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.
The first temporary home where day old chicks will live until they are six weeks old is called a brooder. A brooder can be created from practically anything as long as you keep your baby chicks safe and draft free. From rubbermaid tubs, cardboard boxes, metal feed troughs or even prefabbed brooders, the possibilities are endless. If you only order a few chicks, you can start out with a smaller brooder and increase the brooder’s size as they grow. This chick brooder DIY project is super simple. The brooder should include a heat source, a feeder filled with chick feed, a waterer with marbles added for safety, and fresh kiln dried pine shavings.
Winter is almost here. In some areas of the country, snow has already begun to fall. I already am craving warmer weather and I bet my flock is too! During the winter, I try to keep them busy, happy and preoccupied with winter boredom busters. Chickens can easily get bored, especially with a few feet of snow on the ground. Unless I shovel out extensive pathways, they refrain from wandering. Bored chickens can easily get into mischief such as egg eating and feather picking.
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.
This past weekend, I turned another year older and got to enjoy the most delicious ice cream cake from Four Seas Ice Cream. They are a family favorite and historic ice cream shop around the corner from our home. It was filled with coconut and vanilla ice cream with a chocolate fudge center. Her are a few more chicken birthday cakes from over the years.