I had the pleasure of attending Terry’s Chicken Workshop this past weekend. Part of that workshop included a wonderful and detailed tour of her chicken coops and gardens.
Terry has two chicken coops. One houses her older flock of girls. These include a Buff Orpington, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, Barred Rocks, Sex-Link Hybrids, Polish Crested Hens, an Australorp and tamed white Bantams. One of these Bantams, Coco, has the stage name, Tillie. When Terry does book readings, of Tillie Lays An Egg, Tillie always makes the trip and visit too. Most of these girls would be considered elderly for chickens. Some of these girls no longer lay eggs, but are well loved and enjoy spending their days being spoiled by Terry and her family.
This coop, although built 8 or so years ago, seems like it has been there for years. It is beautifully shingled and has lots of antique salvaged working windows. These windows allow fresh air and plenty of sunshine to enter the coop. Terry stresses that sunlight is important in keeping a healthy flock. It helps to keep the coops dry. Moisture harbors disease causing pathogens. This coop also features a working cupola and predator proof cement floors. However, the most unique thing about this coop to me, is that she keeps a beautiful bunny in the run with the chickens. Her name is Candy.
A few years ago, Terry had a wonderful New England style barn built on site at Little Pond Farm. Half of this barn houses her two Nigerian Dwarf male goats, Pip and Caper. The other half is dedicated to her new mixed backyard flock that she lovingly calls, the gems. Each new girl, has been given a name corresponding to a different gem stone. These younger girls, will soon lay eggs.
Every attention to detail has been made. I must also share that like me, Terry stresses keeping a clean coop and run. This helps to keep down disease. “Even the cobwebs should be dusted out”, Terry told those that attended her workshop. She also is diligent about keeping the fly population down. In fact, due to her weekly replacement of hanging fly sticky tape, we did not see one fly.
Terry prefers to use old antique wooden ladders as roosts. These are perfect for the girls. As the ladder is leaned against the wall, various roosting options at various heights are created. It took her about 3 days to train the gems to sleep on the roosts. Now, at night, they are sleeping on the roosts, figuring out who wants to sleep next to whom. The other fantastic thing about the ladders, is that they are removable. During bright sunny days, Terry places them out in the yard, in the sunlight, to help kill off any harmful organisms and unwanted pests.
She is also a huge advocate of backyard composting. Rather simply, she keeps open composters in both chicken runs. The chickens love to climb inside and scratch at the compost pile with their feet. The chickens do the work for Terry. When the compost bin is full, she spreads the partially cured compost out in the area where she and her family enjoy growing pumpkins. There it cures for a bit and is ready to use when it is time to plant her garden and pumpkins.
I felt privileged to be allowed into Terry’s wonderful sanctuary. This is a place where the animals live surrounded by much love, warmth and appreciation.
To view the animals in action or for more information, please visit Terry’s site.
This post is linked up to Homestead Revival’s Homestead Barn Hop.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest