FINALLY!

After six weeks of overseeing an indoor “chick nursery” we finally got the little biddies moved into their hen house last Tuesday. As you can see, having them make our back porch, a.k.a. “mud room”, their stomping grounds, really started messing with our heads and shoulders.

My dear husband has put so much sweat equity into this new chicken abode…and I’ve learned that the phrase, “It’s like pulling teeth…” really should have been, “It’s like pulling nails…”

You see, I had this brilliant idea. Why not move a lean-to attachment we had–part of a barn that is caving in on our property–across the way to a better location and fix it up into a chicken house? It would be quite roomy, I reasoned, and purty cute after I got after it with a paint brush. What do you think, honey?

My man spent an entire weekend rolling this building up onto old utility poles (we just happened to have a pile, how handy!) and then inching it across our property to its destination. Inching, being the key word. Many times he grunted that he should have taken the building apart, moved the pieces, and then rebuilt it rather than fighting it so hard with chains…pulling it with his truck, having to place new poles constantly to keep the building rolling on rather than rolling off.

Then, once that was done, the real challenges began. Long story short, we ended up taking out the entire floor and rebuilding the joists. While hubby shored up the old floor beams, I pulled nails out in the hot sun so we could reuse the original floor boards. When we finally got the floor reinstalled, we had to build two doors and make chicken wire grids to fit into the two windows to keep predators out. After hanging their light and feed pan from the ceiling beams, we transported our flock and turned them loose! They love their 11’x19′ home…you should see them spread their wings and take off at a dead run! Way better than their previous orange box homes from Aldis!

I’m really thrilled that all 25 chicks have made it a week out there w/out killing each other. Literally. I have five younger Aracaunas and the twenty bigger Buff Orpingtons (gold colored) and Bard Rocks (black) are really concerned about establishing pecking order. Those poor lil’ chicks are having to duck and run to survive.

But they’re happy to be out of their cardboard boxes! And I’m flipping cartwheels to have them out of the house! Bet you’d like to see a picture of that!

14 thoughts on “FINALLY!”

  1. Ah, I just love comments! :)

    Hee…Beck, so far they are nice to us…but they’ve had 24/7 exposure to us oohing and ahhing over their scrawny little selves, hourly visits by 3 yo (Mommy, can I please hold a chick?–over and over and over again…), and lots of cousins and friends bringing their kids over to get in on the “experience”… Now that they are in the chicken house, we see them once a day. They’ll soon resent us. πŸ˜‰ But seriously, when I researched which ones to get I made sure to get birds touted for “gentleness” as well as ones that are hardy in winter, good layers of big white eggs! (Except the Aracaunas–they lay big eggs but in several hues!)

    Andrea, MIn and I agree that you must be meaning that eggs would be welcome…rather than chickens, lol! I’m sure I will have extra but I never see ya! We need to remedy that…I have some DVDs to return to you soon. Something to look forward to…yes, I never thought I’d be fond of chickens either…but there is something to starting them from day old chicks. Top Secret: I sing a silly chick song to them every time I go in the hen house. I figure, at least they’ll know it’s that friendly wacko coming again…

    MIn, it was a ton of work while they were on the porch…mostly because they fast outgrew those boxes, I had three of those boxes going at the same time, and the chicks drove me crazy scratching their litter into their food and water…I was constantly changing it out. We have all their feed/water elevated in the chicken house, so I don’t need to do anything now, except give them fresh water and make sure they don’t run out of feed. As soon as we have a chicken run around their house, the girls or I will have to go out and let them out every morning and pen them back up at night.

    Jessica, that’s my nightmare. I’ve heard so many people say that it’s once you move them outside that the trials start…with all the predators that want chicken dinners. How are they getting in your chicken house? I’m taking notes… I sure hope you figure out a way to keep them out. I was telling dh we need to string a hot wire on the outside of our coop once we get it added onto the building. Maybe even bury the chicken wire a little into the ground so something trying to dig under it would get discouraged fast.

    Amy, I was told 25 birds might net us a dozen or more eggs a day. Good layers lay an egg a day…so probably 2 dozen! I may have to peddle to my neighbors!

  2. Thanks, Jen! Now dh is working on the outdoor coop…he’s being quite scientific about it, giving them two coops, so we can let them eat one down, while the other side grows back and rejuvenates. I can’t wait till it’s done! So far, no predators have dared show their faces! Here’s hoping!

  3. Oh I wish I was your neighbor…I would love to buy farmfresh eggs from you! Especially those Aracauna eggs…they sound so beautiful! I saw in the paper the other day Aracauna chicks for sale $20.00 each and was begging DH for us to get just one (since we are in town and there really isn’t much chance of us being able to have more than 1) but we would have to totally “chick-proof” our yard. I would love having pretty blue eggs each day! Sounds like it’s easier going now that you have the henhouse though! Sounds like fun!!!

  4. Oh it is SO much easier going! This morning I tackled our back porch, where they’d been staying (I’d swept it, etc the day we got them out, but it needed scrubbed with Chlorox)…had to quit, shower and go to VBS…but I jumped back into it when we returned home. It looks and smells SO much better. I’m glad we have a chicken house and a people house. My chicks were $1.80 each! I heard that the country store we bought ours from sold 15,000 chicks. And we’re talking a SMALL rural community! That’s pretty good business!

    Seriously, though, my Aracaunas are smaller than the others, and are getting picked on quite a bit. I’m trying feeding them in a different end of the chicken house, hoping they at least get a chance at food that way. Grow, little ones, grow! Catch up to those older chicks and show ’em up! πŸ˜‰

  5. I went to the farmers market today. They were selling a dozen eggs for $3.50. High way robbery. You should come up and sell you eggs for three dollars and everyone would think they are getting a great deal. Then you could come up and have lunch at my house.

    Andrea’s last blog post..Homemade Pizza

  6. Whoa, that’s way more than I was thinking I could get for mine! I’ll probably end up giving most of mine away, though making a little on the side would sure be nice to help pay for their feed. It’s about $20 a month at this stage. I’m sure it will be more as they grow. I like your idea… πŸ˜‰ Thanks for telling me what they’re charging…yikes!

  7. I called my mom who gets farm fresh eggs all the time. She says she pays $1.25, that is much more reasonable. I have to say I was kind of disappointed with the farmers market. I had hoped cutting out the middle men I would get a fair price on produce, but everything was really expensive. They were selling 1/2 dozen cookies for $2.25. If I hand a mixer I think I would try my hand at baking something.

    Andrea’s last blog post..Homemade Pizza

  8. You need a mixer, girl! I can’t imagine life without one, those hand-held ones are worthless. At least mine is. I hope you are able to get a Kitchen Aid some day. That is making quite a good profit on the cookies…maybe you’d pay for your mixer that way?! πŸ˜‰ We have a neighbor that sells her eggs for 1.50, which is better than store-bought. I guess the farmer’s market people are making the most of farm-fresh/organic, etc. We’d really make a killing if we had organic dairy cows and could sell the milk. My nutritionist says that she has to buy her organic milk from a secret source, because the demand is so high for it, the sellers can be selective. We’re looking for a place to buy raw milk ourselves.

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