Tag / coop tours

Chickens Coop Tours

Tour de Coop: Dana on St. John, US Virgin Islands

St. John had many wild chickens roaming everywhere.  After a few days on the island, it soon became clear to me that most likely not many people kept backyard chickens.  However, a girl can try.  I searched everywhere I could trying to discover and share a Tour de Coop.  I watched as homes whizzed by as we were driving, hoping to catch a glimpse of a small coop tucked away in someone’s yard.  I did not have any luck until my husband and I decided to go horseback riding.

We met Dana and her menagerie of wonderful animals including donkeys, horses, goats, cats and, finally, chickens.  As Dana saddled up our horses for our hour and a half scenic tour, I could not help but interact with her chickens.  Some she raised as chicks and some just happened to show up.  She has a few roosters and one in particular that likes to follow her around. For the most part, they are skittish, like those in the wild.


Dana allows them to roam free on her property.  She has a coop and nesting boxes in a small corral with a couple of goats.  The chickens know that there is a supply of fresh food and water here and that keeps her flock nearby.  The chickens and the goats actually get along pretty well, but the goats have been known to interrupt egg laying.  Some of her hens prefer to lay eggs outside of the boxes and coop area.  Dana has found clutches of eggs here and there.  On the day of our visit, she spotted a tiny white egg laid on the top of her roof!

Coop area with nesting boxes

It was heartwarming to meet this woman with such a wonderful heart and compassion for animals.  Some of her animals are rehabilitating from injuries.  Some cannot return to the wild.  A few of her horses are in their retirement and spend their days interacting with other horses and taking visitors to view amazing vistas and island scenery.  We had a wonderful time.  The horseback riding was fantastic and I encourage you to visit Dana and her animals if you are ever visiting St. John.  You can read more about Dana, her company and her animals here.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Coop Tours

Tour de Coop: Taylor Bray Farm, Yarmouthport

Cape Cod is rich with history.  Our country was founded here in Massachusetts. In fact, did you know that prior to landing at Plymouth Rock, the settlers on the Mayflower first landed on Cape Cod?  They were chased away by local Indians who inhabited that area.  Now First Encounter Beach can be visited in its natural beauty. Today, we visited another piece of working history, Taylor Bray Farm in Yarmouthport, Massachusetts.

In 1639, the farm was founded by Richard “of the rock” Taylor while the land was still part of Plymouth colony. It remained in the Taylor family for many years until 1896, when the Bray brothers, who both worked on the farm for the Taylors, purchased the property.  In 1987 the farm was purchased by the town.  It is now run by the collaborative efforts of several preservation groups.  Today, the smaller 22 acre property is a working farm.  It has donkeys, goats, cattle, sheep and chickens.

 

As we arrived, we were lucky to discover that the morning chores were still being performed.  The staff was cleaning the chicken coop and we were able to find out more about the flock and its history.  The coop was updated in 2006.  It is a very simple design.

 

The coop is divided into two halves.  The Southern portion acts as the “coop”, complete with food, roosts and nesting boxes.  The Northern half features a breezeway housing extra feed and supplies while allowing movement through the building.  This breezeway is closed off in the evenings with doors on both sides.

 

The flock consists of Polish Hens, Dominos, Buff Orpingtons, Wyandottes and Light Brahmas.  The flock is older.  The farm never culls it hens; rather, they are allowed to live out their natural lives.  One of the Light Brahmas is even blind.  She has no eyes.  Upon questioning, no one knew what had happened to her.   They could only tell me that she was thriving and had been like that for years.  I found her against the side of the run, gently walking around in the sandy floor.  I felt sad for her.  She, on the other hand, appeared happy and unfazed.

 

The farm’s rooster showed up one day out of nowhere. He was taken in off the street.  Apparently, one of the farm’s neighbors spotted it and lured it across the street with bread crumbs.  Once the rooster took one look at the girls, it was love at first sight. He was not willing to leave his new found loves.   He has been a permanent fixture ever since.

The girls typically lay 2 to 8 eggs per day.  With about 20 hens, many of them are at least over 5 years of age.  Last Spring they had an issue with mites, thus many of the girls are missing feathers.  These should grow back after they molt this Fall.

As we continued talking about the Bray Farm flock, the gentleman asked me if I had nice chickens.  I replied yes.  “You must consider them pets then”, he replied.  “These chickens here are not pets.”  If you ask me, I would beg to differ regarding his opinion about this flock.  I believe that even though they are part of a working farm, they are receiving a wonderful gift from the farm.  They are not depended upon for meat or eggs.  They are allowed to live without providing anything in return.  This made me happy.

It was nice to meet the flock on this overcast misty day.   The best thing about chickens is that the weather doesn’t dampen their spirits.  I also learned again about perseverance.  The little blind girl certainly didn’t let her blindness stop her from living a wonderful life on the farm.

To see all of the Tour de Coops featured on Tilly’s Nest click here.

This post is linked up to Homestead Revival’s Homestead Barn Hop.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Coop Tours

Tour de Coop: MaryAnn in Mashpee

 

Peering through this honeysuckle covered garden gate and trellis you would never expect to find nestled into the backyard a beautiful chicken coop with four lovely Buff Orpingtons; Little Bit, Red, Pretty Girl and Guy (pronounced Gee).
MaryAnn has been an avid gardener for many years.  A few years ago, she started researching keeping backyard chickens.  With the help of her extremely handy husband, her dreams became a reality two years ago.

As we meandered through the garden on beautifully laid brick pathways, the girls soon took notice of me.  MaryAnn lead the way and all of her girls were anxious to meet me and have their pictures taken.

 

Once MaryAnn had settled on a design, she ordered her beautiful handcrafted coop from the Amish.  It was delivered on a large flatbed truck.  Once in place, her husband got to work crafting the beautiful run.  Safety was a number one priority.  Painstakingly, they even covered the bottom of the run with deeply buried hardware cloth.  The run is filled with sand, perches and her hencam.  MaryAnn chronicles the girls’ adventures and during daylight hours you can always “tune in” and watch the latest happenings.  MaryAnn is also working on adding a hencam inside of the coop as well.  I hope she does, as this would be a real gem for us fellow chicken watchers.  You can tune in and meet MaryAnn’s girls here.
Inside the coop, there are three nesting boxes.  MaryAnn prefers to use hay and pine shavings within the coop.  She keeps fresh water both inside and out.  During cold New England Winters, she keeps a waterer perched upon a heater.  She also tidies up the coop daily.  Her girls are nicely spoiled!

 

 

Initially, I had met three of the four ladies.  The fourth, we found in the nesting box.  Her name is Guy.  MaryAnn pointed out that Guy has a floppy comb.  However, it was only a matter of time before she came out to join the rest.

You see, MaryAnn has a beautiful gardens surrounding the coop.  Within her lovely fruit, herb and vegetable gardens, she grows wonderful chicken friendly foods.  She has planted nasturtium around the coop and even has a lovely grapevine creeping up the one of the run’s supports onto the roof.  Her attention to details is what makes this garden incredibly beautiful.  Much thought has gone into her wonderful backyard retreat.

Guy ventured out when she heard MaryAnn go into the garden and pull some beet greens.  The chickens went crazy for these!  As she crouched on the ground, her girls’ beaks were busily pecking away at this fresh garden treat.

 

My visit with MaryAnn and the girls seemed to pass quickly. Our planned hour together seemed to be up in no time though we wasted no time in catching up.  We exchanged tips and suggestions with one another.  We talked about the girls’ personalities and about expanding flocks.  I was even able to hold one of her girls!

Grapevine reaching for the sky
The coopcam
I had an incredibly lovely morning today.  Now that the weather has finally warmed up, I am hoping to continue sharing chicken coops on and around Cape Cod with you.  Thank you MaryAnn for allowing me to meet your feathered family today.  I had a wonderful time.
If you would like to see my first Tour De Coop click here.

 

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Coop Tours

Tour de Coops

I am always fascinated when I visit other peoples’ coops and chicken families.  I learn something new everytime I visit.  Sometimes my learning has to do with set-up and other times tricks to make your life easier.  I also get to learn about breeds of chickens and issues that have required problemsolving.  I love it! I love to see other peoples’ flocks and hear about their experiences.

Thus, I have decided to share with you tours of chicken coops around Cape Cod.  Through interviews and photos, it is my goal to share backyard chicken raising with our audience.  Please stay tuned for our first feature coming soon.  Who knows, we might even be able to start an annual Tour de Coops on Cape Cod.  These occur all over the country in the Spring.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

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