Chicken Coop: The Final Product

Howdy!

We’ve been done with the chicken coop for a while, but I forgot to put up pictures of the finished product. ย For the whole process of how we build it, check out my DIY Chicken Co0p page.

So here are some pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

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My mom nailed up old apple boxes as nesting boxes inside the coop and put up some nice roosting poles as well. The silly chickens actually sleep on top of the boxes instead of on the roosting poles…but at least they have the option of roosting if they want to.

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We also made a wire enclosure for the chickens so that they can be safe from hawks and eagles, as we have a LOT of them around here. There are a pair of eagles with a nest in a tree just across the road and since we’re surrounded by fields there are plenty of mice and rabbits for them to eat….hopefully they won’t get any chickens!

The chickens also have a door cut into the wire enclosure and they have full run of our small fruit orchard so they can run around and get bugs and grass and all those good things. They love walking around in ย the tall grass and hiding under the trees.

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The chickens are 11 weeks old now and I think we have at least 3 roosters, maybe 4. See the difference in the comb size of those two Buff Orpingtons? I think one is a rooster and one is a hen.
Depending on how many we end up with, a chicken butchering tutorial may appear in the future. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We still have about 9 weeks before they start laying eggs, but we enjoy them so much- chickens are just such happy little creatures and having them around makes me feel like a real homesteader even if they’re not pulling their weight yet. I can’t wait for those delicious eggs!

I hope you have a lovely weekend, I think we’re going to go to a Native American Water Festival and the Farmer’s Market tomorrow. Maybe it will even be sunny! We’ll see. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

The Roof Is On the Coop!

Last week, we put the roof on the chicken coop.

By “we”, I mean my dad… ย ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks, Dad!!

Hooray!!

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My dad put up cross rafters, then layered the sheets of roofing and screwed them down. We used the same roofing as on the house and sheds; so everything matches nicely.

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Then dad put up some chicken wire across the space at the top of the coop, for ventilation and so no predators can get in.

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Now our little chickies are warm and dry and can stay in the coop all the time! They’ve been in there since Wednesday and are loving the extra space to run around and clean straw to scratch in.

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We still have a few cracks to seal up and we’re going to concrete around the base of the coop to keep critters out (mostly our dogs) and then we’re going to build a chicken run outside of the coop. At some point.

And we’ll build real roosting poles and nesting boxes for the inside of the coop as the chickens get bigger. I think we’re going to use plastic crates for the nesting boxes.

Once the chicks get a bit older, we’re just going to let them free range in our fenced orchard and garden and hopefully they won’t get eaten by hawks. We lost a chick earlier last week because it jumped over the short partition we had over the doorway of the coop and got picked up by a hawk, so we may end up letting the chicks free range less than we expected. I’ve heard that stringing fishing wire over the top of your enclosure deters hawks, so we might try that. Has anyone had success with that? Let me know if you have! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chicken Coop Update

Hi, did you have a nice Resurrection Sunday yesterday?
We had a lovely “linner” (lunch/dinner) of ham, mashed potatoes, asparagus and salad and then watched movies and a bunch of my sibling’s friends came over and we played games well into the night. It was really fun!

Today, I thought I’d update you on our chicken coop progress.

It’s still not quite finished- we need a roof and to put up the chicken wire enclosure, but there are four walls and we’re able to put the little chickies out during the day. ย There is a chance that they could be eaten by a passing hawk or eagle, but since the dogs are usually outside and chase away anything that might be lurking around, the chicks are fairly safe.

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This is Daisy, peeking over the board we put in the doorway of the coop to keep her out and the chicks in.

My mom and dad had some beautiful cedar shingle siding left over from when my grandmother had the house built, so we used that for two sides of the coop. It looks so pretty!!

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The walls made out of poles had pretty large gaps in between them, so we nailed up boards over the inside to keep out drafts and rain and possible predators. Some of them are old signs from around the Island that my great- grandfather found and brought home a long time ago. (This land has been in my Dad’s side of the family for generations.)

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The chicks are going to be five weeks old tomorrow- it’s amazing how quickly the time has gone!

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They are looking more like real chickens now instead of babies.

Only 15 more weeks before they start laying eggs! (only 15…haha)

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The kids are enjoying holding them, as you can see, and I love watching the chicks peck around in the dirt and hop and fly and play-fight. Chickens are so lovely!

Do you have chickens? What is your favorite thing about them?

Hodge-Podge: Chicken Update and Sourdough Starter

So, I don’t have a “real” post for you today but I thought I”d update everyone on how the chicks are looking and share a few other random things.

The chicks are almost three weeks old!

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They were getting way too crowded in their other container (a flat-bottomed planter) so we went dumpster diving and got a couple of discarded refrigerator boxes and taped them together to make a new enclosure for them. It’s pretty ghetto, but it works!

When we were in the process of stuffing the giant cardboard cylinder into the small garden shed, the chicks got their first taste of the outdoors. At first, they were kind of scared and huddled together, but then they decided to explore a bit and all found this plant hanging off the side of a container..and went to town on it!

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They are so cute and awkward looking! The silly things are still getting their feathers so they look all weird and scruffy and it’s hilarious to watch them try to fly and jump and fight with each other. Our chicken coop is still not finished but it’s coming along nicely, maybe in a few weeks we’ll be able to move the chicks into it. We still need to finish one and a half walls, then seal the cracks in the walls and put the roof on. So there’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done.

On a completely different, unrelated note; I’m making my first sourdough bread starter!

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I found this post on how to start one, then read this post about it too. ย I’ve been growing my little jar of wild yeast for 6 days now and it’s definitely smelling like sourdough bread and is getting nice and bubbly.

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I keep trying to get everyone to smell it, but no one seems to be as excited about it as I am. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll update you on how my first baking goes- I’m can’t wait to try it!

We’re also starting sweet potatoes today inside the house, I’ll write a post about the seeds we’ve planted/ veggies we’ve started later this week.

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I hope you had a great weekend and have a nice week! It’s sunny here and gorgeous, even though it’s still kinda cold and very windy, the blue sky is just beautiful and the plum trees are starting to bloom!

We Have Chickens!! (again)

Yesterday, the chicks came in at the local farm store and we just had to go and get a few.

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Or…

Seventeen.

Yep. Seventeen.

We have the chicks under a red bulb heat lamp to help them stay calm and not peck each other.

We have the chicks under a red bulb heat lamp to help them stay calm and not peck each other. And of course, to keep them warm. They have to be at 95 degrees for the first week.

We planned on getting an even dozen- with us buying six and my mom and dad buying six, but then my mom (who loves babies of any kind) decided that if we ever move out and take our six chickens with us, she still needed a good-sized brood so she wanted ten chicks instead. And then we miscounted and an extra chick somehow made it into the box.

So we have seventeen baby chicks and boy, are they adorable!

As far as breeds go, we have Australorp, Buff Orpington,ย Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock chicks- all great laying breeds and some are dual-purpose for meat birds as well, although I don’t think we’ll be eating any of these. Unless like six turn out to be roosters or something.

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Ethan holding either an Australorp or Barred Rock- they’re hard to tell apart at this age!

We made sure to get organic feed so that we’ll have healthy chicks that haven’t been fed GMO grains and in turn, we’ll have healthy eggs once they start laying in about five months.

I’m happy because the feed is semi-local. It’s from Canada, but in British Columbia, which is only a few hours away and as the chicks get bigger and are able to eat larger grains, we’ll buy feed that is unprocessed, organic whole grain feed and is from Bellingham, WA; only two hours away! So we’re supporting local businesses as well.

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As soon as the chicks are big enough, we’ll let them free range around the yard in a semi-enclosed space, to gobble up bugs and grass and get great nutrition the way God intended- from nature! We have a lot of hawks and eagles around here, so the chicks will have to be under netting or chicken wire most of the time to stay safe. We’re hoping the dogs will also help protect the flock from getting eaten. So far they’re doing pretty well with the chicks, although Daisy tried to pick one up in her mouth. She wants to mommy them, but she’s not too gentle about it! Our dog, Lucy is really protective of the chicks- she remembers the smell from when we had our chickens in Memphis and knows not to eat them. Bailey, the puppy doesn’t seem to care about them. She took one look and then walked away.

The kids sure are having fun with the chicks, they want to go check on them all the time, but we make sure the chickies have enough down time that they don’t get over handled and the kids are not allowed to go in to see them without an adult. I don’t mind checking on the chicks, I think I’m having just as much fun with them as the children! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Maybe I”ll do an upcoming post about how to take care of baby chicks, for those who would like to get a small flock and are not sure how to start. I’m by no means an expert, but this is our second time around with baby chicks and I’ve found lots of great resources on chicken raising. I’ll include some links and tips to get you started, at least. ๐Ÿ™‚ Leave a comment if you think that is a good idea.

Hope you have a great Thursday!