlot. Benedict had had enough of Merlot chasing around his girl, Claudio, and was standing up for her….chasing Merlot whenever he came close. Also at this time, Benedict found his voice. His crowing became louder and more forceful…he was not going to let Merlot rule his kingdom…neither were the girls!

As the weekend has progressed, there is calm in the kingdom. The two sultans are with their proper harems, and Merlot has been moved back into place where he originally resided within the pecking order. It’s a good thing too…because given the choice of having to eliminate a bully rooster from the flock, and/or reduce one sultan to bring peace back to the hens…wellllllll…there’s a reason why Benedict is one of the “Untouchables.” I truly hope Merlot understands that………. ūüėČ

Watch'a talkin' about Willis??

Watch’you talkin’ about Willis??

{popular tagline from the 1970’s T.V. series – Different Strokes
Different Strokes

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.¬†¬†¬†ūüôā

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.

Tag Cloud

Our French Oasis

FAMILY LIFE IN A FRENCH COUNTRY VILLAGE

House by the water.

From blank block to new home in Mandurah, Western Australia.

Chantel Mickaela

ITS TIME FOR YOU TO BE HUNGRAY !!!

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

Attorney ‚ÄĘ Comedian ‚ÄĘ Photographer ‚ÄĘ

Crockern Farm

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

Mucking Moms

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

Anam Baile

Welcome To My Cottage

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

Homesteading from the High-Altitude Mountains to the High Plains of Colorado

Cheese Acres Farm

Happy hens lay healthy eggs!

The Jones Garden Blog

We plant, we water, but only God can make it grow.

%d bloggers like this: