Chicken keeping CityGirl-style is something around which many, including my husband, have difficulty wrapping their minds.
“Why can’t we just get a coop from the feed store parking lot?” my husband of a gazillion years asked the woman he should understand fully by this point in our relationship.
Hmmmmmmm. Does he not remember, when on our honeymoon, I promised to go golfing only if he bought me the Lily Pulitzer golf skirt? With me, it is not about golf (or chickens), it is all about the total experience. So… chickens without an EPIC chicken coop?
Which leads me to this: Do you have any idea how much an epic chicken house costs? I ordered plans for one. Besides that the architectural plans were way too complex for these kids with our collective”C” average geometry scores to decipher, the cost was simply too high to be considered reasonable.
See “Plan B”.
Plan B usually arrives when I come to my senses, realizing I can not have everything I want, and that some things are just not within my reach. Dang. I hate Plan B. On the other hand, thankfully, I am extremely persistent and resourceful.
“Do with what you have” is Plan B’s mantra. So, I asked myself, “What do I have?” The answer: An unused tool shed in the middle of the rear acre. My resourcefulness + husband’s carpentry skills (- our collective geometry delinquency) = eventually converting the tool shed’s square opening into a cottage-y curved cedar door. I added some fresh paint and a light fixture, and I was pleased with the results. At this writing, the coop’s interior still needs nesting boxes and roosts, but that will come easily.
Phase two of the chicken complex is the chicken run. We are not looking forward to digging holes in our very rocky mountain-top soil. I will be writing about this process soon.
Bless our hearts.
It was a scary day when I called a local chicken hatchery and actually ordered my chicks! I could not believe a thing which I had dreamed about for over 10 years; a thing which I had talked about ad nauseam ( I know all those around me had been thinking, “For pete’s sake! Order the durn birds, and quit talking about it!”); one of the main reasons I had wanted to sell my city house and head for the country, was about to happen.
No turning back.
At the chicken-purchasing point, I would have 6 weeks to finish the chicken complex.
I ordered six chicks( yada yada yada, if you are not into chickens): one buff orpington, one white rock, one black laced silver wyandotte, one barred rock, two lavender orpingtons, plus the hatchery gave me a bonus buff orpington. All were hoped to be hens. I am suspecting two may be roosters. More on that later.
For six weeks, the chicks have to be in a brooder under a light, kept at a very warm temperature. Their feathers are growing, and, little by little, they are able to keep their bodies warm on their own.
Currently, at week three, I am able to take them into the yard for a 30 minute outing. I carefully wrangle them into a large plastic tub (with lid) which I use to transport them to the grass. A large appliance box shields any wind and keeps them from running away. I plop myself inside the makeshift fortress. As I am on their level, they allow me to gently handle them. One of the sweet buff orpingtons (often called the golden retriever of chickens) has wanted to sit in my lap.
Cleanliness is of the utmost importance as chickens are not the cleanest of creatures. I use sanitizer wipes, wash my hands, and use clorox wipes on door handles and everywhere I touch. I am overly cautious in this department.
Making Friends with My Buff Orpington
This is my chicken keeping journey thus far. There is much more to learn and do in the near future. Thankfully, I planned this “chick season” to come when I had time to devote to their care. They are babies that require lots of attention. I am very much looking forward to life outside the brooder.
I’m kinda “over” this brooder period.
On a more fun note, the chicks love playing “chicken soccer” with acorns. What a hoot (pardon the bird of prey term) to see the chicks play. Next, they had fun eating rolly-pollies (food + toy). And, any bugs sighted within the boxed walls were gone in a flash. One of the chicks, which I feel is second to the lowest on the pecking order thus far, found an acorn and ran quickly back and forth, whining as she ran, because she was afraid the others would steal her prize. What a whiner! She deserves bottom status.
Hilarious to watch their interactions with one another.
I am very much looking forward to getting them grown and settled into the coop complex. Come back to see how we are going to build the world’s most EPIC chicken run, on a Plan B budget, of course.