Posted in Gardening

Accidental Chickens!!

May 26, 2015 - 5:22 pm


The weekend had a big surprise. In a word, CHICKENS!!

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I am part of the local Buy Nothing group on Facebook, and someone posted this weekend that they needed to re-home three young pullets and a coop. I put my hand up as interested, and they chose me, so  we now have a small coop and three new girls in the family. On the left is Zoe, a Rhode Island Red, in the front is Inara, a Buff Orpington, and in back is Kaylee, an Easter Egger. Most of my friends should get the reference. 

Here’s the coop:

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It looks adorable and cozy. I had been planning to build a coop this summer and get chox in the spring of 2016, so this seemed like a great way to shortcut and get a nicely made coop. Until I noticed the tiny access door, the lack of ventilation, and lack of roosting poles— there are only wobbly sticks at floor height. wtf?

There is also a tray that’s meant to be pulled out for cleaning. It slides quite freely. I’m going to have to figure out how to block it in to keep rats from squeezing in and enjoying a chicken dinner with a side of eggs and scratch. The little tiny bolt latch looks like it would take a dunce of a raccoon about a minute to open. Half of the roof and the lid of the nest boxes cantilevered off the left side also opens part way, but neither provides easy internal access for cleaning.

Oh, and the nest boxes are at floor level without any real separation from the rest of the coop: 

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right now I have grit and water in one, and the girls are puppy-piling in the other to sleep. Once I get roost poles in I’ll chivvy them out of that area and figure out some way to make them more nest-y and less floor-ish. I think another front board and curtains might help. I may place boxes in them for a bit if they don’t take a hint. They are still several months from laying.

So this coop needs some emergency upgrades to make it comfortable, safe, and secure, and the coop build-out is still on plan for some time this summer. This little coop will become an isolation coop, which isn’t a bad thing to have. Once I give it ventilation and a roosting pole, nice waterers, and upgrade the security it should be cozy for some youngsters or a sick hen.

Expect coop projects this week. I have a waterer half built and hardware cloth to put on the bottom of the coop, as well as a hole saw to make ventilation holes under the peak of the roof and roosting poles to put in.

But first, a chicken movie, and then more pictures! The girls had never encountered fresh greens or strawberry tops before today, so were a bit non-plussed by their introduction to dandelion greens, but they started to catch on pretty quickly. The movie was shot after the photos that follow, when Inara had decided the greens weren’t a tentacle monster and she could inspect them herself.

Zoe and Kaylee were first out of the nest box after I put in the greens:

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Zoe pulled off the one dandelion flower and raced back into the nest box with it, then Kaylee started nibbling on the greens:

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Zoe came back for another taste:

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And then Inara got into the action, and I thought to switch to recording video. 😀





June 1, 2015 5:22 pm

You are going to love watching chicken tv. That is what we call it because we got rid of our cable over 5 years ago and got chickens at the same time. They are all the entertainment you need! You will love the buff orpington. We have two and they are so docile and the only ones we can easily pick up. Good luck modifying your coop. It definitely needs it!

Jennifer Leigh

June 1, 2015 5:22 pm

I do love chicken tv!! I’ve had chickens before. Though I have to say Buff Orp’s weren’t my favorites; I found them a bit too docile and lacking in common sense. My old favorites were Partridge Plymouth Rocks. I think my spring chicks 2016 may be Cream Legbars.

I’m finding more and more about this coop to be dysfunctional. It’s difficult to clean, the nest boxes are too small, and the whole thing is too low to the ground. It’s like a 50% scale model of a coop. I pretty much need to replace it asap with something more functional, and keep the smaller coop for next year’s chicks and other birds that need isolation. I’ll probably put the whole thing on stilts and modify the front to have two doors rather than the single. Or something.

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