Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Deluxe Version

When my father-in-law surprised the boys & I with chicks back in May, I highly doubt my hubby realized all he'd be doing for the chicks he never wanted. This will probably be known as "The Summer of the Chicken" - at least to my poor hubby.

First he spent most of May & June building a chicken tractor to house our new chicks - six Barred Rocks. He thought he was set as did I. Then we decided to get six more chicks sometime in July or August from friends of ours. They were getting 25 new babies but didn't want to keep that many. I talked about "The Big Move" a few weeks ago when the little ones came here.

We had discovered prior to the new chicks arriving that the chicken tractor just wasn't quite big enough for six full grown chicks and far too small for 12! Those began the next chicken building project. I'm surprise my hubby hasn't eaten these birds by now although he does keep hinting at it.

As I've mentioned before, we live in a multi-generational setting. You might have noticed something to that affect way up there in my blog title. On the property is a 100+ year old barn. It's old but sturdy - for the most part. it's typically used just to store the wood we all burn over the course of a Maine winter (16 cords being worked on currently). There is an area known as "the tie-up" that once housed animals back when hubby's grandfather grew up on the old homestead. He'll be 85 next month by-the-way. It is the area that we decided to renovate to hold our chicks.

There were a number of things to overcome before the building project could commence. The first, and largest thing, was to move 85-100 years worth of stuff that was stored there. In fact, we unearthed Grandad's first ice-box in the move. The one he remembers his mother getting when he was a child. Still there. Still in great shape. Still pretty neat in my opinion. We also had to figure out where to put their run so that the snow sliding off the barn roof wouldn't take out the fencing. This will explain why there run is so gosh-darn huge!

Then hubby had to figure out how to build in a 100+ year old barn that needs some shoring up & nothing is straight. Needless to say, it wasn't an easy build but I dare say it might have been a bit of fun. Yes, I did do some wood hauling, cleaning, sweeping, and hammering on this project. There wasn't really anyway hubby was going to let me get out of this one. After all, these are my chicks.

After many weekends working on the project, hubby nailed the last nail just a couple weeks ago. Here is the deluxe version of our chicken coop.

Feed & water cabinet

The food & water area can be accessed from the outside of the coop. This will make it easier in the winter I think to feed & water them. The rope hanging there is attached to a pulley system & is used to raise & lower the door to the run area.

The food & water area looking in from the coop.

I call this the deluxe version due to all the ramps we've added. I think the chicks like them & I know they do use them. We've stood in the door & watched to be sure.

This is standing near the front of the barn looking towards the nesting boxes. They have two nice ramps here - their own switchback - to get up to the nesting boxes or the roosts.

Standing in the door looking towards the roosts. The next photo shows them a bit better.

The two roosts are simply tree branches cut & set in to boards. They like them though. This is where the big chicks spend every night. They head in about 7pm & might eat & drink a bit & then settle down up here.

We have been on "egg-watch" lately but no eggs yet. We can tell they have been sitting in the boxes but no eggs.

The girls literally run to see me (okay, anyone) who comes towards the coop. I typically do bring them treats. I either give them some fruits or veggies (they love grapes!) or throw out some pellets and oyster shell for them on the ground.


Sorry - these are the "little" chicks. They are about 8-9 weeks old now I think. Heading fast to that awkward stage. I'm really hoping we can introduce the two sets of birds soon as it's getting cold here. These silly birds insist on roosting outside the coop area in the run of the chicken tractor. I'm sure it's a good thing the tractor is inside the larger coop area or they may have been lunch for some coyotes recently.

This one is waiting for me to toss some treats. I was pretty sure it was going to peck my camera.

The all black one - I know it's blurry - any guesses as to the breed?

We are all enjoying the chickens here. Yes, even hubby, but he's certainly glad all chicken related building is done.

1 comment:

  1. You have to love anyone that comes running to greet you! {g}


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