Our Backyard Flock

By rubycanyon, Jul 9, 2012 | Updated: Dec 18, 2012 | | |
  1. rubycanyon
    For years I had been wanting to get chickens. I remember my mom bought me a book called "Chickens in Your Backyard" about 10-15 years ago and it quickly became well-loved and read but at the time, chickens just were not a possibility. Finally, this year, while visiting our local feed store to see the chicks with my mom and kids, I said, "now's the time." So the kids and I came up with an elaborate plan to convince my husband that we couldn't live without chickens. When he got home from work, we attacked with our plan fully expecting to be turned down. The surprising answer was, "okay, what do we need to do?" So began our love and obsession with chickens.

    My husband is a carpenter and quickly got to work planning a brooder and a coop/run. We spent days looking at coops online and here on BYC and came up with a design that incorporated features from several different coops.

    The brooder and one of our very curious cats.
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    In between the late snow of spring and spending hours mesmerized by the peepers, we built the girls a permanent home.

    Breaking ground
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    Foundation
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    Framework
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    Finished!
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    With summer blooms
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    The girls have given us hours of entertainment and joy! A little info about each of them and pictures of their growth:

    April, our EE, is the youngest and most adventurous of the flock. She started laying around 21 weeks.
    about 2 weeks
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    Here she is on her favorite roost.
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    Checking out her new ramp (4.5 weeks)
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    At approx 9 weeks
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    14 weeks
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    April came in for a little tv before bed. 20 weeks
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    April's first beautiful egg.
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    Frisbee, our Black Sex Link, was sold as an Ameraucana Bantam. She became very sick at around 1 week old and we were prepared to lose her. She somehow pulled through but has become the bottom of the totem pole. Frisbee layed her first egg at 21 weeks.
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    5.5 weeks
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    8 weeks
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    15 weeks
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    21 weeks and an official layer!
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    Princess Lay-a, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, is our beauty, though she doesn't look it in this pic. :) I think she's the leader of the bunch. She's also the first to lay at exactly 18 weeks.
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    5 weeks
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    My day lilies have become the "cool" hangout. 13 weeks
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    15 weeks with another of our kitties
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    almost 17 weeks, in all her fluffy grumpiness!
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    Our first egg! So proud of Lay-a. She even deposited in the right spot!
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    So cute and perfect!
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    21 weeks
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    Pixie, our Black Australorp has always kind of been under the radar. She's always been a bit of a loner and rather quiet. She's now the noisiest of the flock but still a loner. She was the last to lay at almost 24 weeks. Here she is at about 2 weeks.
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    7 weeks
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    13 weeks, in my lilies again!
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    15 weeks and a true beauty
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    21 weeks
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    Sweetie, our Buff Orpington, was named by my son. We knew BO were known for their wonderful, docile personalities. She has, however, turned out to be anything but sweet! She is constantly picking on the other gals and doesn't care for human contact. She's the biggest of the bunch. Sweetie layed her first egg a day shy of 22 weeks. 1 week
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    5 weeks
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    12 weeks
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    15 weeks
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    21 weeks and getting more social everyday
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    So there's our girls! We are having the time of our lives and just can't believe we waited so long to get them. We can't imagine a life without chickens!




    The Rest of the Story
    In this area, I will provide updates and general pics of our girls as the seasons change and the girls grow. ​


    Just home from the feed store
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    We fell in love with our babies right away
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    Everything tastes better when it's eaten out of a hand
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    Their first outing
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    A visit to the run on a cool spring day
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    unexpected house guests
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    all grown up
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    Summer break is ending and our spoiled birds, who have had free reign of the backyard all summer, will have to be shut in the run while I'm at school all day. We've done a few dry runs this week and they didn't go so well. Let's just say they aren't pleased about being locked up and are not afraid to tell the whole neighborhood. I decided to try to come up with a few ways to keep them occupied while locked in their run (which now seems so small for our grown birds). I bought a couple of suet cages to fill with their favorite fruit and vegetables. It took them three days to even approach the first tester. They wouldn't even come out of their coop into the run because of the terrifying "trap" was there filled with delicious, but most likely deadly, treats. Finally, someone must have braved a nibble because on the third day, the cage was empty! I'm hoping this will cure their boredom until I get home.

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    Update on suet cage: This has been working out really well. I just toss one in the run before I head out to class along with a bit of scratch and they seem to be very happy.

    The chickens have finally experienced their first snow storm, and we were out of town! We came back to about 17 inches and spent the day digging out our driveway, deck and various trails around the backyard for the chickens to get around. It took the girls two days before they would come out of the run and I made sure to be there with the camera when they did.

    As always, April is the first to explore the snow.
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    She coaxes out some friends.
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Comments

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  1. Going Bhonkers
    Wow! Beautiful coop!! And pictures!! Thank you for sharing
  2. msladyhawke
    Beautiful story, and great pics! Thanks for sharing.
  3. Jasperina
    The colors in the pictures are so vivid...great job with the coop. Loved your story and pictures. The chicks are beautiful too!
  4. rubycanyon
    Haha! We actually don't have cable and only use our tv for watching movies or playing the wii. Needless to say, we only watched chicks for the five weeks they were in the brooder!
    And a HUGE thank you to all who have left such nice comments!
  5. pipsypeach
    I LOVE that your incubator is in front of the television!!!!
  6. CluckyCluck
    Ruby, absolutely beautiful. =)
  7. melonball6
    What a beautiful flock and story. My favorite picture is all the girls cuddled on your lap!
  8. kimmie6067
    Wow what a tame bunch of chickies!! I just love the pictures. I don't know why I love chickens so much. It's my first year and I have 1 Golden Capine, 4 EE's, 1 BR, 1 Buff Brahma, I RIR, 2 Golden Comets, 3 Partridge Rock, 1 BB, 3 Icelandic's, 2 Blue Orpingtons, 1 Cuckoo Maren and I am getting this week 4 blue Cuckoo Marans. I wanted a mixed flock and boy did I get it! Your coop is awesome!
    Kimmie
  9. rubycanyon
    SydneyLorpa, we have three cats that really can't be bothered with the chickens. If anything, they are generally afraid and steer clear. The chickens, having grown up with the cats always around, seem to consider them part of the flock and don't think anything of chasing the cats across the yard to make sure they are at the bottom of the pecking order. It's actually quite funny!
  10. chicksbunsdog
    Lovely photos and cute coop!
  11. SydneyLorpa
    How did you train your cat to not interact with the girls on a, let's say, less than friendly basis?
  12. NoZolbitty
    Beautiful flock The pictures with the cat makes me smile. The idea of Chickens and flowers appeals to me.
  13. onedoodle3
    Beautiful girls!! I love the pic of them under the day lilies sleeping. Absolutely beautiful!
  14. samiam172
    I just love your coop. Can you send me measurements or plans? I have one to many roosters and I would like to try and assemble a coop like this close to the house for one of my roosters and a few hens. We are new to the chicken life but we have 11 acres and I love my chickens and I cant bare to part with any of them. I feel as though building a second coop would resolve my duel rooster problem.
  15. clucky3255
    the cutest display of chicken photos i have seen on BYC
  16. rubycanyon
    Thank you for all of the wonderful comments! We love our girls and I'm so glad we can share that with all of you!
  17. ldel4567
    Thanks for sharing your pics. That is a really nice coop. Wonderful !
  18. localcommotion42
    Thumbs up! Beautiful birds!
  19. Egg Lover
    Very beautiful girls!
  20. NiftyChick
  21. ZaksGarden
    Beautiful chickens.
  22. ChickInDelight
    Great shots! Thanks.
  23. ESherrill43
    great chickens!!!!
  24. grandchampchick
    wow! your silver laced wyandotte is sure a beautiful! love the coop!
  25. 3 Golden Girls
    really great coop and love seeing all your chickens pictures... pretty girls. Congrats to April!
  26. Sandra Lee
    Awesome coop! And great looking chickens :)
  27. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your chicken pics for the Picture Of the Week. Thanks for posting your chickens to our "My Chickens" pages! You can find more info about our POW here: BYC POW process.
  28. rubycanyon
    Awwww. We both know you're biased. :)
  29. FLAGJEEP
    Gorgeous girls!
  30. rubycanyon
    Thanks so much! We certainly have been having a blast with them.
  31. Heartforchickens
    I have to say one of the prettiest displays of chickens and family I've come across on BYC, and a beautiful place to raise both. All look so healthy and happy. Best of luck with all.

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