Hello, my friends! Long time no see! I hope your summer's been going well ... 🌞
So before I launch into the whole chicken coop "meet-and-greet" I'd first like to say how happy I am to be back here at Typepad again after such a long break. My computer issues have been mostly resolved - laptop out, desktop in - and more on all that in a future "meet-my-new-desk" post - but hopefully I'll be here a little more consistently going forward!
Now, as some of you might remember, back in May we got a half-dozen baby chicks delivered and ever since then Bill has been busily (furiously) building a coop for them in the backyard. Because, despite how cozy they seemed in our basement mudroom, the need for more space and more FRESH air (for all involved) was DIRE by midsummer. Well, as it often happens, the project took longer than we anticipated but finally, just about a week ago, the coop was nearly done - still needs a bit more trim, a lick of paint and maybe some windowboxes ... but "done" enough to house our six pretty girls!
And so here's a little tour ... :)
The coop is situated in a rather shady area of our yard, close to our neighbors' pocket farm. (They keep chickens, too - as well as ducks, goats, horses and dogs!) Bill built our coop from his own design, but he perused a LOT of plans online to get ideas and information. The playset you can see beside the coop is getting moved to the other side of the yard (closer to the patio, kitchen window and the boys' dirt pile).
The front (back?) has a handy door for accessing the nesting boxes.
We only have three set up right now because that's all our hens need. (Two per box.) I love how the height is perfect for even my youngest to help with the gathering of eggs. :)
The door on the left side of the coop opens to a storage area ...
Inside this closet is where we're keeping shavings, food, treats, tools, etc.
And here's a look at the other side of the coop/pen ...
The pipe poking out of the siding is where we fill the "irrigation" system (the chicks' water). The doors open into the pen itself:
On the left - nesting boxes, straight ahead - roosting branches and to the right - the chicks' water.
A small door (which can be raised or lowered by a pully system Bill rigged up on the outside of the door) leads down into their pen ...
By the way, the coop and pen is protected with something called, "hardware wire." It encloses the whole thing (windows included and buried deep along the perimeter) and is (supposedly ... hopefully) predator-proof. We do have plenty of those in these parts, living in a deeply wooded area as we do - coyote, fisher cats, foxes, hawks, owls, etc. For the time being our chickens will "free range" within this pen only ... in the future we may try to build a portable pen that would allow them to roam the yard with protection .. and once we feel more comfortable handling them, we may let them roam while we are present ...
(As you can probably tell, we're completely new to this whole (ad)venture and learning as we go!)
Here we are inside the pen ... a ramp leads down from the coop, and the hanging tin bucket serves up their chick food. More water access is situated beneath the coop itself (where they like to roll around in the shade).
And here are more roosting branches!
Finally it was the big moving day! We moved the girls in - of all things! - my old file crate! That seemed rather fitting. :)
They just did NOT know what to make of all this.
Welcome home, girls!
(Have I named them? Yes: Hazel, Harriet, Fern, Violet, Rosemary and Dragonfly. But we can't tell them apart yet, lol)
I think this is going to be a lot of fun. :)
By the way, our chickens are a breed called, "Buff Orpingtons." When we finally decided to make the leap and order chicks, I googled, "chickens good with kids" and up popped these guys gals! Apparently they are the "golden retrievers" of the chicken world, lol. Love to be petted and held, friendly and sociable ... and so far, this seems to be somewhat true ... they are a little skittish still, but are settling in pretty well. They are definitely "people-chickens" - they know my voice and respond eagerly when I approach the coop, cooing for them. So endearing ...
In fact, I just came in from checking on them before we start supper ... only one girl was in the pen, cooling off in the shade under the coop, while the rest were inside the coop itself. But as I sweet-talked them, another three came out to see me - one flying from the ramp to land by my feet! (I'm still getting used to that!) I fed them from my hands and petted them a little ... and they strutted around pecking at the greenery and scratching at the sand. They really are very sweet. :)
Well my friends, that was a very long post! But I hope you enjoyed hearing about our new project and meeting our flock! I would LOVE to hear from others who keep chickens - any advice or suggestions? I'm all ears!
But that's all I have to share for now, but I will do my best to be back soon so we can chat again. I am moving into "back to school" mode so there will be MUCH to talk about in the weeks coming up! If you have school-age kids (at home or or otherwise) what grades are they entering this year? I have a senior (a SENIOR!) in college, a junior in high school, a 14 yo special needs boy and a 3 year old "preschooler." So I certainly have my work cut out for me! (But don't we all?)
Ed plans and reports are currently under way ...
As always, I thank you for joining me today and I wish you all a pleasant evening! (Or morning as the case might be ...)
See you here again very soon!