Last spring I decided that I wanted to look into getting some chickens for my house. I started my research on chickens with library books, websites and on BYC several months before I started looking for hens.
In July 2012 our town passed a law that allowed homeowners to have 6 hens on their property for egg laying purposes only. I was the first person to get the permit. I then purchased a doll house coop for my hens & my best friend helped me build an enclosed run that attaches to the doll house coop.
On August 6, 2012 I purchased 4 Partridge Rock hens from a lady near me who advertised them on Craig's List. They were approximately 13 weeks old at the time.
They were so small & I fretted over them. But thanks to the wonderful OT's on here I learned chickens are hardy souls and can take care of themselves pretty well on their own. I started them on DL as soon as I acquired them and a few weeks later I started them on FF. Both great choices for my hens that I want to raise naturally with no use of chemicals.
They eat less with the FF and are very healthy. The FF makes their feathers shine, firmed their feces & there is no stinky poop smell. They also eat less but get more of their nutrients from the FF. I also use natural ingredients for preventive measures for them. They get pumpkin, cukes, cayenne pepper, basil, garlic and other herbs to help keep their immunity up (especially with the deep freeze we have been in the last few weeks with temps in the single digits) helps prevent mites & lice, natural dewormers, plus so many other benefits for them.
Here they are enjoying some *Johnny cake* treats I make for them using suet lard, pumpkin seeds, BOSS, granola, various herbs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, & almonds. A hen FAVORITE that is healthy for them and helps to maintain their good health naturally.
On December 6, 2012 I received my 1st egg
when the hens were 30 weeks old. By the end of December all 4 hens were laying. The eggs all have a hard shell and a large dark orange yolk. Just one of the many benefits of the FF. I get at least one egg a day and normally average 2-3 per day. In December my 4 hens laid 41 eggs & they doubled that in January with a total of 82 eggs for the month. Very impressive for newly laying pullets in the dead of the winter
With all the knowledge I have received here, & continue to receive from a few threads on here, I am happy to say I have 4 very healthy, happy hens. They prefer to forage in the large outdoor fenced in area I have for them then stay inside the enclosed run & just eat their FF.
They are not deterred by rain, snow, wind or the cold. They are doing an awesome job of fertilizing & turning my veggie garden & another area where the veggie garden will be enlarged to. They work cheap......payment is the bugs and other goodies they find as they forage. Even this winter they prefer foraging over their regular food. Especially in their DL where I found an earth worm
in the middle of December during a deep freeze. The ground under the DL has not frozen and the hens love to dig through their DL for some tasty treats underneath.
Their coop does not have supplemental lighting nor is it heated. It has ample ventilation at the top & bottom with several areas at each end that are open with no covering at all. Frostbite is not an issue. There is no excess humidity in the coop. And the hens are like little hot ovens even when the temps in the teens (yes I have ventured out after they are roosting and checked their feet & stuck my fingers into their feathers to check)
I love my time with the hens. There is nothing better than some good ol' chicken tv to keep you amused.
But I can see predators better from up here......And I wanted to check out the new roof you installed
Here they are dust bathing in wood ash. A natural mite & lice preventive.
They are very easy to raise & not a lot of work. I am acquiring a few more hens this spring from a BYCer in my area from eggs she is hatching.
I have learned that a doll house coop that states it will suffice for 3-5 hens in incorrect. The more room the better especially for LF. Thats also true for room to forage in the yard. The more area the better to roam and it also helps cut down on their regular feed intake.