I was thrilled to discover that my new friend, Alicia, keeps chickens. For me, it instantly adds depth to a friendship when I find out that we share common interests. I first met Alicia this past Winter when I took the beekeeping class. I loved that we immediately had so many things to talk about and stories to share. This past weekend, we went together to pick-up our bees, but first, I had to meet her girls.
Alicia keeps two coops, one for the “mean girls” and one for the “nice girls”. The mean girls have very dominant personalities and for a chicken, it takes quite a bit to keep up with this group. The nice girls are gentle and never worry about being dominant. They are sweet to all newcomers, including hens that Alicia helps to rescue. During my visit, both flocks were friendly. They enjoyed me petting them and I could have easily picked up most of her hens.
|Mean girls’ residence|
|Nice girls’ residence|
The two coops are separated from each other by lovely gardens. The nice girls’ coop was Alicia’s original coop that was built as a birthday present for her by her boyfriend. Soon enough, her love for chickens began and her flock outgrew this smaller coop. Alicia and her boyfriend constructed the new coop closer to the house. Working with salvaged lumber and windows, the new coop was born with mostly recycled materials. However, as new members were added to the flock, it was clear that some sweet girls would do better in a home of their own. So, she split the flock and they are now happy living separate lives.
Beautiful raised garden beds and lovely seating areas surround the coop making it a lovely spot to sit in the dappled sunshine. As you prepare to enter the coop, a sweet painting greets you. It’s hard not to smile.
Immediately, I was impressed with all of the beautiful natural light that filled the coop. The entire back side of the coop’s roof is made of clear corrugated roofing. Alicia tells me that often she finds her girls napping inside the coop just basking in the sunshine. It is also great on Winter days. The hens love finding a bit of sunshine when snow is outside on the ground. Inside the coop, on the wall next to the nesting boxes, the hens have access to small containers of grit and oyster shells. Their food and water is out in the run.
The nesting boxes are cleverly designed. They have hinges and locks that twist allowing the entire front of the boxes, roosts and all to lift up for easy cleaning. Circular entry holes were cut into the fronts of the boxes, to prevent the hens from kicking out the shavings. The girls were anxious to show me their run. I soon learned why.
Outside in the run was the most magnificent jungle gym for chickens that I had ever laid my eyes on! The hens love to play on it all day and it helps them to get high up into the rafters where they enjoy roosting during the day.
Alicia’s flock is beautiful and is made up of an assortment of colorful breeds. She even has a Silver Laced Wyandotte that is probably Dottie Speckle’s sister. You can see her in the background of the second photo below.
Soon enough, it was time to meet the nice girls.
Four sweet hens live at the top of the hill in the nice coop. They have all the same luxuries in life as the mean girls including a miniature chicken jungle gym. We were immediately greeted by her sweet Buff Orpington. Inside the coop we met her broody girl, who according to Alicia, is always sitting on eggs. We discovered four underneath her when she got up for some meal worm treats.
It was amazing as the energy in this coop up top the hill was very different. It was laid back as opposed to the high energy that I felt in the other coop. Personalities seemed well matched in both her flocks. I love how she was able to create two distinctly different flocks and chicken coops all in the same yard. This is a great solution to problems that most chicken keepers encounter.
Of course, I could not do this Tour de Coop without sharing you Alicia’s beehives. Here they are sectioned off in between the two coops on the side of her yard.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest