Chickens, Journal Style Posts

Eggs For Days!!!

I love going outside every afternoon and collecting eggs from the coop. It makes me smile each time I see a pile of eggs.They are so pretty. I thought Barred Rock hens laid white eggs, I googled it because I thought my sweet girl wasn’t laying, NOPE, she lays the most beautiful dark brown eggs.

I get every shade of brown and I love it.

They even lay eggs in the blue barrel that I filled with bedding as a spot to escape from the sun. This is by far the hardest spot to get eggs from because they lay them all the way in the back of the barrel so, I have to crawl in there to get them. I will eventually cut out a flap and put it on hinges so I can get the eggs a bit easier.

Hubby has decided that we need to expand when Autumn comes. It’s way too hot to do anything until then. He has decided that we need to extend the run, fix the shed next to the coop and turn it into the new coop and then, rip out the old coop. I am okay with this because I wanted to make the shed into the coop to begin with, but he wanted to build one. In case you are completely lost because this is the first post you have ever seen, this is our current setup.

These pictures are rather old so I will also include more pictures of the inside of the run.

They have of course been digging since I took these pictures because they like to dig holes and get down to the cooler Earth and just lay all sprawled out in these holes they dig. I will take some new pictures when I get a free minute. The tires were supposed to be dust baths, but they prefer to make their own, which is fine. This is their home and I want them happy and comfortable.

We also flood one half of the coop almost daily and they absolutely love it because they can walk around in the puddles to cool off and then once all of the water soaks in, they go digging for worms and bugs. They also turn the compost piles because all kinds of insects surface when the piles are nicely soaked.

I keep eggs on the skelter (the actual name of the rack I bought, which happened to arrive the day they started laying.)

I get some crazy big eggs, this one was a triple yolk egg. My very first eggs were double yolks.

They always investigate when I come collect eggs. They don’t seem to care that I’m taking them, but I think they want to know if I brought them some goodies so, they come check. I usually give them some kind of treats when I come collect eggs. It keeps Chicken Little from being a major jerk.

He’s ridiculous. He hides under a hen because he knows I am the boss, but he has been a hormonal teenager lately and starts puffing up and coming after me when I am not looking.

He got me pretty good today. When he acts crazy and aggressive, I have a lovely trick to put him back in his place in the pecking order. I usually tote him around under one arm and make sure his women see that he’s not able to boss me around, but that just wasn’t cutting it today. Today, I did what he does to a hen when he puts them back in their place. I grabbed him pressed him to the ground holding the feathers on the back of his neck. I want to be VERY clear, he wasn’t harmed at all. He wasn’t happy, but he settled down. I let him go and about 10 minutes later as I am raking up the run, he fluffed up again, I started flapping my arms and stomping my feet and he walked away and pretended to eat a stick. Since then whenever he decides he is a big bad rooster, I just do the rooster dance and flap my arms and stomp my feet and he remembers that I’m bigger, but I am not going to hurt him or the hens he is so good about protecting. He crows at every bird, the mailman, the UPS driver, the FedEx driver, and he crows every single time the back door opens. Even if it’s 2 am and I’m letting Miss Mia out to go potty. He crows. I never have to worry about him being lazy and not watching out for his girls. He even brings them goodies he finds and he has a special little chirpy sound he makes when he’s happy or has found something tasty.

A few hours after I put him back in his place, I went to put them to bed because someone’s field was burning and a storm was rolling in and it was calling for hail. He did his usual crow at me once I entered, but then he saw I had oatmeal muffins (I make these specifically for the chickens so there is no sugar in them.) He got all chirpy and when I held one out, he came and started eating out of my hand. I scooped him up and put him inside of the coop with his muffin and all the girls followed. Once they were secure for the night, I brought the rest of the muffins into the coop for everyone else to enjoy because I put them to bed before their normal time. They have a window and I moved the feeders into the coop for the night because it will be raining all night and all day tomorrow. They have water both inside and outside of the coop. So even if they stay inside the coop tomorrow’s because of the rain, they won’t go hungry at all and their food won’t get soaked. I really need to find a covered feeder that won’t get nasty when it rains. If anyone has suggestions, I am in need of suggestions.

Chicken Little is my sweet boy normally. He just gets feisty sometimes. He’s a Buff Sebright Bantam so he will never really be big. He will also never be slaughtered for behaving like a rooster. He does an amazing job protecting his girls, but he will eventually get spurs and his beak will become sharp enough to break skin and draw blood. So, I nip his bad behavior towards me in the bud the minute it starts. I am not going to be intimidated by a tiny bird, but I am also not going to hang him upside down because this could collapse his lungs and harm him. I am never going to hurt him before I am quite attached to him. He was the tiniest little chick and he was adorable.

He was so small. He still is small, but he is still my favorite because Hubby swore up and down that teenie tiny little chick would never survive the night. He turned out to be my only rooster. The other suspected rooster laid an egg in front of me one day and I was absolutely shocked. She’s a total sweetheart now.

Also, if anyone is curious, my accidental Cornish cross is still alive. She is still able to walk and run. She is also still in the laundry room until fall rolls around because it’s just too hot for her. She’s laying regularly, one egg a day and they are the coolest eggs ever. The first egg was almost white, then she started laying brown eggs. Some are speckled and some are just brown. When we upgrade the shed into the new coop, she’s getting her very own section of both the coop and run. I don’t trust the flock to not bully her. She goes outside and I let her visit and I give everyone grass and scratch grains so they eat right next to each other. Sometimes I bring her in the run and as long as they aren’t pecking her backside I let her get integrated into the pecking order SLOWLY. She will never be able to live unattended with the flock because they see her as injured because she prefers to lie down and eat and is quite lazy. Instead she will have her own space right next to everyone else, but with fencing in between. She also doesn’t roost and sleeps in a burrowed out sort of nest in the bedding. I will also be able to regulate her food intake if she’s separated from the flock. She will eat until she cant walk. I have been regulation her food intake and she does get treats just like the rest of the flock, but she doesn’t get to eat all day long and she doesn’t have access to a large full flock feeder. She would eat the entire thing. Once she does get to a point where she’s not living her best life, we will put her down as humanely as possible. Until then, she’s a happy girl and loves chasing grasshoppers around the yard in the early evening just as the sun is setting. If she goes broody, I will get her some fertilized eggs to sit on. She has already outlived her normal lifespan. I spoke with a few other homesteaders who kept Cornish Cross hens because they accidentally ended up with them. One lasted a year before her health started to go downhill another lived 5 years in the same setup we are planning on giving her, and another lived until she was 3 years old. So, I’m hoping for the best and prepared for anything. She loves being outside, but she can’t be in the current temperatures without struggling and likely dying from it. I make sure she gets fresh air every single day. She’s friends with the cats and Miss Mia loves to sniff her. I can leave the crate door open and she doesn’t try to run out. She stands in the doorway clucking at me to hurry up with her food, water or cleaning up her home. She has a dustbath (a low sided cat box with the same soil the flock dustbathes in in the run) she has a nest box, she sleeps in it and lays her eggs there. Then she has the rest of the extra large crate to scratch for scratch grains or freeze dried mealworms. She’s got her own ac vent and loves to sit next to it when it’s hot outside. She will NEVER be food. I don’t eat meat. Hubby agreed with me since she greets him every day after work she clucks her happy clucks at him and he talks to her. I am home all day so I go sit with her so she isnt lonely. Sometimes she comes out and sits next to me and we chat. I will be extremely sad when her time comes, but she’s had a good life no matter what.

I’m hopeful that when she molts, all the purple from the Blu-kote will be gone and she will be beautiful and all fluffy white again. She was inside of the run and the rest of the flock was doing their own thing and leaving her alone. It was nice. I think she will be much happier once we get the shed converted and she can be outside with the flock, but protected from the flock. When she’s gone, the space we make for her will be used for new chicks, quarantine for injuries (sick chickens will come inside in the laundry room in the dog crate)

Well that’s all the news I have, except for replacing the well pump… yet again. It was under warranty and now the new one has another 3 years of warranty so, we won’t have to pay if it happens again as long as it happens before 3 years are up.

Until next time…

Chickens, Journal Style Posts

Homestead Update

It has been nonstop busyness on the homestead. First a chicken update. The are getting so big and should start laying soon.

It has been extremely hot so, ai try to give the flock lots of fresh fruits and veggies with a high water content after they have had breakfast, which is regular flock grower feed. They love it and I know no one is going to dehydrate because of the high liquid content of watermelon. Now, to be clear, they don’t get a chicken smorgasbord every single day. They do get something to help hydrate and get them plenty of fluids. Some days it will be a block of ice with corn or berries, other days a tray of veggies and fruits. Every single day it’s really hot, I pop a frozen bottle of water into their waterers to try and keep it cool. I also freeze gallons of water and place them inside the coop so they can lean against the frozen gallons if it’s just too hot.

Sometimes, they just get half of a nice cold watermelon. (I slice the bottom so it sits flat and stays a bit cleaner.)When they are finished with their treat, it goes directly into one of the two compost piles that are inside of the run. This is their favorite activity because they can dig through these piles and discover all sorts of tasty little morsels. Everything from scratch grains that I raked up to juicy little insects. Grasshoppers are their favorite crunchy snack.If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know about the two accidental meat chickens. If you haven’t, when I bought my chicks from Tractor Supply, all of the straight run chicks were mixed together, meaning the straight run bin contained layers, bantams, and even meat chickens. I ended up with two accidental meat chickens, which were brutally bullied by the rest of the flock. One died of either heat exhaustion or her heart gave out and the other is living her best life in an extra large metal wire dog crate in my laundry room/mud room.She goes on a daily adventure outdoors for fresh air time and grazing time. This is what happens when I take her outside.

She’s very spoiled and very sweet. She wouldn’t survive the heat. We got up to 110Β° F (43Β° C) this week and she would have died in that heat because she would rather dehydrate than walk the couple of feet to get water. I keep a waterer with me when she’s outside and it’s moved around so it’s always in reach. Inside she has an ac vent right next to the crate and she has a piece of cardboard directing the airflow into the crate. The corner next to the vent is her favorite spot because she can watch me when I’m in the kitchen from that vantage point. She has also made friends with Fizzgig and Gizmo and Miss Mia goes to check on her every time she makes any noises. She’s officially a pet now and will never be food.

Other projects that have happened on the Homestead include sprouting seeds, grains, and lentils for the chickens. (and lentils for my own enjoyment)

I purchased these sprouting trays on Amazon and have been soaking everything in old sauce jars in the kitchen window.

I am even trying birdseed out of curiosity.

The next project will be fermenting the chicken feed. The reasoning behind fermenting involves multiple reasons. The first reason and the reason I know fermented chicken feed exists happened because it rained and the feed in the run got soaked. I wanted to be absolutely certain that it was safe for them to eat this wet feed. So, I dumped it out of the feeder onto a metal baking sheet after doing my research. While searching for an answer, I came across hundreds of posts about fermenting feed and I was intrigued.

What I learned was this, not only is it safe for chickens to eat wet feed as long as it isn’t moldy, fermented feed has a number of benefits when done properly. The chickens absorb more nutrients from the fermented feed and get probiotics into their system from the fermented feed, but it also saves money and cuts down on the amount of wasted feed from them kicking, scratching, and generally knocking feed onto the ground below the feeder. To ferment the feed, you fill a food grade 5 gallon plastic bucket a third of the way full, add water, stir, wait a bit, add more water, stir, and then loosely cover so it can release the gasses formed by the fermentation process (think of it like bread rising, the feed expands while absorbing the water.) Let it sit for 3 days and then feed to the flock. There’s a little bit more to it, but I will make another pot and I may take video so you can watch the process step by step.

I will leave you all with a picture of Fizzgig (white and gray) and Gizmo (calico) and the wonderful news that our youngest of seven kiddos graduated from high school on June 1st, 2019. He graduated with honors, president’s honor roll (3.5 to 4.0 GPA), and membership in the National Honor Society. We couldn’t be more proud of him.

Until next time….

Chickens

More Chicken Adventures

I have been so busy trying to keep the coop clean, keep the run clean, and finding ideas for shade for my chickens. So, I am going to share what I have learned.

First, Sweet PDZ is freaking amazing.

I purchased two bags from Tractor Supply (I bought all they had) and sprinkled about two cups in the problem areas of the coop I sort of mixed it into the bedding so it was spread from the floor to the top by the time I was finished. I was being attacked by flies, mosquitoes, and gnats while I was doing this. An hour later, I went back into the coop because I had to spread some fresh bedding before Cheep Cheep Bedtime. Oh my gawd. The difference was beyond amazing. The smell was gone, the flying annoyances were gone, and I smelled absolutely nothing except for the pine shavings. I will never be without this amazing stuff again. This bag was around $8.00 I believe. It worked so quickly to reduce odor and moisture.

I also built the flock a hidey hole.

My youngest kiddo helped by cutting half of the bottom of the barrel off and then filing down rough edges. Then, he drilled holes in the bottom in the 5 pattern on dice for drainage just in case rainwater blows into the hidey hole.

When that was completed, I washed the barrel thoroughly with soap and water and then dried it. I added a nice fluffy layer of fine cut pine shavings and sweet PDZ. Then we put it in place in the run and added a cinderblock on each side so it would stay in place and no rolling away. I think the best part is that perching on top of it is rather difficult because it’s both rounded and a smooth surface. They will eventually figure out how to perch on it, but for now, it will stay poop-free. I also added a nice flat rock in front of it so they had a bit of a step to get inside easier. A few jumped in and right back out, but they were all interested.

While all of this was being inspected, I scooped up Chicken Little for a quick snuggle. He was so mad at me when I put him down. I think I may have embarrassed him in front of all of his women.

While I was at Tractor Supply, I picked up the next two stages of feed, oyster shell for added calcium, two 5-gallon buckets so, I can start fermenting their feed, and another waterer because temperatures are rising in Oklahoma.

I also grabbed a bag of scratch grains because the run is pretty much just dirt now and I wanted them to have something to scratch for. I bring in oodles of weeds and grasses every day for them.

I made them a dedicated dustbath from a sprint car tire, which hubby was kind enough to fold in half for me because these tires are HUGE. This folded tire will not collect water at all. I have to get some sand, gather some ash from the fire pit, and add some peat, but it is getting there. They love the tire because it’s nice to perch on.

I raked the run and put everything into a pile, which they essentially compost for me because they dig through it and I rake it back up and then, this cycle is repeated until there’s nothing left except for soil.

They chase the rake back and forth through the run as I am raking because I usually end up causing grasshoppers to jump or worms to be above ground. They go absolutely crazy for grasshoppers.

At the end of each raking they have a fun pile to dig through to find bugs and other tasty bits.

I FINALLY GOT VIDEO!!! Chicken Little is developing his crow and he sounds like a squeaky toy when he crows and it is just freaking adorable. (This was taken before the run was raked so you can see just how messy it is)

They have so much personality and seem to love my phone. They are also very attracted to my mint green nails and constantly trying to eat them. My toenails were also amusement when I made the mistake of wearing flip flops one night to put them to bed. My toenails are Tiffany and Co blue so I’m guessing they looked tasty too because I had a lot of beaks pecking at my toes. I normally wear my muck boots or tennis shoes, but I was tired and too lazy to put on real shoes. Bad idea.

They also love to perch directly on my back or shoulders and peck at my hair ties. (Hubby mowed the yard the following day so it no longer looks like a jungle outside of the run)

We still need to finish mowing the property, but a storm was rolling in so he had to stop mowing.

I have a few more projects for the chicken run to include planting inside of the run so they always have access to fresh plant matter. This will help me because I wont have to collect weeds every single day for them to eat. I will be trying out a few different methods for planting inside of the run so, I will be sure to document the process. I am also going to attempt to transplant some bushes that are planted around the front porch to inside of the run. I know theh won’t eat these bushes and I am hopeful that they will take root and will be a nice place to provide shade for the chickens. If you haven’t noticed yet. My chickens are completely spoiled. I am doing everything possible to make sure they live happy, healthy lives while providing me with fresh eggs (they aren’t laying yet). I have been informed about bobcat, coyote, stray dog, hawk, owl, and raccoon attacks to friends with chickens who all live near me and they are all free ranging their chickens. I want mine to be completely safe so I am doing everything possible to keep them safe while also finding ways to provide them with fresh plants, plenty of crunchy bugs and squishy worms, and whatever else they need to have happy healthy lives. I don’t want them stuck in an existence of dirt and bedding so, I am looking for ways to plant inside of the run. I will be planting peas all around the run tomorrow so they will climb the fencing and the chickens can munch on fresh peas. I am looking for a way to do the same with other climbing plants so they have all sorts of tasty snacks at their disposal. Any suggestions for planting inside or right outside of the run are always welcome, just leave a comment or send an email.

Until next time….

Gardening, Journal Style Posts

The Homestead is Blooming

Remember those wooden shipping crates hubby brought home for me? Well, they are painted and have been planted.The salad blend is already sprouting. I planted this on Friday and it is Monday. I am so excited for fresh salad.I set aside two for benches for the front porch and this is one of the benches. The crates contained foam sheets because they were used for shipping windows and the foam protected the windows in transit. Well, a plastic coated tablecloth made the perfect cover. The benches are quite comfy.I have an entire bed dedicated to wildflowers and my lilies of course. The wildflowers are blooming, but I only have one bloom so far from the lilies.I love these. They are always some of the first to bloom each year.Not sure what these will be but they are everywhere to include the front yard.I took this picture because it always makes me happy to see this spot. This is where the air conditioning condensation overflow drains and I have a nice group of toads who love this spot because of the moss and the water. That hole in the middle looks shallow, but it is almost a foot deep with cool, clear water. There’s a 5 gallon bucket underneath this spot with holes drilled into the front in order to redirect the water away from the foundation of the house, which is basement walls in this spot. It works rather well and the spot retains that deep hole of water, which attracts the toads. I may create a fairy garden in this spot.I was very excited to find this in the wildflower bed because it is not something that I planted. This is bee balm and is also known as horse mint or wild bergamot. I left these where they were because I have a huge patch of it at the back of the property and I have a bunch currently drying for tea. Here are a few pictures I took when I started drying some I had gathered last week.I love finding ingredients for teas across the property. Fresh tea is so much better than boxed up little bags of chopped herbs and flowers that are who knows how old once you purchase them.

Chamomile, yet another flower for tea. (I planted these last year and again this year.)

A caterpillar was munching on this wildflower.

These are really tiny and grow in almost a tower formation, kind of like delphinium. I have no idea what they are called, but they are pretty.

Something was munching on these. I’m glad the caterpillars are getting fed.

A yellow wildflower in the Aster family.

This hasn’t fully bloomed , but it is cardinal flower. (I zoomed in so it looks much larger than it really is.)

This is everywhere in the pasture, but I found a lone plant in the wildflower bed. This is poison Hemlock. It’s pretty and is often confused with Queen Anne’s Lace (wild carrot). I have both growing on the property. I have to be very careful around this plant because I am particularly sensitive to the sap and it causes blisters to form on my skin almost immediately.

This lovely plant has been ripped out multiple times by my own hands and it just keeps coming back. It isn’t flowering, but it looks like a form of ivy and it definitely is not ivy. I let it grow because I thought it was ivy. Big mistake. This lovely aggressive little vine is actually mouse melon and it just popped up one year. The rabbits and birds love it so I try to tame it each year just enough to keep it from swallowing my bushes.

My solitary lily bloom.

This is the side of the garage. Every year, I dig up and transport these lilies to another spot and assume that they won’t come back again. Every year I find the side of the garage just like this.

Do you see the hornworm? (Hint hornworms are green)

I also finally got a picture of the tree branch we had to chop down with a chainsaw and a photo explaining why half of the tree had to go.

The half of the tree is currently drying out and the barn kitties have built little nests in the weeds and grasses under the branches. We will cut it into manageable chunks later.

It really was a huge chunk of tree.

So this is a hackberry tree. As you can see, it split down the center the section we cut down was to the right and the branches did not grow leaves when spring came. The section to the left is alive and well with plenty of leaves. The tree was hit by lightning and it split into two trees one died and one lived. We will eventually have someone come out and cut the entire tree down, but that dead section had to go before tornado season came. It was a threat to the dairy building, the garage, and the stalls. It’s down and no longer at risk of falling on anything. If the other side falls it will fall and hit another tree. No danger to buildings. We are looking into trees to plant for shade trees. (Hackberry trees suck so bad because they will completely dull a chainsaw blade.)

We also did the youngest kiddo’s graduation on Saturday and that was just insanity, with 1,204 graduates.

There were so many kids.

The crazy part was that this was only part of the class of 2019. The rest of them will participate in the second ceremony in Tulsa on Saturday.

Our youngest completed junior and senior year with Epic Charter Schools, which is an online homeschool program that falls under the public school system. He thrived in the program and I wish we would have pulled him out of brick and mortar schools sooner.

Until next time….

Chickens, Journal Style Posts

An Overview of the Recent Insanity and a Chicken Update and a Bit of Bad News

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while. We had the in laws in town for two weeks, our youngest finished high school, Graduation happens this weekend, it has been just absolute insanity around here.

Where to begin, well I will start with the mixup that happened when we purchased chicks at Tractor Supply. They apparently had a mix up where meat chickens and bantam breeds were mixed in with the layers. Basically, all of the straight run chicks were mixed together on accident. I ended up with two meat chickens who were revealed to be Cornish X chickens. This news was rather upsetting to me because I definitely didn’t want meat chickens, only layers. I quarantined those two chicks because they were being brutalized by the rest of the flock and were bald in certain places. Well, they feathered back out and I tried to integrate them again. Everything went fine and no one was bullying them. We went to go buy a new dryer because mine finally bit the dust. (This was a nightmare in itself) Lowe’s was our first stop, I picked out a dryer, paid for it, and waited for it to be brought out so we could load it up and go home. That should have been a simple process. Nope. I am not that lucky. Lowe’s sold me a dryer that was NOT in stock. Then, they told me I had to wait 7-10 days for a refund because of their screw up. I lost it. Hubby took over the whole process when the manager of Lowe’s said if I didn’t leave he was calling the police. (Yes, I yelled at him. They screwed up, NOT me. I was not threateningly cussing, just yelling rather loudly. Had I been alone, I would have had police called on me all while trying to just get a refund because they were trying to get me to choose a different dryer instead of getting a refund and were refusing to refund the purchase of a dryer they didn’t actually have.) Approximately 20 minutes later Hubby came out to the truck and we drove next door to Home Depot. They had exactly one dryer in stock. Not one style, ONE dryer. At this point I didn’t care as long as it worked. I made that poor sales woman physically show me the dryer before I was willing to pay. Hubby explained the nightmare that had just occurred at Lowe’s and she completely understood why I insisted on physically seeing the dryer. Then, of course, something else went wrong. I end up having to stand at customer service for almost a half of an hour while they try to put an extended warranty on this dryer. The woman FINALLY figured it out and added the extended warranty. By this time, we had spent almost 3 hours trying to buy a freaking dryer. I just wanted to go home. We stopped and grabbed food on the way home. It was HOT, muggy from all of the rain, flooding, and multiple tornadoes that have battered the state of Oklahoma for the past two months so, I was miserable.

Finally, we got back home. (An hour drive each way to get to a city big enough to have a home improvement store is never fun.) It was also Memorial Day so those home improvement stores were having holiday sales. Total nightmare. Anyway, we get home and I go to Refill the chicken waterer and I am filling the pitchers I use to refill them and Hubby says, well it’s dead. I have no idea what is dead exactly so I’m hollering and asking. I lost a chicken. πŸ˜” One of the Cornish X chickens was dead next to the door of the run and of course it’s being pecked by another of the chickens so he thinks this chicken killed the dead one. Nope, not enough damage for that to be the cause. Just a few feathers missing. Then, I go check the other Cornish X and she’s panting like crazy and refusing to get up and go drink water. Whoever bred this breed into existence sucks. They will literally dehydrate and die rather than get up and go get water. So, I remove the deceased chicken, bury it and take the other Cornish X back inside to the dog crate. She has air conditioning and can reach water without much movement being required of her. So, the other one died of either dehydration and the heat or her heart gave out because of her weight (they are HUGE birds and just eat and eat and eat.) I don’t see the remaining one lasting much longer because of her sheer size, but I will NOT be killing her for food. She will pass naturally on her own. Until that happens, she is comfortable, living the high life with air conditioning and an extra large dog crate all to herself. I didn’t get chickens to have meat, I got them for eggs. I am not a meat eater. Hubby and the kiddos would rather not eat chicken so I rarely purchase it unless it’s in preformed nugget form or chicken strips. I feel awful about the first one passing from the heat and being too lazy to go get a drink, or her heart giving out from the heat, but I know she was comfortable during her short life.

I spoil the remaining one with ice cubes in her water when I have to run the dryer. (It gets really hot in the laundry room when I run the dryer.) She has air conditioning and when the dryer runs, she has a small fan blowing so she can lie under it or not, her choice. Usually she lies directly under it.

This photo was taken shortly after I placed them in quarantine. They were pecked bald on their backs.

As you can see here, her feathers grew back, tail feathers not so much.

She really is HUGE for a 10 week old chick. I make sure she gets plenty of sunlight. I have a small planter with whatever weeds and such grows outside in her crate so she can forage without really having to move far from the water. I open the windows when the temperature drops before the storms so she gets fresh air (70s F and 20s C) I bring her tiny grasshoppers and she gets mealworms (plenty of grit if she chooses as well) She’s probably the most spoiled meat chicken ever. I would love for her to be able to be outside and happily foraging outside, but she just can’t handle the heat. I have been told by the hatchery that she probably won’t live very long so, she can stay inside in comfort until her time comes. I realize this is very strange, but I didn’t set out to buy meat chickens. I don’t eat meat. I eat eggs and knowing exactly goes into those eggs is far more appealing to me than a month old dozen eggs from the grocery store.

Now that you know about the mixup with meat chickens, I had a few more questions for the hatchery. They were absolutely wonderful and answered every question I had with zero judgement on my keeping a meat chicken indoors and pampered. Chicken Little is NOT a leghorn or an Ameracauna. He, yes “he”, is definitely a rooster, and a Buff Sebright bantam. He was not supposed to be in that particular bin of straight run chicks either. He has begun to practice his crowing and I haven’t been able to catch it on video yet. It took me a week to find out who was crowing. I heard him all the way upstairs at the front of the house. (Chickens are out back.) I honestly thought something was wrong and a predator was inside. Nope, just Chicken Little trying out his voice.

He’s got an awesome little personality. He rules the coop even though he is half the size of everyone else. He has a rose comb, which is interesting to me because I have never seen one before. He also has green feet. He loves to flap his little wings and gets some serious height.

Rocky is out other surprise. Rocky now has feathers growing on her legs. This picture was about 2 weeks ago. So, I will need to take a few better pictures of her legs, but the hatchery has a strong belief that she is not a barred rock, but in fact a Barred Cochin. I will keep you posted on any updates regarding her breed identity. She is very curious and LOVES my phone.

They all love perching on the coop door.

My mother in law brought me these fabulous signs for the coop and brought two of each so when one sign gets sun faded, I can replace it with a new one.

She also found an egg basket for me. She always brings me the random things I cannot seem to find, but bring up in conversation when I talk to her. She’s amazing at her random gift giving because it’s always something I have been hunting for and cannot seem to find.

The cat litter boxes as nesting boxes have worked out rather well as far as durability and being able to keep them clean. I think I will take some wood screws or maybe bolts and bolt them to the coop walls because they tend to fall over when everyone loves to sit on top of them.

As for roosts, I got kind of lazy there because I couldn’t find an effective way to put in roosts and still have plenty of room for them to move around and enjoy the space. So, I had an old wooden ladder that was not capable of holding my weight, but they absolutely love it. The waterer hangs underneath the ladder on 550 cord (paracord)

It is also tied to the coop itself until hubby can go bolt it to the wall for me. I didn’t want it to fall over so 550 cord to the rescue. They love it because they can go up on the paint bucket shelf and look out the window. I am always greeted each morning by a handful of them peeking through the window at me when I open the coop each morning.

Chicken Little is still snuggly.

This also happens when I go to refill food and water. I become the best perch, I have had chickens on my shoulders, one loves to get on my back when I bend to clean up the feeder (bedding gets everywhere). The particularly love to perch on my thighs as I squat down.

In addition to the chickens, we have had some other feathered visitors. One has taken up residence in the sugar berry tree.

Before you yell at me about the red liquid in the feeders, I stopped filling them with the premade nectar and use just sugar water now. I didn’t know that it was harmful and was immediately made aware when I posted pictures and video on my Facebook page. I have fixed that issue.

My new phone takes really good pictures compared to my old phone.

This guy was found in the ditch heading towards the highway. I had a talk with him about how dangerous it was to cross that road and told him he would be squished and needed to turn around and go to the back of the property where he would be safe. Hubby of course laughed at me for lecturing the snapping turtle, but he listened and turned around and headed towards the back of the property. He was almost 2 feet long and lunged at me a few times. I was too close, so I don’t blame him. I am just glad he didn’t get squished.

I am thankful that we have not experienced any flooding, extreme weather, tornadoes, or anything else that is scary and involves the weather. We have been really lucky. I did have to completely empty the coop bedding after one really bad storm because it was soaking wet near the window. Hubby is making a shutter for that window this weekend so it can be closed for bad weather. I just cleaned it out, used an old mop to dry it and put in new bedding. The old bedding is in the compost pile and the compost tumbler that hubby made for me when I began this blog.

I have it next to the coop so I have easy access to it for adding old bedding and chicken poo scraped off of the coop door. Yes the grass needs to be cut, but it is just way too wet. We need a few dry days in a row so the mower wont get stuck in the mud. You can also see my makeshift clothesline that I used when the dryer broke. Another instance of 550 cord to the rescue. It worked really well and held my king size duvet, which was dry in about 30 minutes because we had some insane wind that day. Hubby promised to install a permanent clothesline for me so I can hang up linens to dry. I love the smell of line dried sheets. I grew up without a dryer so, I guess I just got used to that smell and the crisp feeling of clothes that are line dried. We definitely have enough wind and sun for it.

Finally, for those of you who love my kitties, here are a few pictures of Fizzgig, Gizmo, and a few of Miss Mia (she’s an honorary kitty).

Until next time….

Chickens, Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

Chick Update

The chicks are getting so big. They are fully feathered out and going outside during the day and back in at night.

It was super gloomy the other day and rain was on the forecast, but I didn’t want them stuck inside all day so, I sat outside and when it started sprinkling, I gathered them up and brought them back inside.

They really seem to enjoy all of the space in the run.

Hubby brought me a tire crate home. The gate is made from the top and bottom of the crate. I still need to paint it white to match and repaint the shed. The coop got a fresh coat of paint.

It looks like there is no fencing at all and there are two layers. One layer is chicken wire and the other is hog fencing. Hubby also built them a swing.

This is one of the sides of that tire crate. They are rather large tires. When he called and said he had something for me, I figured it was another window shipping crate. Nope, he brought me readymade fencing. πŸ˜‚ He had no idea what I would do with it, but he knew I would have been upset if he had told me about it later and hadn’t brought it home. They seriously just break these apart and toss them in the dumpster. The wood is heat treated and I make sure he doesn’t bother with anything that doesn’t have a HT stamp. Chemical treated wood is useless to me.

I took a close up of the fencing. It really is two layers and the green fencing is buried 2-3 feet under the ground, to prevent anything from digging under the fencing and getting into the run. The coop is built, but I am still working on security and don’t want to take any risks. I will be laying huge stones around the coop itself to prevent digging even though the coop has a solid floor and pallets underneath the floor. The floor was raised to prevent flooding because of water runoff. I am EXTREMELY protective of the chicks because our friends put their chicks out and lost every single one within a weeks time. They had 50. I only have 15. I am taking my time and making absolutely sure that NOTHING can get in.

I also got the bird feeder out and it doesn’t swing in the extreme winds here. I secured it to the tree with electrical fencing wire. It was heavy duty enough for the job. We also finally mowed the property for the first time this spring. (still need to weedeat). We also took down a HUGE tree branch that was threatening the powerline from the old dairy building to the stalls. I will get some pictures of that later. Oh, I almost forgot, I started painting the planter boxes (window shipping crates.)

They still need holes drilled in them, but they are ready to be drilled, filled, and planted. Hubby also bought me roses. Three bushes. I LOVE roses.

Two will go in the large window shipping crate and the third will go in a large planter that was used for tomatoes a few years ago. (It’s pretty large. I can’t lift it when it’s full.) I made sure to get three different kinds of roses. I know one is Oklahoman, but I can’t remember what the other two are.

Until next time….

Chickens

Chick Update

All 15 are still with us and doing great. They are absolutely ridiculous and full of personality. They make me laugh on a regular basis.

Chicken Little is still absolutely adorable and zonks out in my hand every time I pick him/her up. This was a straight run chick so, I have no idea if it’s a hen or a rooster. Either way, I get to hold this one all the time because my hands are warm and comfy.

The feeder is a popular perching spot and the white thing with the wooden rods is also a favorite place to hop through, perch on the rods, or the white supports.

I know I explained that Chicken Little was the smallest chick, but this is a comparison photo. There are three chicks in this picture, Chicken Little kind of blends with the bedding. He/She has wing feathers and teeny tiny tail feathers are starting to come in, but I have never seen such a tiny chick.

So snuggly too. (Startled awake by the flash) This is seriously the bossiest little chick ever. This is the chick that rules the roost, which I find hilarious because of how tiny it is.

I am beginning to wonder about the signage for those yellow chicks and I think the yellow ones are something other than Ameracauna chicks. They are just HUGE. I am positive about Rhode Island Reds and the Black Sex Links, but my other four are the straight run chicks. One is almost identical to the Black Sex Links, but has a white bottom. I’m almost positive that one is a Barred Rock.

White spot on the head is one clue.

All white belly is another clue. Such a sweetheart. Zero fuss from the second I picked this sweetie up and zero fight when I flipped it on it’s back so it would be still. For the record, Chicken Little sprawls on his/her back when picked up. I don’t have to flip that one over.

This is the major difference between the Black Sex Links and this one. See those striped feathers? Yeah, I’m 99.999% positive this is a Barred Rock chick. Very pretty little chick and very sweet, but definitely not an Ameracauna. I didn’t see the other sign for the straight run bin, but this is NOT an Ameracauna. The three yellow ones, possibly, but I am very doubtful. I honestly think this little one was accidentally placed in the wrong bin, which is fine and I’m pretty certain that I know what type of chicken I have here.

This is supposedly an Ameracauna. This chick is easily twice the size of the others, as is the other yellow chick. They are HUGE compared to the others and clucking not chirping. They still chirp, but have begun clucking already. This makes me think they are either much older than the others, or a much larger breed as they are mostly still fluff and not feather. They have wing feathers and bits of tail feathers beginning, just like the rest of the chicks, but their size is just so vastly different. They don’t go under the heat lamp often, they usually stay in a corner far away nestled up in the bedding. I was curious so, my house is 75Β° and the mud room was 88Β° with the heat lamp going and the door closed so, I turned off the heat lamp for a few minutes. Those two larger chicks were so much more active, all of the chicks were running around. So, we will be raising the light this weekend. I will raise it to the top of the crate to see how they act.(setting on top of it and secured to the top of the crate)

Because the guy who helped me was uncertain of their exact age, they may not need that light at all because we keep the house fairly warm. So, we will raise the light and see if they seem happier and more active. Most already stay out from under the light for the most part. Some like to lie down under it and do what I refer to as sunbathing.

They are definitely all little piggies. This side of the feeder was mostly Rhode Island Reds and Chicken Little was tucked in there with them. The other side was one single Black Sex Link and she was alone because she was the only one brave enough to stand on top of one of the yellow chicks to eat. I swear they sleep in the strangest places.

I think I need to move the feeder. You can see that single Black Sex Link at the bottom of the picture running away, but the yellow chick is still there, clucking at me. Chicken Little is Definitely a different color than the yellow chicks. His/her feathers are almost golden and tan while having yellow fluff covering the rest of the body, while the yellow chicks have almost yellow feathers. It’s really strange. I guess I will find out what they are when they are fully feathered out. I don’t care what breed these two large chicks end up being. With Chicken Little being so small it’s entirely possible that he/she is an Americana as labeled. The other two may be, but the size difference is pretty big. (that’s how Tractor supply spelled it.)

I have only named two chicks, mainly because I can’t tell them apart very well yet. Chicken Little of course and Little Red Hen.

This is Little Red Hen. I can tell her apart from the other Rhode Island Reds because she loves being held. She’s so sweet. I have a few that won’t let me touch them so, I am “force loving” them. I pick them all up daily because I really don’t want to be attacked on a daily basis when I walk into the coop or run. I want friendly chickens.

The feeder is still a popular perching spot. The little toy/perch spot was lying flat before.

They like it much better standing. I made it from two chopsticks and two empty milkbone vitamin containers. As long as they enjoy it, I’m happy. I am looking all over for my unbreakable mirror because all ladies need a mirror. 😁

I am loving every single second of them being tiny, but I can’t wait until they start laying. I am going to have eggs up to my eyeballs, but I have a pretty awesome neighbor with 3 young boys who would be thrilled to pieces if I handed her a dozen or two of eggs. I honestly cannot wait for a fresh egg. I don’t like eggs from the grocery store because they don’t taste right. The yolks are so dull and they are just bland. I am also looking forward to crazy eggs like double yolks and even the very first strangely shaped and soft shelled eggs. I still need to make an egg apron or find a basket. I should probably get on that since they are already growing so fast. I think hubby is glad I am pretty picky about how clean that crate stays since it is inside my home. My laundry room doesn’t smell like a chicken coop. I bought plenty of bedding so I can clean it as often as needed. If you have any name suggestions, let me know, and if anyone can tell me how to tell them apart, please tell me. They all look so similar to each other right now.

Until next time…

Everyday Activities, Gardening

The Random Things Hubby Brings Me…

Our Anniversary happened earlier this month and it’s not really a big deal to us because we buy each other random things year round for absolutely no reason. We were going to go get my chicks on our Anniversary, but the local supplier for Oklahoma went out of business so, no one had chicks in Oklahoma on our Anniversary. We also had to go to a racecar parts store in Oklahoma City, Bishop’s. Hubby had to have the car put on the dyno machine and such and I was of course completely bored for a few hours. On the way home he somehow managed to park the truck and enclosed trailer in the middle of small town Chickasha (Chickasha is a big city, but they have what I assume is old Main street and it looks like a small town.) I always thought it was a small town until he took me through the city part of Chickasha. Well there’s a seed store in Small Town Chickasha and I absolutely love it. They have everything from bulk seeds to cast iron skillets. I didn’t really need seeds since I already got those, but I grabbed a handful of packets for herbs and such. Nope, I was on a mission. I wanted bird feeders. I didn’t want just any old bird feeders, I had specifics in mind.

Last year I saw my very first live hummingbird and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I thought it was a very large bee or wasp and I’m allergic to both, deathly allergic. So, I was in a panic while drinking my coffee and looking for this giant bug. Then I saw a flash of green. I had randomly bought a tiny hummingbird feeder that only held a few ounces. The hummingbird was at the feeder. It was beautiful and looked metallic. I am determined to have even more this year. They are in love with my lilies and cannas. So, I was searching for an unbreakable hummingbird feeder.

Spring in Oklahoma is tornado season so, the wind is brutal. It is brutal year round, but especially so, in springtime. I have lost so many wind chimes to the wind. Hubby kindly rest rings them with lacing wire when I buy them now. I currently only have one because the others blew away and I couldn’t find them.

So this was what I settled on for a feeder. It’s pretty tough plastic. It cane with a piece of wire and an S hook to hang it. I laughed at that. Hubby will hang them so they don’t blow away. I bought two of these.

Then I needed a regular bird feeder since all I have is a suet holder. My other feeder slammed into the tree too many times and broke.

I settled on this one for two reasons. First, it has a metal hanger, and second, I can secure it to the tree with the perch area. (It’s already hung and survived a storm.)

Bonus feature, easy to fill.

Of course I needed bird seed… Fifty pounds of it. πŸ˜‚

Grabbed some more suet blocks too.

This post was supposed to be about the random stuff he brings me though. So, let me get to that. He called and said, I have a surprise for you, tell the boy to get dressed and meet me in the driveway to help me get these out of the truck. Um… okay. So, I got the teenager out of bed and dressed. I swear my husband has radar for random things his wife will want.

I got three of these wooden sectioned boxes. He said, “I have no idea what you will use them for, but I figured you were going to be upset if I didn’t bring them home.” He had no clue what I was seeing when I squealed with excitement. I saw three raised beds already built and sectioned off. Oh but, there’s more….

Three small ones and one deep one. Seriously, he has a radar for these things. I was absolutely giddy. Now, I just need to remove the shipping stickers and paint them. If you are wondering what on Earth these are from, they are shipping containers for parts. Hubby is a diesel mechanic and the top 3 held windows so they have thick foam and lids. The bottom one held some big part for some vehicle he was working on that week. I didn’t ask specifics. I just know I need to paint them and destroy the stickers. (The stickers are gone. He brought the third small one home two days after he brought the others home.) I told him if there are ever more of these boxes, I want them. They break them down and throw them in the garbage. I will give them new life. Same goes for the burlap bags that shop rags come in, I have 4 of those, I line wire hanging baskets with it. Also, I made absolutely certain that these were heat treated only. He always says that I would be in heaven at a dump because I would dig through everything. πŸ˜‚

I have a strange habit of reusing everything possible and that only started when we moved to Oklahoma. Our small town has ZERO recycling. Lawton didn’t have it either. I don’t want to fill a landfill with a bunch of recyclable things. That just irritates me and makes me sad. So, plastic containers get a new life holding parts and bits and pieces in the garage. Others have been used to hold small amounts of paint for projects. At his last job, he brought me home 30 heat treated wooden pallets, 5 blue plastic 55 gallon barrels, one white 55 gallon plastic barrel, about 10, 5 gallon buckets, which he promptly confiscated for other things, and one metal 55 gallon barrel so I had a burn barrel. It’s safer to burn yard waste like branches in a metal barrel because it has less risk of catching the whole property on fire. He worked for a garbage company working on their vehicles. He hated it with a passion because warm weather means maggots. I was happy when he fina

This, job, he doesn’t bring me much home. Random bent washers, nuts for broken bolts (wind chimes), burlap bags, and now, wooden crates. Thankfully, this job isn’t super wasteful and they actually recycle. They return plastic and metal barrels to be refilled, which makes me happy. I have no idea why they throw these shipping containers into the dumpster, but I am kind of glad they do because I will use them. They even reuse pallets. So, this is weird and I hope they fix it, but until they do, I am happy to recycle them all. As I was writing this, he called to tell me he had two more of the sectioned wooden boxes, Yay!!! I can’t wait to go get paint and soil.

Until next time…

Chickens

Chicken Coop Updates

I didn’t take any photos because it started raining and we had to clean up quickly before we got soaked.

I will try to get some photos tomorrow if it doesn’t rain again. Today, after my appointment, which involved two cortisone injections in my lower back, Hubby decided we were going to work on the coop. Okay, I’m game. Let me tell you, I don’t regret getting it to the point we reached but, I do regret not icing my back while working on it. Ouch.

First, we secured the cover with more hose clamps, we still need a few more, but both sides are secure. Then, we buried a bit more heavy duty fencing around the perimeter of the run. That was fun. We also replaced the zip strips that were temporarily holding fencing in place with pieces of plastic coated metal (sort of like heavy duty twist ties.) Fencing is beyond secure. Then, we laid subflooring inside the coop. (I will explain this in a moment) finally we figured out how to close off the end of the coop securely without any gaps or any way for any possible predator to gain entrance. (Fencing overlapping bottom fencing and folded over the PVC arch, but under the cover and held in place with hose clamps and those super heavy duty twist ties at the bottom.

Okay, I’m going to explain the subflooring for those who haven’t been following along. (I am also going to add a few older pictures of the coop just for visual reference. I will get new ones as soon as I can.)

This is the coop prior to today’s additions.

(You will see the white fence I refer to very well in this picture and the coop itself up close.)

Notice how much shade the cover for the run provides. (The cover is a dump truck cover. Hubby rescued two destined for the garbage for me from work. He brings me home the neatest things. The PVC was inside of our well, but we replaced that with flex pipe last year. I of course kept all of the old PVC because I had a plan.)

The coop and run are at the very back of the back yard. Not the back of the property. We have a white metal pipe and cable fence that goes around what would be a normal sized back yard. We didn’t install this fence, it was here when we bought the house. I’m sure it cost a fortune, but it is rather strange how they did it because it is in small sections. It’s just weird. So, backyard slopes downward because of what happens when it rains.

In Oklahoma, we have clay and sandy soil. It turns rock hard in the summer months if it isn’t kept damp (I keep the garden areas damp through daily watering.) It will actually form cracks when it gets really hot and dry. So, because of the location of my coop, we could not just install a floor flat to the ground or there would be some serious issues with water after the rain. Instead, we waited for a really good rainfall to decide how to deal with the flooring. The path of rainwater goes right through the coop. We decided to raise the floor so, rainwater can go under the coop without causing any flooding inside the coop. It goes through the end of the run as well, but I have an idea for that as well so, I’m not worried about having any water-logging issues in the run.

The sub-floor is raised up to the height of a regular red brick on its side. (Yes, I am putting a ramp in for the chickens because I don’t need them getting a broken leg from jumping even though I know a chicken can “fly” enough to jump a fence or get into a tree. So, there are bricks and pallets in the coop waiting for the flooring. The flooring is one of my very random ideas, but hubby agreed that it was a fabulous idea and it will be completely waterproof so, I can rinse out the coop with a garden hose if it gets really gross. We had a rectangular above ground pool in the spot where the chicken coop is currently sitting so, it is somewhat level in some areas still from that pool. (It was one of the easy up type pools with metal braces holding up just the liner part. Not expensive and doesn’t last more than a few years.) I am cutting the pool (thick plastic almost as thick as wood paneling.) And lining the floor and about a foot up the wall of the coop. I will be able to clean the coop easily and we are going to try the deep litter method first so the plywood under the plastic will not rot from moisture in the bedding we use for the coop. If I don’t like the deep litter method, we will switch to sand, which can be scooped and then deep litter for winter because it gets cold here.

I am not currently running any electric to the coop. I have sat inside of it in both summer and winter, there is no need for it in either. In the summer, the run is cooler than standing outside of the run because the cover provides amazing shade while still allowing airflow. I was comfortable inside the run when it was 112Β° F (44Β° C). I was in the shade with the breeze blowing and the coop has good airflow as well, which will change during winter, but not be completely sealed because chickens need fresh air. The plastic will also provide a seal against any drafts coming from under the coop. It’s really thick so even if a snake tried to get in, it would not get through the plastic. I am not worried about other predators because we buried more fencing and it’s NOT chicken wire, which was what we had buried flat. We doubled up by adding what was labeled goat fencing over top of the chicken wire that was buried. (There are hog panels and goat fencing behind the chicken wire all around the coop. I know that animals can get through chicken wire. It is there for extra protection. The cover is in place for multiple reasons, the first being hawks. The second reason is owls, then, for shade, and cats because cats can climb. (We have either a large bobcat or a mountain lion crossing the back of the property.) They aren’t getting into this coop or the run. I have been EXTREMELY anal about the security of the coop because we have four packs of coyotes around us, one pack in each direction and they are getting brave. I watched the neighbors dog chase one down the street in broad daylight. This coyote was in her backyard where her small children play.

The last thing I want is to get chicks, raise them until feathered out inside, then, lose them to a coyote or another predator as soon as they start living in the coop. I waited an entire year to make sure the coop itself could withstand Oklahoma wind. (We had a nasty storm with 70-80 mph gusts and it didn’t cause any damage to the coop. It destroyed the run. This is why I canceled my order of chicks last year and waited until this year. I get chicks next month so, forgive me if I take a zillion pictures. I have been waiting forever for chickens.

I’m sure I sound super overprotective and probably a little like a hoarder because I kept things like PVC from the well, an entire pool, and hubby brings me home things like plastic barrels and dump truck covers and dump truck liners. I also have a massive stack of wooden pallets, which he was also amazing enough to bring home for me. He has learned over the years that I have a use for every weird thing he brings me. It will become something amazing even if it doesn’t seem like it when he brings it home.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot the best part. He gave me an electrical saw I am allowed to use without him hovering over me. He got me a sawzall!!! (I think I spelled that right.) He also got me a package of blades so I can cut apart my pallets build my projects. I am allowed to use a nail gun unsupervised and I have my own drill so, I have always been able to use that. I have to wear safety glasses (I have a purple pair and a pink pair.) and these weird gloves that are supposed to keep me from accidentally cutting myself when changing the blades. I am apparently terrifying when I use a saw. πŸ˜‚ I doubt I will ever do any actual cutting by myself, but I am not terrifying according to both him and our youngest with the sawzall. To be honest, electric saws terrify me so, I usually let him or one of the kiddos cut things. (all of our kiddos are adults.) He also got me a giant box of wood screws and a big box of nails. (I think they are roofing nails, but they serve their purpose. I call them multipurpose nails πŸ˜‚) I was always complaining that I could not find a nail or a wood screw when I was putting in hiding spots in the rafters of the dairy building for the barn kitties so now, I have more than enough of both. I think I have rambled enough for one post. (I have one more to write, but it has nothing to do with the chicken coop.)

Until next time….

Adventures, Chickens

Chicken Coop Round 2

Last year, we set up the coop and the run and right after I placed an order for chicks, we had a nasty storm that wiped out my run. I am EXTREMELY grateful that the company I ordered chicks from was kind enough to allow me to cancel my order since the chicks hadn’t hatched yet. We decided to watch what the weather did and how it affected the coop and run over the year and update designs and ensure that the chicks would be completely safe once they were calling the coop and run home.

This photo is OLD!!! This was taken of the coop and run when we built them last spring. The storm did a number on the run, the cover was ripped halfway off and almost got taken away by the wind, three of the PVC arches were ripped off of the fence posts, and 2 fence posts were ripped out of the ground completely. We fixed the fence post issue with concrete during the Fall. it isn’t a ton of concrete, so we will be able to remove the posts, if we decide to widen the run or move it completely.

This weekend, we put the cover back on the run. For those of you who haven’t be here since the beginning, the cover for the run is a dump truck cover, normally used to keep loads of sand, soil, and gravel from blowing out of the truck. Hubby brought me home two that were destined for the dump because they had EXTREMELY minor damage such as small holes or a rip or two that could easily be repaired. (I did patch all of the holes and rips and it took exactly 15 min.)

So, the cover is back on, this time we used hose clamps instead of lacing wire. We ran out of hose clamps halfway through so, I am waiting for my order of hose clamps to be delivered by UPS before I can finish securing the cover. We had some nasty wind so, I know it is secure this time and definitely not going anywhere this time.

It looks really nasty out, but it was 68Β° F (20Β°C) and perfect weather for what we were doing. Hubby and I also decided to take an old screen door from the dairy building (I have a bunch of windows and doors in there from the house being updated) and it is now the door to the run. We mounted it on the back side of the coop because it seemed like the best place for it. I didn’t take pictures of the door yet because that section of fencing isn’t completely finished yet. I will continue to take pictures as we complete tasks.

After the cover was secured, we started on fencing. When the companies that sell fencing seal up these rolls of fencing, they wrap them in lacing wire and then in plastic. The problem with this is that the lacing wire blends in with the fencing and is very difficult to see. It took longer to open the rolls of fencing than it did to secure them to the posts.

Again, I am waiting for hose clamps, which will also be used to secure the fencing to the posts properly. For the moment, zip strips and lacing wire is holding the fencing in place. This is not just a single layer of chicken wire. There are hog panels behind the chicken wire on the inside of the coop. It is coated with green plastic so, it just blends and looks pretty much invisible both in pictures and from the back porch.

It really did look like it was going to storm. We didn’t get any rain, just a bunch of brutal wind. If you look closely at the photo above, you will see weird rectangles in the grass. Those are hog panels. I told you, they blend. 😁 Hubby also wants two strands of electric fencing set at 1 ft and 3 ft as a perimeter around the coop. Our friends have lost every chicken every time they start laying eggs. I keep reminding him that they don’t secure the coop entrance and the door from the coop to the run is just a doorway and not secure at all, but he wants electrical fencing. I figure it will come in handy when we eventually get calves (this is going to be a while because neither of us know anything about cattle and we are doing research and talking to people who raise huge herds.) Also, he’s male and from my experience, every guy enjoys cool things like electrical fencing, tractors, and 4 wheelers. So, I am looking at electrical fencing as his part in the whole aspect of having chickens.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ If it keeps them safe great, even if it is a bit ridiculous in my mind. The shutoff switch will be on the front of the coop and the fence will be about 2-3 feet away from the fencing on all sides, so don’t panic, the chickens won’t get zapped. (That was my concern too when he said he wanted it.)

Currently we still need to secure everything once the hose clamps arrive. (I ordered a pack of 100) Then, we have to finish enclosing the run. The end of the run is still open above the fencing so, that needs fencing, the area where we put the screen door needs fencing and the door itself needs fencing because it currently has plastic screen installed. We need to add a few screws to the roof where wind has peeled up the roofing a bit and then silicone to seal where screws are added. Then, cinderblocks around the run at the bottom of the fencing (it is buried, but cinderblocks add more protection). I still need to install roosting areas and nesting boxes. Then, a raised floor because water flows right through the coop when it rains so we will let the water continue its natural course and raise the floor by adding a floor of pavers with plywood above them. This will keep predators from going under the coop to try to get in while supporting the raised floor. I will also secure fencing around the base of the coop, buried of course. Finally, I need to order chicks again.

Once chicks are feathered out and living in their new home, I will get to work on the shed next to the coop. It will become a second coop and it will be sharing a run with the other coop. We will move the door, add another dumptruck cover from the end of the run, over the coop, and attached to the shed roof. We have already fenced in the back side of the area between the two buildings because we used the white metal fence to support the new fencing. It just seemed logical to go ahead and fence it while we were installing the fencing. I may add another building on the end of the run for ducks, but I haven’t decided yet. I definitely want ducks, but they obviously need a water source and I don’t know if I want to sink a kiddie pool that close to the house. I may put them on the back side of the chicken coop and run. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Until next time…