Table of Contents
The Water System
Rain City Chickens
A project... a desire... long time coming is drawing ever closer. I've been talking about this for months. Friends have copied me and now people ask, "Oh? Are you trying to be like So & So?" Denyingly, I retort, "Noooo! This was my idea all along. They copied me!" One such friend who jumped the gun and has two (slightly roasted because the heat lamp was too close) chickens, is insisting that I use recycled materials. This is a huge challenge for me as I have always been one who saves, then purchases. Goodwill is great, but I prefer to go out and buy new. Trouble is, as my mama would say, "Son, you have champagne tastes with only a beer budget!" This was always a funny comment coming from my beloved, conservative, southern baptist mama. Now that I am older, the cliché makes more sense.
As of Monday, April 26, 2010... my hours and weeks and months of searching Craigslist, looking for the right materials, trying desperately to nab the goods before someone else does (how is it that items posted, instantly disappear?!), hoping people (is anyone out there?) would someday respond, praying that it would be close to home and would fit in my 4runner.... Monday. Monday Monday... (can you hear the Mama's & the Papa's?) Monday was good to me. A fella two miles away had just rebuilt his fence and wanted someone to haul implicitly everything away. Good and bad cedar boards needed to go. Cedar?! Wehoo! I remembered in the shower that one of my friends brought his truck home from spring break. "Thank you, Lord, for your provision." I was all kinds of excited with the anticipation that I may very well be on my way.
Two short trips later, dodging rain drops, I had a nice pile of cedar planks. Of course, I had to fill my friends truck up with gas as a thank you. Really liking Costco like I do, I fueled up in the industrial part of town; my alterior motive was hoping to score a couple pallets. I brought a friend with me and treated him to lunch, (who doesn't love Costco pizza?!) and better than I hoped, we found a pallet. Not just any pallet, but one probably used to ship some machinery. This thing is 5'x7' and super heavy. And, it kinda didn't fit in the truck...but rested nicely on top of the bed. Yeah, I could've been "that guy" but we prayed that we wouldn't make the 5 o'clock news and for once, I drove cautiously.
Feast your eyes on my very first chicken photo. The treasure...the booty. (or is it bounty?) I will post more photos along the way. The above mentioned roasted chicken friend has also been hounding me to just go out and get the chicks and figure the coop out later. "If you build it, they will come" plays repeated in my mind. However, I did call the Grange today to check out what they had. I'm very close to having chicks... and getting more excited. In case I forget to say thank you to all the folks here in BYC, thank you for the inspiration and advice and thoughts.
This Friday, I scored a sweet door. I'm holding off on pictures, but I can tell ya that it's solid fir and weighs a ton. It's waaaay too nice for a chicken coop. In picking up the door, I also realized that I have no idea how this thing is going to look. Friends have asked...but in trying to use the salvage material, you kinda take what you can get and keep your fingers crossed that it'll turn out okay. This is hard for me... but I'm trying to leave it in Hands greater than mine. I also realized that I don't think I've ever constructed anything before. Will pride get in the way??? Or will I share the experience with friends who have various talents?
Lots of excitement today. Although I couldn't find a friend to come with me, I made the trek out to the Grange, and purchased my chickens. The gal there was super nice as she looked into my glazed eyes swirling with too much information. Patiently, we gathered supplies. Laughed about the challenges of salvage construction and how her husband always goes the extra mile to make things look nice and new. A few minutes later, I was outside trying to figure out which peeps to bring home. Funny enough, I didn't get that squishy gushy "Awww... their soo cute" girlie excitement... but I felt like... Like the first time I went somewhere without my parents permission. I'm a big boy and can make decisions without consultation and permission. That kind of excitement/anticipation is hard to come by.
The fella helping me pick peeps was equally as nice as the gal inside. They appeared to be out of Buff Orpingtons, which for some reason, I wanted. He thought for a second, then told me about a curious one that was rejected earlier. He said, "We were loading them in the box, and he just looked up at me...I thought it was strange and laughed it off. The buyer however, watched intently, and declined it perceiving something wrong with it's neck and the way it moved. You can look at it if you want..." Why not? Smiling, I followed him through the maze of inventory to a box with a few little gray banties and one buff. "Oh! I like it. May I have it?" First selection complete. A chicken with special needs? Made me smile and want to help. It does look at me funny, but why not give 'er a chance? I'm working on this in my life too...probably will name her Grace. Second, I knew I wanted to try for blue eggs, insert one Americauna. Third, a black Australorp. Fourth....? Do I go with a forth? What if one is a rooster? The sales guy points out that the Maran lays red eggs. Whaaat?! Let's give it try. Yup. Sorry city limits. I have four.
Once home, I scrambled to pull a box together. Put some newspaper through the shredder. (Side note-Although tempted to by wood chips/sawdust...I declined, sticking with the recycle theme...however, my plan of making a water out of a 2 liter bottle and Sobe bottle... well... I caved and bought tried and true. I need to save my creativeness for the coop.) I plugged in the light, filled a box with shredded paper, brought in a couple red bricks to elevate the food and water, held the peeps for a second then put them in. Hummm... I remembered reading that some had to show them where their food and water was. One by one, I picked them up and tried to dip their beak in. Easier said than done. But one by one, they figured it out along with the food. They were definitely thirsty. And BOY! Do they eat! I mixed 1/2 and 1/2 Starter and Scratch. It's been a couple hours and they've all managed to poop in my hand or lap. They are very lively. I've no idea which is which aside from the Buff, aka Grace. They stretch their wings, and legs, and run around... So far so good (aside with taking turns pecking each other in the eyes...weird).
It cracks me up how they look up at me when I talk to them. Watching them drink, I'm convinced the water nipples are the way to go.
I think I've come up with names. The little ladies (please no roosters) are named, Grace, Ruth, Esther and Kevin. The narcoleptic blondie is Grace, Ruth is the bigger black one, Esther is the little black one (she's got black freckles), and Kevin (for giggles and laughs and in applause of the movie UP). They are all getting along nicely and consuming lots of food and water. I'll have to get individual photos soon. Today, I scored a sweet free deal on these walls that are already made...although, I might have to do some weather proofing for the outside at least. The design is coming into focus. I think the nipples are on their way. Oh. I also got a pipe for their feeder a couple days ago. Things are going well.
Received supplies to construct the nipple waterers in the mail today. Excited to work on those tomorrow. Ruth is trying to fly, jumping and leaping about... stirring up the rest. Grace and Kevin are affectionate girls. Kevin looks a little skinny. Esthers mood depends on the day...but they are all sweet. Little down feathers have started to float about. I've also kinda thrown out the word about construction this weekend. I'd like to have a barn raising party and bbq. It'd really be fun to share the experience with friends.
Made the nipple waterer system recommended by Uncle Neil. Check out the details. I made a different pages to help consolidate endless scrolling. The links are above. I've also been putting feelers out on gathering tools and help for assembling the coop. It might be more than I can handle....
A little discouraged about just "how" I'm going to build a coop. Made a scale model today...called another friend for advice, left msg. On the upside, a friend posted this on my facebook wall. Seattle is coming a long way and making the headlines. Urban chickens is the cool new trendy thing... Here's the link for Fox News. Urban Chickens
May 30 (Happy Memorial Day)
More brainstorming with a bud about a hen house. Still feeling a bit discouraged about how to utilize all my found items. The weather this upcoming week does not look promising. The whole country was in the 80-90's today... we barely broke 60. The sun did break, giving me a chance to take the girls on a field trip outside and chance to refresh their living quarters. More and more neighbors are taking notice of the girls as the flutter and chase each other about. I tossed 'em a worm, Esther (of course) was the first to nab it... but the others gave chase. Ultimately, Ruth won out and after a couple pecks, swallowed the thing whole! She also gave sun bathing a try, but Kevin's got it mastered. She lays on the sidewalk and today, burrowed herself a little hole in the shade of my rose bush. I'm so glad they are alive and growing.
Stay tuned for more... Updated!!! See The Process page.
You're thoughts are appreciated.