I've often seen the "My Coop" link on members avatars but never really investigated it until today. So I guess I better join the club and create a My Coop page!
I had wanted chickens for a long time. I grew up on a farm and my mom kept chickens until my mid-teens, but I never really paid any attention to them, other than trying to avoid her mean RIR and WL roosters. I was more interested in riding horses, playing with the kittens and brushing the cows. Well, 20 years later the new receptionist I hired for my business shows up her first day of work with a dozen of fresh eggs for me! Turns out I hired a crazy chicken lady! I had forgotten how fresh eggs tasted and so began my quest to have chickens of my own. Through a few moves and life changes I finally settled down and got my flock in August of 2016.
I found my perfect match on my local Craigslist. Five pullets, assorted breeds, for sale from a nice young couple who suddenly had to move out of state. Here is a picture of them a few days after I got them, eating corn on the cob from my hands:
In this motley crue we have 2 black australorps, Peck and Curley Sue, 1 Jersey Giant named Jersey Girl, 1 golden comet, Mrs. Garrett, and 1 buff orpington named Goldie.
How Curley Sue got her name:
She has that one small feather in front of her tail that curls forward. Even after her first adult molt last winter that feather grew in curled!
More prepubescent pictures of the girls:
I suffered my first loss last September. Goldie aka "my golden girl" passed away from complications due to internal laying. I was devastated! She was my favorite. She was the first one to eat out of my hand, the first one to jump on my lap, the one I could carry around like a football, and the comical fat girl that ran funny and would chase the cats. Her very first egg was a double yolker:
And she laid the prettiest pink egg with white specks:
When I knew she was ill I brought her in the house. I drained some fluid out of her abdomen a few times, but her relief was short lived. On the third day (after one of the best days she had had in awhile) I noticed her comb was turning purple and her breathing severely labored. I knew it was the end so I wrapped her in a towel and held her until she passed away, about 45 minutes later. I cried...and cried...and cried. This is the last picture I took of Goldie, about a month before she passed. She had grown up to be a beautiful hen:
And then there is my buddy Mrs. Garrett. So named because looking at her from far away she looked like Mrs. Garrett's beehive hair-do. (Mrs. Garrett was a character on the show Facts Of Life for you young-ins ). She's now my tamest, and is always underfoot waiting for me to turn something over or pull up a weed so she can get the bugs underneath. She is my best layer and my best chicken friend.
In April of last year, my area experienced a horrible fox problem. No, the foxes didn't take away from my flock...they added to it! People around here free range. I am way too paranoid for that. My girls are tucked behind a Fort Knox run with electric fencing. I stepped out my front door one morning, and this tiny little Easter Egger is running right towards my house with a fox hot on her tail. She flew up on my porch as the fox exited stage left when it saw me. She perched up on my porch swing, shaking. I didn't know what to do, but I did know she was going to end up fox food if I just left her. So I scooped her up and put her in a dog crate. Here she is at the time of her rescue...all tattered and roughed up.
The very next day as I was checking in on her, I could tell she was making a nest in the straw I put in. I was so excited! I knew it would be a colored egg... I was thinking probably green..but then she laid this:
So I got a free chicken, an Easter Egger, and a blue layer at that?? I should have bought a lottery ticket that day!
About a week later, just 30 minutes after I came in from fox hunting (which is me laying on the deck with a .22 LR waiting for that rat bastard to run through) I see in my security camera that is on the chicken run another EE frantically trying to get through the fence into my chicken run. Poor thing had to be getting shocked by the fence but she still kept trying to get in. I ran downstairs, grabbed the gun, went out on the deck and saw the fox carrying her off towards the woods. I shot, and he dropped her, but immediately picked her up again and started running. So I shot again and he dropped her. She started to run off and as he turned to grab her again I just started shooting rapid-fire and he ran off. She ran into the woods. I followed the feather trail and found her standing up against a tree trunk in total shock. I scooped her up and brought her into the house. This is what she looked like upon her rescue:
A year later both girls are fully recovered and doing well.
Mutton Chops (the first rescue):
LF (Lucky F*****) the second rescue:
Now that I have 2 blue egg layers, I decided over the winter to get blue-gene carrying rooster to hatch chicks to keep my blue egg layers going. So option wise I thought all I had to choose from a crested cream legbar or an Ameraucana. I had read that both breeds have a tendency to be aggressive, so I wasn't fully committed to the idea. Then one evening my sister forwards an ad to me about a TRUE, double tufted rumpless araucana cockerel for sale about an hour away. The seller had bought hatching eggs from a breeder in Ohio and she was selling off the extra cockerels. I.MUST.HAVE!!! By the weekend I had my spontaneous purchase that I was completely unprepared for. My Cholo:
I've had Cholo for 2 1/2 months now. I don't regret my spontaneous purchase one bit. I love him to pieces! For the most part integration went well. He is a great watchdog and provider for his hens, and has not once tried to challenge me or shown any aggression. He's kind of annoying in the garden though...always wanting to help:
So that's my flock so far! I will be getting a new coop as my flock grows. I will share pictures when I do!
Edited 5/28/18: My chicken run. Roughly 1300 square feet. Had to replace welded wire fence with hardware cloth over a period of a year due to cost. Don't worry, the little red coop in the middle is not my main coop! I use it as an integration coop for new birds. When not in use my flock enjoys it as a hangout and playground, hence the sheet of plywood leaned up against it for additional shade. My main coop is within the barn to the left.