libertychickens, IndianapolisWe live near Broad Ripple in Indianapolis. My husband has always wanted to farm - his best friend is a serious farmer - and I have friends with chickens so last August we jumped in. I had planned to buy a used coop/throw one together with materials on hand just to see if we liked having chickens before we made a big investment...but husband cannot do anything without doing it overly well. So we purchased the plans for The Garden Coop and built it with a few tweaks. I'm still not happy with the white paint - I think with the brown MCM house the coop should be aqua - but haven't had the energy to paint yet.
We started off with 1 BO and 3 EEs (or maybe they're Aracaunas? That's what the farmer said they were.) at about age 14 weeks. After two days one of the EE HENS started to crow! Such cute adolescent crowing, like a boy with his voice changing, but I didn't want the neighbors to have to deal with a 5am wakeup call. So I swapped the boy for another EE hen and threw another BO into the mix as well.
My 7yo son named them all after outer space things: Judy and Halley (comets), Venus, Ariana, and Laika. As for "trying out" chickens, well of course I'm madly in love with them now and so glad we followed husband's good sense and built the coop well to begin with.
The girls enjoy some kale I hang on the run - they are crazy for it and will jump up to get it. Note the potted
kale - former potted kale, that is - in the background? They strip it clean!
So cold weather came along and my girls never started laying. I'm hoping come spring we'll get some eggs from these adorable freeloaders!
Sadly the cold weather also brought a hawk. We lost Venus this week to a hawk attack, so I've started fortifying the yard - buildings on two sides, 6' fence on one, 4' wire fence on the other - with fishing line strung all over. My plan is to get it dense enough that a hawk can't fit through...one hopes.
The fishing line isn't too visually invasive but will hopefully protect the girls.
With serious cold coming I'm going to try to resist heating the coop. Everything I've read here at BYC implies that they really won't need it in my climate. But I'm a big softie, so who knows...
UPDATE 24 November 2010: FIRST EGG! Since then (a week ago) we've gotten one or two eggs a day. I think from Judy the Buff Orp and Ariana the Aracauna/EE. One lays blue, the other brown. So exciting and suddenly I'm obsessed with what the girls are eating - because what they eat, I eat! Lots of healthy greens (kale and dandelion greens) for my hard working girls!
30 December 2010 update: A hawk - a BIG one - made it through the fishing wire yesterday and killed my beloved Judy the BO. So last night I ordered a twine net to cover the whole area. Will update with pictures when we get it in.