Welcome to Cluckberry Cottage
I'm a new chicken owner, got my 6 point-of-lay hybrid hens in April 2010.
Left to right: it's my queen Betty, next to Belle, Bonnie, Pearl, Peas, and Penny. Alas, Peas was always poorly, and became an ex-hen one day between breakfast and lunch. We took her to the field across the river and left her for the foxes.
Here's my first setup. I bought the coop (the part that has the roofs) on ebay, and very quickly realized I couldn't keep 6 chickens in just that .
So I had a guy make me an attached run, doubling the space...which clearly was still not enough room.
My favorite part about this setup was the attached nest box.
So I sold my very pretty setup to a friend who only wanted 3 chickens, and she's been happy with it.
Here are my 6 in the old run...good chickens get sod!
So, I read loads more on this board and decided I wanted a walk-in coop with a poop board. I bought a shed off ebay and painted it with gloss. Look how pristine it was!
Here are my girls settling into their new digs. I now put about 4 inches of Auboise shavings under the roosting plank as I prefer to scoop up poo rather than scrape it.
I've now mounted an exterior nest box but they laid in the old sink shown here, and in cardboard boxes, for months with no problem. It was a purely cosmetic change, as I found I missed opening the nest box lid and seeing the eggs laying in the nest. It is just not the same to crouch down and root around in a cardboard box.
In the autumn, I decided I get a couple more chickens, as we eat 4 eggs for breakfast...and my five cluckers weren't regularly providing that many, so I read some more on byc and decided I wanted pretty colors, so bought two Columbine pullets (who are supposed to lay blue/green eggs...which one of them does...the other lays a light pink egg). I'd chicken-sat a friend's two hens in the summer and liked being able to see her white chicken from the house, so wanted a whitish chicken too. Enter Milly, Molly and Mae!
And now we average 6 eggs a day, sometimes get 7 and to date have had one glorious 8-egg day.
Other improvements to the coop:
I'm doing the deep litter method, and while I know the coop will need a thorough clean in the spring, think it's working very well.
- an automatic door which is light sensitive
- a water jug with nipples, for use in the coop
- a light inside the coop which keeps the water from freezing, and also keeps the girls laying as they're getting supplemental light
I'll end with a photo I love, of the Betty leading Belle and Bonnie off into the forget-me-nots like ships in the sea.