Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Chicken Coops New and Old

We've had chickens for forever. It feels that way at least. They've lived in all sorts of places. We've built a number of chicken tractors. They still sit around the homestead. Occasionally a duck or chicken decides they're a good place to raise a bunch of babies. Right now in fact we have a Mommy duck sitting on eggs in one. No one actually lives in them, just random chickens and ducks decide to lay in them now and then. Having a few chicken tractors around is always a good thing though. Whether it's having a good place to quarantine new poultry, a temporary holding place for all sorts of animals, somewhere to raise a new batch of chicks from the feed store or a place for Mommies to hatch babies, everyone should have one around. They're a "Good Thing". In fact here's a happy Duckie Mama working on hatching some baby duckies as we speak.

She's in this old HEAVY chicken tractor. I need it moved for a garden there but man, the last time we tried to move it it tried to just break into a million pieces. :)
We also have the chicken trailer which just an old rickety trailer that we gutted and put roosts and nesting boxes in. The chickens lived in there for the last year. And we moved it more than once. Chicken coops on wheels are convenient for a number of reasons. But the chickens decided on their own to move out. Now the new chicks live in there.
Here's our happy little chickies in their trailer. I am a firm believer in the trailer coop. Cheap. Most people will almost want to pay you to take their old ugly one away. It can move. And easy to gut.

Why the chickens decided to move in with the ducks I'll never know but they did. We needed a new place for the ducks so what we did was run chicken wire all around the bottom of our back porch which is fairly high. I can't stand underneath it but still fairly high. We put a gate on it and presto! In 30 minutes or less we had a complete pen for the ducks.
*note that Adric sprayed the orange marking paint for marking the garden post holes all over the back porch. Dad's yet to see that one. He will soon. Uh oh Adric.

Yet of course, the ducks have decided to just free range in the yard all night. Whatever. I can't tell these things what to do. We used to round them up every night but after months we had enough of that nonsense. Hopefully they fly away when a predator comes. They've survived all winter so who knows. Stubborn creatures.

So the chickens moved in under the porch. The only problem with that is that they stopped laying in regular places. And it's not so safe with the gate open and ducks free. So this weekend we finished up the chicken coop. Note to mom - you'll probably be annoyed we didn't turn this into a playhouse like you wanted but really, even after we cleaned it out, it never would have been clean enough to be a playhouse. It was a mice house for way too long. Yeah it just couldn't get un-icky enough to be a playhouse. Here it is: Forget the stuff out front. We have yet to haul all the stuff we gutted out from it to the dump.
*note since writing this Clay has taken all that stuff to the dump. Hooray!*

We ran roosts on the framing beams.

We had leftover cabinets that work perfectly for nesting boxes and a feeding center. LOVE reusing things for free!
The cabinets worked great for nesting boxes! Clay ran 2x4s across the front not only to keep the straw and eggs in the boxes, but to give the girls a place to easily jump onto from the ground. They're loving the higher boxes. Us women like to make things as difficult as possible. Go figure.

And everyone is happy! They've been laying us eggs everyday in there and things are hunky dory.
And I'm really happy to have one more permanent part of our homestead finished. With so much to do and with the fact it feels like it will be years before anything is really done, as each thing gets ticked off the list, it feels like a huge victory.

The girls should be really happy now. I hope one day to run a small run around it so they can be outside in the morning before we let them out. Hmm... but then that would mean we'd have to have a chicken door open all night so it's open in the morning for them to get out and critters could get in. Well I still want a run so that they can be outside when we go out of town.....someday. We never go anywhere and like it that way.


Kristin said...

Very nice coop! Of course, we are trying to get the chickens OUT from under our porch. You know you're a redneck when......

Chas said...

What a great coop!!!
That is beautiful!
Have a great day!

MotherOfBlessings said...

Very nice. We recently finished our coop too. We hope to find a used dog kennel on the cheap and use that for a run. We plan to put a top on it to keep the chickens safe.