Archive for the 'chicken coop' Category

Garden/Foster Farm Update

The rain has finally subsided for a few days!  I am overjoyed!  So overjoyed that I actually acquiesced to a bike ride with the hubby and kids (in the bike trailer) today.  It was beautiful.  If only it was summer in Portland all the time.

Anyway, this was a garden update!  I was talking to a friend the other day, as we played in the park on a rather partly cloudy and sixty-five degree day, that maybe this year isn’t quite as bad as last year as far as rain goes.  My roses are not molding.  But, it is rose festival time and do I have even one rose blossom?  Not a one.  So, they aren’t moldy, but they are just non-existent.  But, the irises are coming in!  Remember that we planted a TON of irises last year after the birth of Miss Nancy Iris?  Here’s the first of them about to bloom!  I’m so excited to see them.  I don’t even remember what colors we planted!
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I have pretty much all of my vegetables in the garden now. There are carrots (seedlings are just starting to show up), kale (a new veggie… I’m hoping to make kale chips that the girls will love), brussels sprouts, swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers, squashes, zucchini, pumpkins, green and yellow beans, and Clara also convinced me to plant corn, which should be exciting. I got rid of all of my sunflowers last year because they were a pain in the butt to try to keep standing come late summer, but preschool sent home some seeds to plant, so I guess we’ll have some of those as well. I also planted some peas and tomato plants around the patio, in hopes that the hotter spot will get me more tomatoes (although it can’t get much worse than last year).
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Oh! And my chives are back and blooming. I just love chive blossoms.
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The chickens are finally all living together outside in the hen house. It was a little rocky there for a while. I had the little chicks in a chicken annex run outside every day for a month before I actually tried to put them all together. The first time didn’t take. Curry tried to peck their eyes out. So then I let them free range together for a few days and finally just locked them all together at night fall. They survived. And it only took a month of that for the big chickens to let the little ones roost near them.
Here’s Clucky, a beautiful Americauna. I just love her coloring.
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And here’s Sugar, a Buff Orpington.
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And the big girls, Buffalo, an Australorp, and Curry, a Buff Orpington.
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New Homemade Chicken Feeder

It’s very interesting to me that in writing this blog, I have written 156 post on various topics (parenting, crafting, chickens, gardening, stocking a freezer, etc.), and consistently, the most popular post, the one that is looked at by the most people, is this one about my homemade chicken feeder.  Therefore, it is with great hoopla that I announce, I have made a new chicken feeder of a different design!  Hooray!

My previous chicken feeder was wonderful.  The feed lasted between two and three weeks depending on how much free ranging my chickens were doing and it held up really quite well, but since I am introducing two more chickens to my flock in the next couple of weeks, I realized that feeder was taking up way too much space in my hen house.  I needed something smaller, more compact, and out-of-the-way.  I will still use the old one when we are out-of-town on vacation or visiting the grandparents, but for every day use, I made a new one.

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It is a design I blatantly stole from our friends Courtney and Joe. You need very few pieces and all of mine were recycled/repurposed. I used a length of drain pipe that was sitting in my garage and the bottom of a 2-liter bottle that I cut in two parts. I (with Adam’s help) drilled and screwed the drain pipe to the inside wall of the henhouse. While screwing in the bottom, I jammed the 2-liter bottom on the bottom of the drain pipe and screwed in tightly. Then, I poured in some feed. Below you can see my new feed scoop. You may be able to guess where it came from.
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Voila! New chicken feeder is finished. This was a pretty easy project once I found the right screws. Now all I have left to do for the new chickens is install another roost in the hen house to keep fighting to a minimum and eventually build one more nest box. I’ll keep you updated about how the introductions go.

Chicken Update

The girls are doing great and living full time in their coop.  Their favorite foods are strawberries, watermelon rind, and chicken scratch.  I’m trying to train them some, at least to come into the coop when I want them to and maybe to come back when they are free ranging when I want them to.   So far they are either very stubborn or not the smartest chickens in the coop.  They will come every once in a while when I call and throw out treats, but are very inconsistent about it.  At least they are cute.  Here they are when I got them up this morning, sitting on their roost, waiting for me.
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The Coop: Finale

Well, the drama is finally over.  The coop is done.  Adam claims that he thinks I did a good job.  I’m not so sure.  I do know one thing.  Next time I say that I’m thinking about building something, some one needs to slap me first and tell me I’m crazy.  Kristen, you’re in charge of that.  

Here is the finished product. This is the view from the house/patio:
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Here is the view from the rose garden/veggie garden/ lawn:
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Here is the side view of everything, but especially the step that Adam built me (love it and thank you tree toppers for that) and the post and gate that had me in tears:
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The girls are loving it.  They spend all day outside in it right now and then I have to chase them down to get them in the bucket to come back inside at night.  I can’t wait until they can live outside all the time.  Adam has warmed up to them considerably now that they are outside most of the time (they were too loud inside for him) and has been bringing them worms to eat.  They love them and yesterday when Adam gave them a six inch long night crawler, they fought over it, running back and forth, stealing it, then having it stolen for a good five minutes.  Their favorite foods are watermelon rind, strawberries, slugs, and worms.  Yum.  

Curry and Maize:
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Buffalo:
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Chicken Run Fury

Sorry for the pause in blogdom.  Kristen and Becky pointed out my absence and I promised to get this out there.  The last week has been busy with Mom and Dad visiting, play dates four days a week, Memorial weekend parties and potlucks, and trying to put together the chicken run.  

Speaking of the chicken run, it kicked my butt yesterday.  On Sunday, while Adam was at work (he was on call this weekend) and Clara was sleeping, I sunk two posts near the coop and wired all of the sides of the run with kennel wire.  Then I left it when Clara woke up and thought about how I was going to make a gate into it.  I thought that I would just be able to go back on Monday and put the gate up with Adam’s help.  

On Monday morning, with Clara at playschool (can I say I love our playschool days?), Adam helped me to make a gate out of wood, staple wire to it, and hinge it to the coop.  Then we tried to close the gate.  The post it was supposed to attach to was crooked.  No problem, I thought.  I’ll just raise the coop in the back about three inches and that will fix it.  No luck.

The next logical thing to try was to take out the post and re-sink it into the ground straight.  So, I unwired all the wire on it, pulled it out, and we re-sledge hammered it down straight.  It was definitly straight when we sunk it.  So, we put the wire back on, trimmed it up, and closed the gate… or didn’t, as the gate still didn’t close.  Damn it!   

At this point I unwired the wire again, while singing a song to myself mostly made up of the F-word to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”  It made me feel better.  A little bit.  Adam of course got paged into work at this point and I was on my own.  I yet again pulled the post out and re-sunk it into the ground straight.  Then I pulled the wire over.  It no longer fit.  I couldn’t stretch it any further because that would cause the post to move, which would cause the gate not to close.  Which was what I was trying to fix.  Arggghhhh!

As tears streamed down my face in frustration, and the “Jingle Bells” song turned into a long stream of just plain cursing, I cut a new section of kennel wire to repair the problem.  I wired it to the section that was too short, attached that to the post and (THANK GOD!) the gate closed!! 

To celebrate, I went and grabbed the girls (Curry, Maize, and Buffalo) and threw them in in run.  They liked it, and pecked around happily for the rest of the afternoon.  This is until Adam mowed the lawn by them, and Maize and Buffalo spooked and flew out the top where I hadn’t quite finished wiring it down.  Oops.  Its still a work in progress, but I think, make that hope, that the hardest part is over.

In chick related news…

Things are going just swimmingly… or maybe flyingly…with the chicks.  They are growing like weeds, literally twice the size they were when we got them.  Here are pictures of them as of today.

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Clara is still in love with them and tells them, “Morning!” every morning.  She loves to take them outside to play during her snack time.  They love it too.  Their favorite thing ever is running around pecking in the grass. 

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On Saturday morning I woke up earlier than the rest of the family and went downstairs to read and surf the net.  I was disturbed by a loud squak from the chicks and immediately went to investigate.  This is what I found:

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Buffalo’s wings seem to be quite functional.  Too much, in fact.  She is constantly flapping and trying to get somewhere.  They now have a wire cover over their tupperware brooder box.  Wouldn’t want to lose the feisty one!

Lastly, today we finally finished the hen house.  I’m glad that at least part of this project is over.  We still haven’t moved it to its final location (as we may be topping a tree that it will sit under) and I still have to plan and execute the building of the run, but at least the biggest part is over.  

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It seems to be waterproof (at least there’s none leaking in) and all the doors are functional.  It is larger than I was imagining, actually, and I really like the clear roofing for letting light in despite what  a pain in my rear it was to cut and install.  I would still use it again, especially since it means that the chickens will get light as soon as the sun comes up without me having to go out at the butt-crack of dawn.  Also, can I just say that I have the best husband ever, helping me to make this.  He was very patient with the fact that I had no idea what I was doing and I think ended up being impressed by my quick learning skills at least as far as nailing things together goes.  

Chicken Coop–Days 3, 4, and 5

Well, the henhouse still isn’t finished.  I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am a bit disappointed.  Oh well.  On Friday night  we put the roosts in and put a floor on it.  Saturday we figured out the doors, how to hinge them, and how they should work.  On Sunday we finished the doors and I cut the roof out of Palruf and I screwed it up, so then I had to go buy PVC glue and try and fix it, then let it dry.  So, this is how far we got.  It looks a lot like the last picture I posted.  The roof is ready to instal as soon as we can find the time, though!
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