|Unexpected house guests|
|A little scratch to supplement their feed|
|I scored the awesome watermelon box from a grocery stores recycling bin this summer. It makes the perfect chick brooder!|
|Tina the hen with her new babies in October.|
|. Chris needs to reweld the top support bars and replace a blown tire but a all in all it is in great condition!|
|I love how bright and airy the inside is|
|A view from the back, doors to both the chicken area and the sweet little duck house below.|
|It even has a drop door that can be closed at night and a hinged ramp for easy transport.|
A few nights ago while laying down with Jasper for a bedtime story he quietly asked ” Mom, what is that noise ?” After pausing for a moment to see if I could pinpoint the sound, through the floorboards came the awkward crow of a teenage rooster. Ha,ha! It’s true, I have chickens in my house.
Not tiny cute fluff balls but big, half grown chickens camping in our basement storage room. Back before Thanksgiving we got slammed with some super cold weather and in a panic I brought the birds indoors to keep warm. I guess I kind of blocked out the strangeness of the situation until the young roo’s started to crow. Yikes!This weekends plan now includes moving them into a new coop!
Over the years we have had dozens of poultry adventures. My first home business idea being to sell “farm fresh” eggs. Chris (my very patient partner) hand built a fleet of sturdy green chicken tractors to house the flock. At max capacity we had over 100 hens in our yard! Our once golf course like lawn was turned into a pastured poultry enterprise.My plan didn’t work out as well as I had intended (many during those first years didn’t). New to “farming” I hadn’t realized how time consuming or gross caring for that many birds in rainy Washington would be. Wet chicken crap filled much of my days!
After a full scale raccoon attack that resulted in 30 dead birds (they tore the doors right off the pens!) 2 weasel episodes ( these cute darlings love to decapitate birds and drink their blood,who knew) and a lawn full of manure I finally gave away the pens and significantly downsized the flock.
In subsequent years we have had tiny flocks, a purely Bantam flock (my favorite) and recently no flock at all. But this fall when our two remaining wild Banty hens (they sleep in the trees) went broody and each hatched a clutch of eggs I fell head over heels in chicken love again.
As luck would have it a few days after these darlings arrived a friend of ours moved, leaving behind her awesome chicken tractor. Complete with an attached run, separate doors for egg collection and cleaning and an additional duck house below we joyously celebrated our good fortune !The best part, it was FREE!Only problem though, how to get it the 3 miles back home? Chris and a friend concocted a crazy, spur of the moment plan and chained the monster to a tractor bucket and slowly,carefully, pulled it home BACKWARDS! We must have been quite a sight!
Early in the adventure, when the coop popped one of its tires and began fishtailing , the sheriff drove by. The guys stopped, thinking they were in for it but miraculously, the cop just shrugged in disbelief and drove on. There definitely are benefits to living in a small town!
Today I dug out a couple of hatchery catalogs and my favorite new poultry book Keeping Chickens by Ashley English for some inspiration.
This time around, I’m really going to try and keep things a little more “adventure” free!