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.
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.
Quietly this spring we did something crazy. We found a lovely house that spoke to us on the way to one of our favorite beaches. It was up for sale and with a huge leap of faith we made an offer and it was accepted. We hadn’t even sold our original house, and yes- I admit- I did have a few moments of what did we do? because I loved the current house that I was in so much. I also realized that I was going to have to move bees and moving chickens would be even more challenging because I wanted to take the coop with me. I thought that I would share the process with you and let you know for those of you who might be moving, you might just be able to take your flock and coop with you. Here’s what we did.
People often ask me how I have clean chicken eggs when I harvest them. Today I’m sharing my secrets to picking clean eggs from the nesting boxes. As the egg is laid, the hen puts a protective clear wet coating on the egg called a bloom. The bloom seals the outer shell of the egg keeping air out, along with other harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When eggs are washed the bloom is removed. That ultimately decreases the “shelf-life” of the egg. Harvesting clean eggs, allows you to keep the bloom intact and there is no need to wash your eggs. Here are my secrets to clean chicken eggs naturally.
When the baby chicks were little, I could not believe the amount of dust that they generated. I had no idea why and initially chalked it up to the brooder’s bedding. However, I noticed that as they grew in size so did the dust. I was still using the same amount of pine shavings in the brooder for bedding, so why more dust? It surely could not be solely from the pine shavings and I was right. It was from the chickens themselves. The majority of the dust was coming from them.
Living in a place where we experience all four seasons including what can be a sometimes very snowy winter, I have had to come up with some pretty ingenious ways to care for chickens during weeks on end of nasty weather. One such way that I have done so this year is with this adjustable chicken run tarp.
During the winter, it is very important to the flock’s health that the chicken coop remains dry. Humidity in the coop is one of the number one reasons that chickens become ill during the winter. Humidity can quickly become an issue in quite a few ways. Therefore, controlling humidity in the coop should be a winter goal for all chicken owners.
We have twelve chickens and I have tried many things over the years. Using a rotating litter method is what works for us. We have snow in the winter, and average days of rain. We have humidity in the summer and we live in a wooded area. The run is covered but open on all sides.One of the first things that you try and educate yourself about when you keep chickens is waste management. As with keeping any animal, it is important to properly manage their waste to keep your animals healthy, prevent disease, prevent rodents, eliminate odor, prevent flies and so forth. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask what techniques I use in my chicken coop. This topic always seems to be a source of great debate. So, here is what I do.
Today I thought that I’d share another peek at the chicken coop. The landscaping is beginning to fill in and the edible chicken garden is a very popular place. I picked up two plastic garden stools from Home Goods that the kids enjoy sitting on both inside and outside of the chicken run. Wood chips fill in the garden path ways. I find they are much easier to rake back into place after the chickens scratch around in them.