Sal's New England Chick Condo

sals_chicks

Songster
Jan 31, 2022
83
311
126
New England
Just wanted a journaling spot to share photos and updates of our flock. I'm a new chicken mama, living in a quaint New England "city" with my husband and kids. I am also a care-taker to my elderly in-laws (one of whom has alzheimers) and work full time from home, so the flock is a little bit of peace, entertainment, and respite in my day. I like to write, I take an excessive amount of photos, and I enjoy sharing, if you enjoy it too, you are welcome to be here (and share your flock too!)

This is our coop and run: You can read all about our build in this other thread.

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Here is the little flock when they were tiny babes in a brooder in my livingroom, each member of my family got to name one.
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As far as we know, they are (in order L to R): A Wellsummer, Buff Orp, Easter Egger, Lavendar Orp, Ameraucana, Speckled Sussex, and Silver Laced Wyandotte

They are now about 8 weeks old, and living in their coop full time. Brandy, Tammy, and Eloise have proven to be the friendliest of the bunch thus far. They will regularly hop on a lap or shoulder for pats. The others are slowly getting more comfortable with their humans, but will only come close for treats.

A few pictures for now:
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Mr. Sal - the builder of this incredible coop and run, enjoying some time with his ladies. 😂 No hats or shirts were harmed (aka: poo'ed on) on in the making of this photo.

This is how the girls wait for me to let them out in the mornings!
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Little Eloise being a floofy marshmallow chicken in my daughters hand.
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Checkin' out their new coop for the first time!
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Sweet Brandy-girl taking a lap snoozer.
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Coop sweet coop!
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One day I put a lawn chair in the run and sat in there with them... they all came over and snuggled up under me. Mr. Sal called me the Mother Hen. 😂
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And just a few weeks after they moved into the coop, they put themselves to bed, and even roosted... So proud of them!


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Thanks for letting me share, and thanks for all the great advice found here! I'll share updates soon!
 

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Here for a little July update. I am enjoying being a chicken mama SO much, you guys! Every day I just feel deep gratitude for the joy these little nutty birds bring to our family.

The girls are now 12 weeks old, and have grown SO much since the tiny little day old fuzz-butts that were in my livingroom only a few weeks ago. Their combs and wattles are starting to come in little by little, and so far there do not appear to be any roos in the mix.

This has been a month of "firsts" for these girls. We started some supervised "free ranging" in our fenced in back yard. Working on recall with them (using treats) which is going well, but sometimes they are a little distracted when outside the run, once they are consistently coming for treats, they'll get to explore the rest of the property a bit more too. They are so happy to scratch and peck around the yard, it warms my heart!

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We've been introducing them to some of our kitchen scraps as well. They started out VERY skeptical of anything we would bring them, mostly just staring at it and making alert calls to each other (hahaha) but now that they realize anything that arrives in the silver dish is delicious, they tend to devour it voraciously. Faves so far: cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, grapes, and sprouts!

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I bought this cute colorful roo garden decoration from our local garden center, and they all came running over to check him out!

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We added several new places to climb, perch and roost in the run too, including a big fallen branch we dragged up from the back of our yard. They loved to climb and watch us doing yard work, and often take their naps up there too. It's so funny to watch them figure out something new!

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Our Easter Egger, Brandy, seems to be asserting herself as the head-hen, although over-all I haven't seem much fighting for pecking order. Brandy is just, a very lovable jerk. 😂 She will hop on your lap for a snuggle or pats and coo at you lovingly one second, and then promptly try to RIP YOUR FRECKLE OFF YOUR ARM in the next. Proceed with caution.

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Some of the other girls:

Our Speckled Sussex, Matilda, is starting to speckle up nicely, and yes, she always looks this terrified. 😂
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Our Buff Orp, Tammy. She remains the sweetest, friendliest, and most docile of the bunch. She is just a love of a chicken, and I hope she stays that way! ❤️

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Eloise, the Lavendar Orp. She is equally as friendly and sweet, but definitely the clumsiest of the bunch. I often find her sitting in the "swimming pool" on hot hot days.

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Sheryl - the Ameraucana. Part chicken, part lion. She is more skittish, but a savage hunter. She catches bugs straight out of the air, and this morning I saw her eating a frog. 🐸

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Walking up to the run in the evenings when the lanterns are on has quickly become a favorite part of my day.

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We are getting excited to discover our first eggs from these funny ladies in (hopefully) a few more weeks. What a rewarding 3 months it has been so far, and I can imagine it only gets better! Thanks for letting me share!
 
Our first fall with the flock has arrived, and plans for winter are in full swing! I will say, I am a bit anxious about the first winter, and just want to be as prepared as I can for the long, cold, and snowy months that a New England winter will bring. Anxiety aside, the coop is looking cute for fall, and I had to document it!
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The Orpingtons are now the largest of the bunch with their big fluffy butts. Eloise (the Lavendar) continues to be the funniest bird... She is truly like a little puppy, and will race across the yard for treats.

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Speaking of treats, these girls go INSANE for their cantaloupe and grapes!

Inside the coop - we have made a few changes! One was adding some brick around the dust bath area. They LOVE this area. As part of my daily chores, I scoop it out with a kitty litter scoop to make sure it stays clean and dry, and a couple times a month I toss in some First Saturday Lime (the white dust you see in the pic below), and nesting herbs... They go CRAZY for that and typically start dust bathing immediately!

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We added a few more natural branch perches in the run. They LOVE to roost on these during the day.

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Miss Matilda, being an absolute floof on her new perch!

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Planning way ahead to next spring, we have started prepping the area that will become the new outdoor chicken yard! We are not allowed to "free range" where we live, but want them to have some "field" area. They are currently using our fenced in back yard, but the fence is shorter, so they can definitely hop out. The plan for this spot is a taller fenced in area, and maybe a few chunnels to get to some brushy/overgrown areas to scratch around in too. We just finished seeding with a clover mix.

Now a quick photo dump:
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Sunbathing Queens!! 😂

As for eggs - nothing yet!! I am (im)patiently waiting to discover our first egg in the nesting boxes, but despite hitting the 22 week mark last week, nothing yet.

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As winter approaches, I will say - i am going to miss our summer "wine & chickens" evenings outside, but we will find new ways to hang with our flock. The joy these birds bring us continues to be something I am so grateful for, and the routine of caring for them daily has become something I look forward to every day!

Until next time!!
 
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It has been a couple months, so it's time for another update!! This update is all about the EGGS!!!

After weeks of checking an empty nesting box - we had our FIRST egg, on 10/20/22! A beautiful tiny light brown, almost pink egg from our Lavender Orp, Eloise!

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Since then, she has been giving us a beautiful egg almost daily. She even comes running over and dances at the edge of the run when she sees me collecting eggs, as if to say "I DID IT AGAIN MOM!!!" She is pure joy, wrapped in feathers.

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A few weeks later, our crazy bearded "Ameraucana" Sheryl laid her first egg! This gorgeous light olive green number... I put her breed in quotes, because - we really think she might be an easter egger.
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Here is our green egg laying lady:
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Finally, our other Easter Egger... The Easter Egger with the resting bitch face, Brandy - laid us a gorgeous light blue egg just a couple days ago!! Here's the current lineup of eggs... L to R, Brandy, Eloise, Sheryl.

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The other 4 ladies are still hold-outs, and no one else is squatting or showing any signs of being ready. Maybe they will start during the winter months, or maybe they will wait until spring. Either way, having a few that are laying regularly now has been a LOT of fun. I have been enjoying my little egg collection, and my family has been enjoying our fresh, DELICIOUS eggs. It has been a lot of work, but is is the most rewarding meal I've ever had.

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Winterizing the run has been in progress... I created a separate thread about that and am getting quite a bit of negativity about our plan. But, I am trusting my gut, and we are moving forward with our plans. So far, my flock seems happy, healthy, and very content in their living quarters, so I feel like I must be doing something right.

Speaking of the living quarters! We did a BIG cleanout of the run in early November, replacing a good portion of the substrate and just freshening up for the winter months. The ladies got a good amount of leaves from the backyard to scratch through as well, and they were living their best life scratching in them!

As the ladies reached full grown, the single roost bar had been looking a little crowded:
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So we did install the second roost bar, which gave them a little more space to spread out. Although now I am finding that they still all cram together, leaving a LOT of open space for more chickens. Plans are already in place to add a few new friends in the spring...

I suppose this means, chicken math has gotten the best of me... But look at all of this space now:
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Plans for some holiday coop decor is already in progress... photos coming soon! I hope you are all enjoying fall, and that you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
 

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