Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Chickens are coming! The chickens are coming!

The good news is my chickens, being raised from chicks by a wonderful niece, are doing well.  The other good news is that my 15 chickens (13 hens, 1 rooster, and 1 we’re not sure on yet) will be ready to come home 3 weeks sooner than was originally planned, and that means next weekend.   I visited Friday and got some pics.  Here is part of the flock.  When De and I picked out the flock, we selected 5 Buff Orpingtons, 5 Red Stars, and 3 Araucanas/Ameraucanas.  We allowed Daughter #2 to pick the rooster and she selected Golden Polish just on looks.  We picked a hen of the same breed as a matched set.  One of the Red Stars didn't make it, and the white bird (we still haven't figured out the breed) was thrown in as a bonus by the chick company.  You can see most of them in the pic and they really are not chicks anymore.  Time was drawing near for "the chickens to come home to roost".  (I knew I would find somewhere to use that little saying.  I can still hear my Dad saying those words when talking about folks who had made poor choices and were reaping the consequences.)

De has already named the Golden Polish "couple" Fred and Wilma.  We're not sure which of the two great nephew is holding, but he/she is starting to develop the crown.  Right now its a little 'thin' on top and looks a little like someone who might be writing a blog with the initials HCH. 

All this leads me to the topic of the coop.  As it sat Thursday when the homecoming news came in, my coop had the full floor done. Period.  And one full wall with a huge hole for nesting boxes.  And a couple of parts of walls and some framework for shelves and nesting boxes. And an adequate pile of lumber sitting next it.  I needed to get busy.  I was able to take part of Friday and the bulk of today (Saturday) to work on it.   Progress!  First off were the nesting boxes.  I got those done as the sun went down on Friday.  It was too dark for pics then, but De got some this morning.  There are six boxes across the back of the coop.  I'm not sure I need six, but it was "architecturally convenient" to build it that way.  The boxes will be accessible from outside the coop and the run.  You can see in the pic that carpentry is not my forte, and I'm a somewhat messy carpenter at that.  Still, it all got done!

The next challenge was the roost.  I took a great idea from Dan and Leigh over at "5 Acres & A Dream" and went with the roosting tree concept.  It just so happened that on my list of chores this spring is to take down sickly pine tree on the edge of our property along the road.  I had found a "donor"!  We planted a row of them years ago.  They all died within two years except this one, and it was slowing dying from the bottom up.  No longer completely green, it was time for a felling.  

A little chainsaw work took care of that chore, and then it was time to pick out a section that had branches set up in a way that looked like it would work for chickens.  After trimming back the ends of the branches, spending some quality time with my tape measure, and doing some head scratching I selected a section out of the middle towards the bottom.  Back to the chainsaw.  I didn't want to trim too close and wanted to save the final trimming for when I had it set.  At over 7 feet tall and from the bottom 1/4th of the tree, it was a bunch to lug around.  I finally rolled it up into the truck and hauled it off to the coop.  After some more measuring, trimming and hauling it was finally up in place.  Much like the roost at "5 Acres", I secured the top with residential pipe hanging strap.  Since I set it within a couple feet of a wall I had to trim out a flat side.  I also took one trimmed branch and nailed from the truck to the wall.  It looks cool me me.  I'm hoping it looks inviting to a chicken!  Being a newbie (growing up our chickens free ranged and roosted in the barn, usually part way up a hay loft.)  I'm kind of going on what I see on other blogs.

Getting the roost done meant I'm ready for doors and the outside walls. Then its time to fence in the run.  We're planning on a large yard (25 feet by maybe something like 60 feet.  Maybe a little more.  Here's where I am so for:  Floor done, nesting boxes done (you can see the fronts in the back of the coop below), shelf done, and West wall (on the left) done.  There's still a bunch construction trash lying around, and the combination of old and new lumber makes is harder to see what is what.  In any case,  I'm getting closer!

Take care all,  I'll have more as it comes, and I have a handful of other ideas for posts.  That is when I'm not working at my regular job, working on something for the Church, running the county ARES team,spending time with the family, fixing one of the vehicles....  You get the picture!

Col. 1: 9-12,



  1. I love the roost, LOL. It's great because it takes up less room than tradition roosts, don't you think? And your nest boxes came out great! The big day is getting close.

    1. Leigh - It does seem to take up less space than some more traditional roosts I've seen. I hope the chickens approve. Thanks on the nest boxes. There were some moments of doubt, but in the end I'm happy with them.