Backyard chickens are exciting, super fun and entertaining. We have loved having chickens in our backyard for almost the past decade. Over the years, we have gone through a few chicken coops. Does that surprise you? Sadly, this happens to quite a few folks due to things like chicken math, wish lists, what’s working, what’s not working and quality of the construction. It’s kind of the norm for most chicken keepers, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to keeping chickens, the chicken coop is the most costly part of the hobby. From building your own chicken coop to purchasing one ready to assemble or even assembled online, here are some tips and common pitfalls to avoid and help you to get your design right the first time.
Fall has arrived at Tilly’s Nest. We never really had a moment to warm up after spring. Cape Cod had a cool and wet summer. We were all waiting for beach weather and it really didn’t show up. This happened a few years ago too. I guess things are cyclical. This past week cooler temperatures have ushered in. It seems to be the circle of life. We said goodbye to a dear Uncle who was battling an illness for a long time and now the leaves are keeping us occupied on the weekends. It’s a labor of love. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with the beauty of fall and the daunting amount of leaves that seem to return as soon as they are raked up from the gardens.
Chickens love to be outside. They get a thrill from free-ranging in the yard and garden. They love to explore, scratch in the grass and hide under large plantings for afternoon naps. However, sometimes it is not feasible for the chicken to be allowed to roam freely where they want to go. The reasons are many, including when you are not home or on vacation, poor weather conditions, and nearby predators. It is always a good idea to have a safe run enclosure for the chickens attached to their chicken coop even if they don’t use it very often. When considering design, one of the most important things that you want to think about is how to predator proof the run. Here are some of the things I did when I designed my chicken coop and run.
This past weekend, I had a wonderful time traveling to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I had the pleasure of finally meeting a fabulous friend of Tilly’s Nest. She is a very active follower of Tilly’s Nest and I have had the pleasure of engaging with her on social media for a few years now. It was so much fun to share chicken stories, a hug and talk about one another’s adventures together in person. Our in-person connection was instant. It was awesome! However, one thing has been on my mind during traveling these past few days. I’ve had lots of time to think, as my plane rides were delayed both getting there and back. The ride home was delayed for almost 4 hours due to heavy fog in Boston. I did a lot of people watching and a lot of thinking about my family, my flock and life in general. One of the biggest things for me, was really getting out of my little niche on Cape Cod and really seeing a big part of the world and how it is continually changing. I admit, I have a love hate kinda relationship with this thing called social media, but I wonder it it is making our society anti-social.
This week I really felt obligated to write this post. If you are like me, you want the very best for your chickens. We hate when our chickens are ailing or have something wrong, like a mite or lice infestation and always like to fix things asap. Like you, I certainly don’t like problems to linger or affect my flock or cause harm. However, sometimes in trying to do good and help our chickens, we can actually end up doing harm. Sometimes we can’t even see the harm that we are doing. Sometimes we can even be potentially harming ourselves without even realizing it. This is what is potentially happening in your flock when you use Frontline. Here’s why.
We’ve all been there, enticed to take a peek into the peeping bins and tubs of day old chicks at the feed stores. They are so irresistible and sweet. Watching them is so entertaining and fun. I could spend hours observing their antics and interactions. One of the toughest decisions that I usually have is how do I chose which ones to take home? Selecting chicks can sometimes be an overwhelming process. Picking the healthiest and strong chicks is not difficult if you know what to ask and what to look for.
This past spring, one of my newest sponsors, Omlet, sent me one of their chicken fencing kits. Having moved to a new place with more predators and more areas for the girls to get into trouble, they quickly realized that they had a solution to one of my very essential problems. Despite supervising their free-ranging, I was yearning for a way to keep my girls contained in a single area while I could continue to work in the yard nearby. My problem was solved when their fencing arrived on my doorstep.
Have you ever seen this? Do your chickens seem to lay all their eggs in one nesting box? Well, my chickens certainly do. My flock has this strange habit but it turns out that I am not alone. Other chicken keeper’s chickens do this as well.
I knew about these eggs with double yolks. I had seen plenty of chicken keepers sharing double yolk eggs with their audiences. It has been seven years since starting out keeping chickens and we still were waiting for one. Then this past week, one of the chickens laid a huge egg. It was about the size of two eggs and took up my entire hand. I thought surely, this must be a double yolk egg. At first, I didn’t want to crack it open. I let it sit on the counter with its sister eggs, so that I could admire it when I was in the kitchen. It was so large and pretty and I know that the chicken that laid it must have had quite to the effort to pass it. Then last night, the kids wanted eggs for dinner. It was time.
As many of you know, late last summer I moved to a new home. The thought of starting the gardens over was overwhelming, But luckily for me, one of the things that I loved most about the new place was the potential that I saw in the landscape. I wasn’t going to have to start from scratch again, but I certainly knew that I would need to make it my own. It just needed a bit of garden restyling. You can imagine my surprise at our final walkthrough when I discovered that the previous owners stopped watering as soon as we signed the purchase and sale agreement. When we moved in everything, and I mean everything, had dried up. Plants were dead and the earth was a giant dust bowl. I prayed that everything was just dormant and would return come spring.