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Chickens in the Coop

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I had chickens as a kid.  I don’t think I loved them very much.  They were stinky and pecked my hands and back then – I didn’t appreciate how much better the eggs from our farm were compared to store eggs.  Likely because I’d never had store eggs before!

As an adult and after learning the horrors of commercial egg production, I REALLY  wanted my own chickens.  Even city slickers were getting hens for Pete’s sake!

So, for my birthday last fall, my hubs gave me the Raising Chickens book and a promise of a coop.  And it became our first building project that was just to make a new thing.  And it took nearly 2 months of weekends.  It’s a bit hill billy constructed, we used lots of leftover supplies from our house – including the metal roofing and the yet to be installed hardy plank on the outside.  Porch decking became the subfloor.  Remant piece of linoleum over the floor to water proof it… Bought a used chain link dog kennel from a friend….  And LOTS of research on the Backyard Chickens website.

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But, with time, the coop is nearlydone.  This is a picture of the pen, which is hopefully critter proof.  It has the wooden braces on top and chicken wire attached over that.  There is hardware cloth burried out over a foot, up and over the cinder blocks and up the next 2 feet to keep coons from pulling chickens through the fence.  The chain link is tied into the ground with building anchors that go into the ground… we know there are lots of critters out here in the black forest.  We would not like to give them a chicken buffet!

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These are a few of our girls.  We have 18 – we plan on keeping 10-12 of them.  First, we had the minimum order of 15 issues, then they gave us an extra and then we wanted a couple of Easter Eggers so got those locally … so that’s how we got to 18.  Will be selling the rest on Craigslist when they’re ready to move into a pen with older chickens (8 weeks is the rule I think).   We have 6 Barred Rock (not my favorite – more aggressive than the rest), 5 Buff Orphingtons, 5 Brahmas (“gentle giants” good with kids) and 2 green egg girls.

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This is our fancy tree branch playscape.  That they haven’t had any interest in yet.  But… if not, no big deal, it can go on the burn pile where it would be anyways.

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And the chicken water system using nipples.  Hopefully they figure it out today.  As it turns out – chickens are not very smart!  As they grow, we’ll take aways paving stones so that they stay at the right height.  The 2nd picture there is the storage tank that hubs re-plumbed.  Still needs a few tweaks but… And you can see that the hardy plank isn’t on the entire outside yet.  The girls moved in anyways… at 3 weeks, we were all ready!

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We will have a gravity feed system soon… and I’ll post pictures of that and tell you if the girls are able to figure it out, but in the mean time, their old little feeder works for now.  The yellow worm, a flower planter that a friend gave me, now holds chick grit.  I thought the irony worked well…

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This is where they sleep for now.  In a few weeks we’ll be able to take the heat lamp away… And I need to get the cinder blocks to use for roost supports as the bricks clearly didn’t work.

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And when they’re bigger, we’ll have a ladder up to the big roosts.  It has a poop board under it with Sweet PDZ under that… kinda like a cat litter box, that all of the forums say keeps most of the poop out of the pine shavings…. and as it dries the poop out and is naturally amonia adsorbing, also keeps the flies and smell down/gone.  We’ll see, but I tend to believe the hoards of folks on the chicken page who have done this all before me!

The coop is only 10 x 5, the run is 10 x 10… and an open air coop as it is so crazy hot here in Texas most of the year.  We did position the coop under a few oak trees that are still alive so hopefully the shade will help.  We still need to add a bit to it to keep the rain out, and add hardy plank and paint the outside… but it is at least liveable for now.  And the girls are out of my sewing room!

As soon as I get my sewing room cleaned up and looking happy, I’ll do a show and tell of my favorite room in my house… so hopefully by this next week!

Happy chickens everyone!

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3 responses »

  1. They look great! I want to get some Buff’s if I can ever get around to ordering some!

    Reply
  2. Wow! This is fantastic! I would love to have chickens, but seriously, cannot take on one single more dependent creature at this point. Two kids and two dogs and two housemates (not exactly dependent but take up space) is ENOUGH. Lord above. But one day, one day, when my dogs have passed on to another, better world, and my children are older … maybe. Until then, I try to weedle myself into the affections of people who keep chickens so that I can mooch eggs.

    Reply
  3. Looks real good! I’d be interested in learning how your PDZ or whatever you called it works. We use cedar shavings in our coop and pine straw in the run. I do a quick clean Sundays – just pick out poop and nasty litter and put in some fresh litter and then do a total clean out and refill once a month. So far so good after about a year.

    Reply

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