Afternoon view of our chicken coop/run. The area that now houses all of our 10 chickens used to be nothing but an eye sore. I pretended there was nothing past the white fence. There was nothing but sand, dirt, and lots of weeds that would grow almost waist high if we didn't catch it in time.
Last year, June 28, 2014 I told my husband I wanted chickens for my birthday, July 5. Knowing nothing about chickens, but always intrigued by them, I ordered the coop and it arrived with some very slight damage but was able to put it together anyway. Then the next day we ran ( I do mean ran) to the feed store. I was so excited! Little did I know that is was an odd year for selling chickens. This spring I found out that he never has chickens left over like he did last year. I heard that and know it was meant to be. These little chicks are Silver Lace and Golden Lace Wyandotte. Now going on a year old.
So, this is how we began. The guy at the feed store said the max would be 4 chickens and that is what we bought. Little did I know they grow SO fast!!! Within 2 weeks I was scrabbling to find someone who could build a bigger area so they could be let out. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not that handy with a hammer and saw so I put an bid out in Home Ad visor website explaining it was a small job. Several contractor called and made appointments. They would come by and said they would send an e-mail with an estimate, Some did and some didn't bother to respond. OK, I picked one guy and he finished it up in 2 days. Here's a picture of that.
Now, life was good...except I wanted more chickens.
They have lots of activity but nowhere to really forge. They are very curious and love to watch me in the yard but it's just not the same. I wanted more space for them and more chickens for me! As you can see I incorporate not build. My husband's saw horse and ladders have been very useful. I sawed down a limb from the apple tree and put that in during the winter. Hung up this boredom buster and they love that.
Now came the hard part. Trying to find someone to build the edition. This was MUCH harder than the first time. Finally, I found a handyman on Craig's List. We met and I e-mailed him my ideas of what it should look like and he said OK.
I have covered areas and open areas. Last year the water never froze because of the southern exposure. Knowing that I didn't want this covered next to their door. I also wanted it open where the rose bush is. Lots of sunlight and shade where needed. (This rose bush as become the older chicks most favorite place to be.) The guys made a really nice big swing gate and we also have the top covered with hardware cloth now I don't have worry about hawks flying over. Another really nice feature to this coop is the construction is built on to two sides of cinder block. It is so nice inside. Cooler than you'd except in the summer and not so bad in the winter due to southern exposure. The run has plenty of shade and sunlight and very comfortable. As the sun is still shining down hard in the rest of the yard it's pleasantly shady by the run/coop area. It really has a "forge-like" feel to it now and I know they are happy. I read somewhere that chickens are like potato chips, you can't have just one! That is so true. We have our chairs out there so in the evening we can sit and hand feed the meal worm. It also comes in handy when the younger chicks are being chased by the older hens. 2 weeks ago we got 2 more little chicks. When the younger chicks roost at night I have the babies in a dog kennel (during the day they are out in the coop locked up. The kennel has so much sun in that corner so they can climb up there and have fresh clean water and view the excitement of the day without having to dodge and dart like the younger chicks. We now have 2 Silver Lace and 1 Golden Lace Wyandotte. We lost Claire in March. In March we got 4 Cherry Eggers and 1 Easter Egger. In May we got 1 Buff Orpington and 1 Barred Rock chick. As of early July our Cherry Eggers are laying eggs!
I will give one word of advise. The cute coop we started with didn't give us any time to bond. With the new coop in the run, it has stand up room and I can pet the chicks. When I am putting the food away for the night I always have 1 or 2 chicks to hop on my back. All in all it's been a very good year. Thank you Claire, Daisy, Sophia, Bailee, Esther, Penny, Emma, Jasmin, Olivia, Megan and Grace.