Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Hen's got a new home!

So, I have not been as diligent in my blogging here as I would have liked.  It is an art, a skill, and mostly a habit.  One that I will need to cultivate.  

So first step, report on where the homestead is at.  As someone once said, a picture is worth a thousand words:

 The old coop now standing empty....
 While the old coop was still functional, it wasn't as easy to clean as I originally envisioned when I first built it.  Leaning over to clean out the corners, was messy and hard on the back.  That really wasn't the motivation that got me to make the new coop though...keep reading.
 The new coop was in the spot where a tired old rhododendron that was dying was.  I pulled the rhode, and cleared the site.  The coop is 6' deep by 4' wide.  And tall enough that I can walk into!  The pen is 6' wide by 6' deep.  Over all the chickens have a bit more room than they did with the 2 level coop before.
 This is a view of the interior, looking through the door to the nesting shelf.  Rather than boxes, I am going with a shelf, as 3 birds can nest in the same spot as two boxes, and the birds aren't that picky.  There are two roosts.  The birds will all sleep on the top roost, but can use the lower roost to jump up to the top one.  Their access door is just under the nesting shelf.
 The girls in their new pen, exploring!
 Here you can see the Chicken door, open during the day and will be closed at night.
 I've got this thing for Dutch Doors, so I put one on my coop.
 The coop sits between the fence, and one of the storage sheds.
Last view of the sheds and the new coop.

So really what prompted this move?  It's not really complicated.  First of all, the old coop sits over a sprinkler system we have, but haven't been able to use.  But mostly, it's part of the learning curve.  Think about it, we are never perfect the first time we try something.  We practice and we get better and better.  In homesteading, much of what we do is trial and error.  The first coop was good, but not great.  Do I think this one is Great; well right now YEP, but probably later on I will see things that need changing or alterations.  I already know I need to build a new watering system as the old one was tailored to the old coop.  But being a homesteader...I will reuse much of that system in the new one.  Much of this new coop is made from reusing materials for earlier projects that just didn't pan out the way I planned.

Now for those of you who can count, you may go over one of the photos and see only 5 birds.  One bird my White Rock (the only white egg layer I have ever owned) started eating eggs!  But only the eggs from my Golden Sex Link (the large dark brown eggs.) I did a bunch of research on this, it wasn't due to calcium deficiency, as the layer feed has oyster shell crushed into it, and I supplement by giving powdered egg shell back into the feed.  More so, if it were a deficiency, she wouldn't be targeting only one egg.  This was behavioral.  Now, being a behavioral psychologist, I never suspected I'd take a chicken as a client....needless to say it wasn't successful (a joke from my schooling days; How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb....just one, but the lightbulb has to want to change) needless to say, the chicken didn't want to change.  So now the chicken resides in my freezer (nothing goes to waste on the homestead.)  

Daily we are getting 4 - 5 eggs, still, but we have had a warm winter so far (January day temps have been 48 - 60 F.) We froze a bunch of the eggs earlier expecting a drop-off, that hasn't happened yet.  So looks like neighbors will be getting eggs here shortly!

I hope the chickens take to the new coop; tonight their first night in, I had to push them into the coop, and then put them up on the roosts.   I just went and checked and they are all perched on the top roost so far so good.

Good night all!