Monday, April 13, 2009

The Chickens are coming!

Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to format my pictures and text so, rather than being able to give a lead in to the pictures with some explanations, you're just getting all of them in one big group. Plus, they didn't load in the order that I wanted so... oh well, just bear with me as I explain.

When we first looked at this house, I noticed that out in the barn there was quite a bit of wood that looked like it was in good shape and held great potential. So, when we were negotiating deals, we made sure to ask that the wood in the barn be included in the deal. Well, it was and now it is being used to build our chicken coop. I like to refer to it as our "Coop Coup". Well, not really, but what a deal!! The last picture above shows John beginning to take apart the wood. The majority of it was contained in a simple frame-like structure that the plumber, who owned our property two owners ago, used to hold long pipes. It was constructed with lots of 2x4s and held even more. There were also many squares of plywood in the lean-to portion of the barn. All completely salvagable wood. It just had to be taken apart. John started doing it one Sunday afternoon (with the "help" of some neighborhood boys) but could only get so far. My dad, upon hearing of our plans, couldn't resist and offered to come over for several days and help us with the coop. He dismantled the rest of the frame and spent the week putting into place the coop plan that John had designed.
The basic idea is that it will be a moveable coop. Rather than building a permanent house that includes a permanent yard for the chickens, our coop, as well as the yard, will be moved every week or two. The reasoning for this is that it keeps the chickens from destroying one part of our property because of being relegated to only one area. The floor of our coop will be open and covered in hardware cloth. This will allow the chicken poop to fall "through the floor" and on to the ground. When we move the coop, we will incorporate the poop that they leave behind into our compost pile and into the ground itself, thus enriching the soil. This concept has made designing a coop big enough for all of our chickens that can still be moved around quite the challenge. Our plan is to make the sides and top of the coop metal, which will help tremendously with the weight issue. So far, all we have had to buy are nails and two wheels. The rest has been salvaged.
The picture of the boys shows them sitting in what will be our nesting boxes.

Our chicks were supposed to arrive last week but they have been delayed because of the weather. We are now looking for them to arrive on April 30. I have their brooding area all set up in our garage and I'll post pictures of that when the chicks arrive.

And, yes, we have ordered roosters, in addition to our laying hens. The reason for this is two-fold. We do want to "harvest" some of the roosters for eating and that should make for quite a big barbeque this summer. How, exactly, we are going to harvest them is still to be determined. Secondly, August "can't wait to be woken up by a rooster!" I'll let you know how he feels about that in a couple of months.

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