Friday, March 4, 2011

The Chicken Coop is the New Doghouse

That caption on a newsletter caught my attention.  It is so true that backyard chickens are making a renaissance and the resident canine is having to move over to make room for the ladies.  It seems the movement for backyard flocks has gone from folksy to chic. Many start keeping chickens for the eggs but more than that they make terrific pets.
I know I enjoy my chickens.  I relish having fresh eggs to eat (they taste ten times better than store bought) and I have the advantage of the lovely compost I can make with what I clean out of their house and yard.  They are great at clearing out weeds, just set up a temporary pen around the weedy area, turn your chickens loose in it. Voila!  Before you know it,  bare ground , and the area is fertilized to boot.  Of course if there is any plants in that area you don’t want eradicated then that plan will not work, they don’t discriminate.
Meet some of my ladies
strawberry
As you can see I keep plenty of straw, pine shavings and dried leaves on hand to toss into their pen and the hen house to absorb the treasures they leave behind, that keeps the odors down and makes it easier to rake out on a regular basis. Regular cleaning also keeps odors at bay.
Chickens are easy.  Keep them fed, clean water and a safe place to roam and roost. There are all sorts of shops offering all the amenities as well as your local feed store should have what you need. Here are two very good links for resources.
Backyard Chickens 
My Pet Chicken
Predators (raccoons, skunks, weasels) do like to make an easy meal of sleeping chickens (chickens are easy picken’s when sleeping, they are really comatose) so a secure hen house is a must.  My husband built me this sturdy hen house and pen.  There is a complete roof on the pen now so it really is secure.
DSC_0016
Not as fancy as some of the fun chicken pens and houses I have seen online and in magazines lately.  I am collecting some photos of some really nice hen houses for a blog post dedicated to them.
We just added to our flock.  This year I wanted to get some Black Copper Marans and between my mom and I hunting around as locally as we could we tracked down some chicks.  We took a trip the beginning of this week to pick them up.  Here are our new babies!
2011-03-041

We acquired 10, they are straight run so we don’t know yet how many hens or roosters we ended up with.  We won’t know until they mature.  We have high hopes of getting mostly hens but if not we know we can find good homes for the roosters.  I, personally, would like to keep a rooster but we shall see if I can this time.  They will grow fast and I will post updates of their progress. 
So if you are looking for a new pet maybe you should think about backyard chickens.  We started out with 5 hens and an inexpensive (we built it ourselves) chicken coop.  It does not take a lot of money or fancy to enjoy your own chickens.  And actually they pay for themselves in the eggs they produce. 
Glad you could stop by and visit.
Pamela

16 comments:

  1. How sweet, they eat all of the grubs and insect in the garden too:)

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  2. I love chickens and used to have a few. I would love collecting the fresh eggs and they really do taste better than the shop ones.. they even look better when cracked open. Then for some reason they decided to stop laying for atleast a year. So I ended up giving them away. I miss having them though and hope to get more one day. I think your chicken coop is great and is a good size too. One like yours would do me fine! take care, Maryann

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  3. Yes, that is something I failed to mention, they do a great job of eating pesty bugs as well. @Marion, chickens do go into a moult once a year where they lose their feathers and stop laying but then the pick back up again. This is a rest period for them that they need. I have chickens of varying ages so I get consistant egg laying, they moult at different times. There are pink roses planted by the hen house that will climb up it, making it "purdy" when they bloom.

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  4. What a great post for plugging chickens. They are so fun. Those little ones are adorable. Can't wait to see them grow up.

    Teresa

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  5. Chickens R fun and great pets. Will luv seeing the little ones grow up. Had a great visit
    Have a great day.
    http://mysouthwestramblings.blogspot.com/

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  6. I just love your chicken coop--it’s awesome and the run is too. I bet your girls love it. Some folks are doing cool things with coops these days for sure. Mine aren’t that cool but I am thinking on how to make them cuter :)
    Check out Boho Farm on FFF--she has a great coop too :)

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  7. You may be familiar with her already but just in case...here is her link:
    http://www.bohofarmandhome.com/

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  8. Hello I was just browsing thru Verde Farms Fridays Farms talk.One way you can sex them early is to hold them upside down...if they try to come up at you they are roosters the hens just hang there.We have not been wrong so far in 4 years.We do this when buying them so we get more hens. I hope this helps.And for your pen ...I think it looks good and sound and as long as your girls are safe and it works for you that is what counts!!

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

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  9. @Cindy...my mom tried your trick of holding them upside down and only 2 tried to come up at her. I hope we only have 2 Roosters out of the 10 chicks. We both want a rooster each so that would be perfect. This should be an interesting experiment!

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  10. so many people think they need to heat their chicken coops. I just don't know where that idea came from.... sure little chicks that don't have all their feathers and don't have a warm mamma to snuggle up under need a heat lamp.

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