So back in April I was ready to get back in the chicken business. I had raised as many as 35 laying hens at one time over the past few years, but due to living in “town” at the time, my chicken dream had to be put on hold. Moving out to the country we now have the space for lots of things and knowing how easy maintenance chickens are, not to mention the delicious flavor of the fresh eggs, my husband set to work making my wishes come true.
Now in the past I had built a precious little coop, having no knowledge of building anything, a limited college experience of using power tools. In fact my coop was at the beginning of the urban chicken craze and the local womens magazine even featured my coop in an issue! I tell my husband (I built the coop pre-Michael) that I built it “girl style” – Oh this board is 8ft? Then this wall will be 8ft. It didn’t have a floor, it had a screen door because that was easy to attach hinges too. Nothing fancy. But it WAS turquoise and it DID have a chandelier inside for my chickens. And it kept the critters out.
Fast forward 4 years later, and my husband knocked my socks off with this adorable little schoolhouse coop, just in time for our chicks to arrive. Now this isn’t the latest picture of it because I decided on the spur of the moment to blog this, but I will get more pictures from the update soon.
This coop was made with almost all recycled materials – old fence posts we had from when we tore down a hot tub fence, old metal roofing we had laying around, old posts from my old coop. We bought a few new 2×4’s, wire and hinges. That’s about it.
This little cutie has 6 nesting boxes and will easily house 2 turkeys (somehow they still squeeze in) and probably 20 grown hens if we put up more roosting poles.
Well, we raised 30 birds from baby chicks, including 2 turkeys. My goal was to let them free range once they got several months old, all their feathers and could take care of themselves. We butchered the 3 Cornish Cross hens (that’s a whole nother post). Between the hawks, the raccoons and one little chicken-killing-chihuahua/shitzu mix puppy we are now down to 4 hens – 2 Easter Eggers, 1 Cuckoo Maran and 1 Rhode Island Red, and 2 turkeys, Beyonce’ and Lolita.
We ordered more of the Cornish Cross chicks in October because they are seriously the most beautiful chicken meat I’ve ever seen. I found this great hatchery out of Oregon. They really have the best customer service PLUS they sell chicks year round, which my regular hatchery of choice doesn’t. So Jenks has a new customer for life!
We free range and use feed to supplement with no added hormones or antibiotics. Just good yard bird. After losing several of those chicks to the aggressive turkey pecking through the kennel at them, we are down to 13. Michael decided the babies need their own grow out pen and I can home one day to this little Chicken Condo.
In December we will butcher these babies. I’ll share the info then.