My Renovation Blog

Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Backyard Chickens!

 The chickens are getting BIG.  They grow super fast.  Here they are in their run...

And this is how they sleep at night on the roost in their coop (which is a really hard photo to get!)...

And here is my favorite, Oreo...

So what I have learned so far (keeping in mind that my hens don't even lay eggs yet!)...

1. Baby chicks look like they are dead when they sleep...and freak you out at first.

2. You can research which breeds to get forever, but despite their 'known' temperament, they have their own personalities, just like people.  My friendliest is a barred plymouth rock, and my two buff orpingtons are not friendly, despite their reputation of being the lap dogs of chickens.  One of my easter eggers is extremely skittish- the worst of the bunch- and another is mediocre friendly.  So you just never know.  I say if you're getting chickens, go by the biggest egg producers and the ones you think look the best (which are barred plymouth rocks in my opinion!).

3. Chickens eat a TON (oh my gosh, I'm going to go broke buying them food- they never stop eating), and waste even more than they eat.  They like to scratch so they get more food all over the floor of their run than they eat.  Gary is in the process of building something to hopefully remedy that. 

4.  I think chickens poop more than they eat.  They must poop every 3 minutes or something.  Seriously, I've never seeing a living thing that poops as much as a chicken.

5. They are generally easy.  They are pretty quiet and low maintenance.  However, it is one more thing to do- you do have to fill up their food and water once in a while and clean their coop/run once a week.

The low down for anyone considering chickens (which I'll try to continually update since I was searching ALL over trying to find blog posts from "normal" suburban people who own chickens)...

I LOVE when we are sitting outside together as a family, and we have chickens free-ranging around us.  Love it.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. ;)  They are fun to play with, and the kids (and Rylee!) love them. 

Our hens absolutely love to free range- as soon as they see me walking towards the coop, they all run to the door and tear out the second I open it.  It really solidifies my reason for raising chickens in the first place- I can't believe that most (probably all if you are buying from a store) eggs come from chickens that are confined all day every day of their lives.  My hens even go back inside their coop at dusk all by themselves and settle themselves on their roost!  All we have to do is go shut and lock the run door- easy peasy!

However, like I said, they do poop A LOT.  Luckily, ours mainly free range in our flower beds, so I love that the plants are getting nitrogen rich chicken poop as food, but they also hang out in the grass sometimes so there is poop on our grass.  And you have to keep them off your hardscape, or it's covered in poop.

We don't love our coop/run.  So now I want Gary to build a new one.  You simply can't know what will work for you until you have them.  The coop part is actually decent, but Gary did have to put that roost (in the photo above) in himself because the roosts that come with the coop are super low (below the nesting boxes, which is bad because then they sleep in the nesting boxes- chickens want to roost on the highest point in the coop).  But ideally, I want a walk-in coop.  Even though the bottom pulls out to clean the poop, it still kind of hurts my back.  I'd also like more high roosting space because I don't think they will all fit up there when they are full grown.

I sort of hate the run.  Even though I can step inside, I have to slightly bend over, and it's just hard to get in there, and really hard to clean.  The open part underneath the coop is just stupid.  The chickens love it under there so there is a ton of poop, but there is no way for me to get under there to clean.  And because our coop is on concrete, we are still trying to figure out what to put on the ground of the run, the easiest way to keep it clean, etc.  We're not doing a great job right now so we are attracting a ton of flies.  Which is driving me batty because our old house was completely fly infested (without chickens!) because I swear they built it over a cow farm or something, and this house did not have flies, and now we are fly infested again.  GRRR. 

But overall, if you are considering chickens, I say, go for it!  I think the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. :)

1 comment:

  1. Can you train them to only go poop in certain areas (so you don't have to clean as much)?