Thursday, June 15, 2017

New Perch for 43

Here are some photos of the beginning of the Perch Gym for 43.
The chicks took to it right away! they love their jungle gym. Every morning and afternoon they go chill on the branches.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Second Coop or 43

We found a second barn like shed that would be perfect for the next batch of chickens, this time newly hatched chicks. Our kids were buying a shed for themselves to store their huge inventory of Christmas and halloween things and there it was. We joked lets make it a two for one deal, but the kids already had a plan and bought it for Kens Birthday.
So with the new barn shed at an angle to the "Wingspread"  coop we began planning for the chicks.
One day Ken out of the blue says, "lets get another shed and make the plan even and symmetrical". I didn't want another shed, but I really adore symmetry and balance, I think he really wanted the barn for more storage so he can keep all his tools separate from chicken stuff.
So once again we went over to tuff shed and found exactly what we were looking for. It was a better version of the first shed, about 8 inches higher with insulated sides as well.

So, we bought it on our 43rd wedding anniversary, it was our present to ourselves so thats why  we just call it "43".

And here we go, our 43 chicks are enjoying their first day outside 43.

There's still work to be done, painting, perch building, waterers and nest boxes.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

First Egg

Strange squawking and squatty behavior drew us to the coop where we watched Mahogany our Rhode Island Red make her nest a little deeper and rounder to her liking.  She fussed and fidgeted  for two hours before leaving the nest where we found her first perfect little egg.
Ken had cut out the doors to the just last week they must have known that it was time to get down to business.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Coop Interior Update

We changed things around quite a bit after the chickens began using the coop. What seemed like a great idea in theory didn't work as well.

We moved the roosts side by side instead of one on each side of the coop as they all wanted to be together.. The wider poop deck with a rubber squeegee makes clean-out a breeze, no more bending.

The nests were raised another 10" off the floor and moved to the opposing side with a "hospital" area to be built into the end of the nest run, a change we found useful after having to quarantine "Titi" for bleeding pulled tail feathers, and "Meanie" for aggressively mean picking behavior.

Still a work in progress, but it's working so far and they like it. We have yet to see an egg, but we think it will be soon as their faces and wattles are reddening and their bodies are widening. They are getting fluffy bottoms, a beautiful thing to see blowing in the wind.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dust Bath

I thought that providing a spacious dust bath in the middle of the perch gym was a good idea, but apparently chickens have a mind of their own. One of the first things they did after drinking some water on arrival was to start their dust baths in the worst location in my opinion, right next to the coop where the hardware cloth wire is attached.

They have no interest at all in the brighter, sunnier spot by the perch gym.

The soil by the coop is newly delivered top soil while the dirt under the gym is our sandier drier soil.

Yesterday they were at it again, they seem to take prolonged baths every two days or so, laying about in and out of the bath like a day at the spa, indolent, eating, drinking and bathing.

The top soil has stones and other material in it, so while Ken was working on the gutters, I used my salad spinner to sift the soil into dust velvet. Once the chickens got over their spa space invasion, the added inches of glorious smooth soil made them so happy, they hung out in the Eastern corner all day.

Chicken salad bar

I want to give the chickens fresh greens every day if I can, I have about depleted the extra greens from my small garden, chard, radishes, kale, dill, mustard greens. They love them but leave the stalks strewn about as well as the whole radish root which they apparently don't like or don't know what to do with.

I made a salad bar yesterday by screwing small branches to the rim of a stump. They were totally uninterested in it, so after a few hours I threw the greens near the perch gym and they liked that. Then I dismantled the coolest chicken salad bar ever.

However, they do like to get to the squishy tomatoes and toss them down from the stump table.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

East Wing Solarium

We hadn't gotten around to putting latches on the interior doors, didn't think we needed to, but apparently they were curious enough to push the door open and pile into the east wing, the west wing is in shade most of the day in December and apparently shade wasn't what they were after.

A few times a day they will all migrate into the east wing to sunbathe, sprawling about, stretching and sunning themselves. At first I thought they were dying, turning upside down and sideways, but they were just basking and preening themselves.