We are a small family of four living in a older subdivision in Houston, Tx. We are lucky, our area doesn't have any deed restrictions so we are taking advantage of that.
We have 6 hens and a Roo in the coop, and a brooder full of chicks inside. It is almost time to move them out, YEAH...
Of course we have quite few four legged pets as well, 3 dogs, Gus the Dachshund, Luna the Schnorkie and our newest member, Otis the Basenji and Lucy, she is a big 'ole sweet cat.
We are known as the Lopez Zoo and we love it.
We started out in spring of 2008 with 8 chickens, 4 Buff Orpingtons and 4 Australorps. Saturday, one of our BO's, died at about 17 weeks, she was a runt and didn't grow as nicely as the others so we don't think it was meant to be. After hurricane IKE hit September 2008 we adopted 7 more pullets; 2 Welsumers,2 Cochins, 2 Ameracaunas and one BarredRock/EE. One of our Cochins turned out to be our lovely rooster. After a dog attack we lost one of our Ameracaunas, Laura, which happened to be our daughters pullet, so many tears were shed. Our Westie, Bogus had a passion for birds of all sizes, he had in his 12 years of life licked two parakeets ( our daughter's as well ) and now the Ameracauna to death. Sadly in March 2009 he passed away. He will be missed tremendously as he was my first baby. I was given him by my husband as my first birthday gift from him when we were just dating. We also decided to get my Father-in-law our lovely, friendly pullets, so he got 3 Bo's and 3 Aussies. I wish we hadn't because I miss them, but I know he will take great care of them, and if it wasn't for my FiL I wouldn't have gotten into having chickens, he held my hand going in to this adventure. Here are some of our lovely pets and friends. I hope you will enjoy....
This is our rooster Guld, means gold in swedish. He is from a Giant Blue Coching Father and a Buff Orpington Mother.
This is Grace, one of our Welsumers and Laura, one of our Ameracaunas. Both were very much in a need of the same nestingbox. We only have 5 boxes to 6 girls...yikes. I guess we have to share.
Traffic jam in the coop.
This is our brooder mama, Little Miss Muffett. She is a Partridge Cochin. She has given us two chicks so far.
Here is picture of some of our new chicks. We ordered 10 chicks from Ideal in February and they got here March 2nd. All in all we got 2 Silverlaced Wyandottes, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Australorps, 2 California White Leghorns and 2 Ameracaunas as well as 7 Rhode Island Reds popcorn stuffers, all of them little boys. I almost forgot, we also got 3 Fawn and white Runner Ducks. One of our Ameracaunas died in the third week (?) and the BO's as well as the Australorps we gave to our Brother-in-law. We took all but one of the RIR boys to the feedstore so they could sell them. We also got 4 White Leghorns at the feedstore so now we are set.Here is our second baby that we hatched. She is a Buff Orpington/Blue Cochin mix, also with fluffy feet. We named her Flora after a Swedish butter brand, because she looks like a big pat of butter.
The one in the middle, is Spring. She is our first home hatched chick. She actually hatched 2 days too early, because I broke the egg, but she is a trooper. She is a BarredRock/EE/Blue Cochin mix, with fluffy feet and all.
Here they are at 5 weeks. We had a hunch that Flora was a he, so after posting her pick on BYC most members agreed, she is a he. His new and improved name is Guld, it means gold in swedish
Today the new chicks got to go out and stretch their legs free range style. Wow that was popular. They stayed out for hours and truly enjoyed it. See how big and pretty Guld is and he is only five weeks here, the other chicks are 6 weeks.
Here are some more pics of the girls and boys while they were outside.
This is my 4 year old son, Lukas and our RIR rooster Elmer. He is one of the stuffers that we didn't give away. He is extremely curious and funny.
This is Lilly, Tulip and Petunia. They are our 7 week old Fawn and White Runner Ducks. They are like little clowns, funny but scared of their own shadow. They love to play in water or mud. After a good rainstorm they will have a field day out in the muddy run. I actually caught them swimming in the run when it flooded the other day. That is one of the issues I am addressing next...the flooding in the run during torrential down pours, but hey they had fun, quacking up a storm and loving it. UPDATE: On may 30th, 2009 I decided that the ducks had to go to greener pastures, so they moved to big 20 acre property about 20 mintutes north of here. There they will have not one but two ponds to call their own. I realized that the ducks might have loved it here but my chickens didn't. Theducks knowcked over the waterer every day and it really irked me and the girls, and they harrassed the younger ones. Now everybody are happy....except the kiddos, they do not understand why I let the ducks move out..LOL
So here it is, the coop, Petra's Pecker Palace. We looked at a lot of different designs before we selected the A frame style. I wanted something I associated with chickens and for some reason the A frame stood out. Being that we live in a very hot and humid environment we decided that we needed a coop that was well ventilated to the point of almost open air. This was the best solution we could see fit, when it is cooler and wetter outside we have plastic tarp that rolls down on all sides of the coop to keep rain out, that is our short term solution. In the long run I would like to make some moveable roofpanels that flip up or down so rain can be kept out or cool breeze can be brought in. It is in my head, I just need to figure out how to implement it.
This is the front of our coop. The whole coop is open air except where the nesting boxes are. There we have what we call dormers that open up, so in the heat of the day it will provide some breeze through the "second" floor of the coop.
This is the side that faces out into the yard, the other side is along the fence. If you notice the roll along the bottom edge of the roof, that is the plastic tarp rolled up on long pipes and kept up by chains on a hook. When it rains or is cold we simply unhook the chains and let the tarp unroll to the ground and the coop is kept dry and wind proof. The dormers are opened up in this picture, behind the birch tree. Inside of them we have our nesting box area with 5 nest boxes and two 7' roosts. We also have a hanging waterer and feeder in there. Our chickens are spoiled because we supply a fan in the summer and heater in the winter ( if you can call it winter? ), they have a bugzapper and of course a light. Things are good at the Pecker Palace.
This is the back of the coop showing the two top doors that houses the nestingboxes, and the bottom flip down door that lets the girls and boys out in the morning. The obligatory chicken chair is there as well, I guess I might be weird but I get a huge sense of peace sitting in the run with my guys and gals. Come take a load off and just enjoy....
Here is the run, it is shared by the chickens and the ducks so I put up the partial fence in the back of the run to keep the ducks water mess down to a minimum in the run. It works really well.
Here is the ducks area, of course they can go back and forth between here and the coop but their watermess stays here...far away from the chickens environment. The "pond" is an old sandbox, the turtle kind that has a lid. I have drilled out a 1 1/4" hole in the bottom of the pool and I have a drain plug in the hole. I also dug a large hole under the pool so when evening comes I can pull the plug in the pool, let the water drain out into the hole and none of the water makes a mess in the run. The lid for the sandbox comes in handy if I feel like filling the pool with clean water in the evening but don't want it to get nasty until my girls make it nasty on their own the next day. I wouldn't want to take that away from them, it is pure joy... Again the deck also serves as a way to minimize the mud. I simply laid out 2x4's on the ground as joists and scewed decking into the "joists", so it is a type of floating deck. I didn't need a permanent deck and this was easy to make, I slapped it together one weekend when my hubby was out of town hunting, voila. It works remarkably well.
We have had some torrential downpours this weekend and unfortunately my coop and run is flooded, at least 7-9 inches of water in some areas. So we are regrouping and fixing this problem as soon as we can. I think I am going to get 1 or 2 truckloads of roadsand and fill the whole area in with it, to level it out. Then I will get some river rocks or the like to cover the run, and I will fill the coop with the pine shavings to make it smell nice again. Meanwhile I had to evacuate my chickens out of the coop yesterday, they are temporarily housed in our garden shed, on higher ground.Enjoy for now, it will grow in a few days I am sure....