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Chickens!!!

by Tara Anderson (Mama2josh)

Coop.large
The girls' coop, built by Dustin
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take a look at these cute ladies!

My chickens are finally laying! Hooray! Here are some pics of the girls and their coop/tractor. My boyfriend Dustin built it for me last summer, and I think he did a fine job. I painted it to match the house, although now I kinda wish I had painted it barn red. But it works well and the girls love it. This weekend Dustin will be adding nesting boxes to the side, now that they are needed. :-) The entire tractor measures 4' wide by 8' long. The coop end is just about 5' tall, and the tractor end is 2' tall. The coop itself is 3' tall at the peak, 4' wide and 3' deep (inside dimensions). The roof is sloped down to about 18" tall (inside coop dimensions)at the back door and is shingled with cedar shingles. The entire back of the coop portion swings down to allow easy access for feeding, cleaning and egg gathering. There is a triangular door built into the side where the chicken wire slopes down from the roof to the tractor in front of the coop, and a door built into the front of the tractor, which we will be able to open once we have a run built for them. We used chicken wire for the top of the tractor, and hardware cloth around the sides and ends of the tractor. We left the chicken wire detached from the front of the coop at the top, so I can pull it open to dump in kitchen scraps.

Coop.detailLouise_and_lucille.detailLucretia.detail

The corners of the coop are set on pavers to prevent the wood from rotting as it is untreated. This leaves about a 1.5-2" gap under the coop, but I haven't had any problems with anything trying to get in, so I'm not too worried about it. And those fat ladies are not going to slip under it! lol

Luellen.detailLouise.detail

We have a total of four chickens, 2 Araucanas, a Welsummer, and a Cuckoo Maran. The Araucanas are mixed breed, I'm sure, as they have tails, but they produce beautiful blue-green eggs. The Welsummer and Cuckoo Maran produce brown eggs. When we got the chickens, we had a dog named Lou, so my son named the chickens Louise (white & bronze) Lucille (white & silver) Lucretia (black) and Luellen (the Welsummer).  We had another Araucana chick named Luann, but she didn't make it. We had to rehome Lou, but our new dog is named Blue. Are you sensing a theme here? lol On the other hand, our hamster is named Dr. Evil (he bites) and the geckos are as yet unnamed. If you can come up with any Lou-ish names, we're open to ideas!

Luellen_laid_an_egg.detailEggs.detail

Tags

chickens, coop

comments

You are so lucky! Looks like Dustin did an awesome job building this thing! Those blue-green eggs are super cool looking... do they taste different than regular eggs? <br/> <br/>I have a friend named Lou--- I call him Loopy which is a good nickname :)
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FigTree commented on 02/19/10
Well, they taste a whole lot better than store bought eggs! :-)
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Mama2josh replied: on 02/19/10
I love the chicken tractor idea. We don&#x27;t have any but I have several friends that do and I am always thinking about it. I have some maintenance Q&#x27;s for you. Are the chickens smelly? How much time to you spend on/with them - cleaning, feeding etc. per day? I&#x27;d like an idea of how much of a time expense it is to have them. <br/> <br/>As far as Lou names...my youngest is nicknamed Luli or Lu because she couldn&#x27;t get the direction of her J&#x27;s right when she was little. (Her name is Julia and she is dyslexic as are her sister and father but we didn&#x27;t know it when we nicknamed her that!) But at anyrate, the nickname is cute like she is and it stuck! <br/> <br/>Thanks for the photos of the chickens - I would love to hear more about them!
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gardengirl commented on 02/19/10
I LOVE having chickens! They are easily the lowest maintenance members of our household. lol I don't find the chickens smelly. As long as you keep their coop clean, that is. I can smell the poo when I am right next to the coop, but other than that I don't smell them. And once the coop is cleaned, I don't smell it at all for a week or so. Now that they are in a permanent location (the tractor is built so you can move it around the yard if you want) we are going to put some straw on the ground to make it easier to clean out. As far as time goes, I spend probably 5 minutes a day on them. It only takes a couple minutes to check for eggs. Couple more minutes if I need to fill their food, grit and/or oyster shells. And a couple minutes for talking and petting. :-) I only change their water every few days this time of year(they have a large self-waterer), although I do dump any gunk out of the tray on the bottom daily. In the summer I have to refill the waterer daily. I fill the feeder once a week or so. We clean the whole coop about once a month and it takes about 15 minutes. Every couple days I take my kitchen scraps out and dump them in the tractor - chickens will eat anything. Really. So, you can get by on about 5 minutes a day, and an additional 15 minutes a month. And chickens are pretty forgiving - if you miss collecting eggs for a day they really don't mind. In the summer I put a roasting pan half full of water in their tractor for them to splash in, and it also serves as back up if their waterer runs dry while I'm away. I hope this helps. I have found chickens to be great pets - they're friendly, they'll "talk" to you, and they are sooo soft. Every time I walk out to the coop they come running up to the "fence" and start clucking at me. And they make a wide variety of noises. Plus you get fresh eggs!
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Mama2josh replied: on 02/19/10
Awesome! Thanks for the info! We love fresh eggs and love the idea of chickens...and I hope we have them at some point in the future!
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gardengirl replied: on 02/20/10

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