Why Chickens?

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NH, United States
Last year, I bought a chicken coop that was made by someone that I love dearly and decided to raise some chickens. Well... we'll see how this quest develops as Spring fades into Summer and the chicks arrive in early June! Check out my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/fbideas for the most recent videos I've posted!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 20th - How to Clean and Disinfect a Chicken Coop

Since my coop was a "used coop", I have to make sure it's cleaned thoroughly before I put down the new pine shavings and move the Reds into it.  I haven't been able to find too much on YouTube or Google on this feat, so here's MY saga!

Since it was so filthy, I decided to to take some one's advise and use a power washer.  NOT a good idea!  You never know how small an 8x8 shed is until you get inside and turn on a power washer when there's loose chicken poop still there!  I think I'm going to be picking it out of my hair for the next week!

I had my muck boots on, which was good since after I dampened everything I was sloshing around in 1-2 inches of this watery mess!  The roosts were layered with dried poop, so I got a scraper and scrapped them down to bare wood.  I washed the walls and ceilings down with Clorox and water from a pail (not adding drastically to the depth of "Lake Judi Poopy".  The spider webs etc. came off the chicken wire when I was power washing, so at least that was easy.

The wet-dry vac sucked up all of the lake and then I went to work on the linoleum floor with the bleach and brush.  Sucked up all the water again and it was clean!

I then proceeded to sprinkle Perma-Guard Diatomaceous Earth onto the floor and into the nesting boxes in preparation for the pine shavings on Monday.

I still need to "paint" the roosts with a mixture of DE and water, but I'll do that later.  I followed the instructions from www.dirtworks.net which is where I purchased the product.  Here's the link to the instructions, which will open a Word document.

Once I got over the power washer mishap, it actually went pretty smoothly!  Thank God I was working with OLD chicken poop this time so there was no smell.

The girls also rewarded me again with eggs number 3 and 4! It's nice to know that at least for now they're laying every other day.  The size of their eggs are a little smaller than the large ones I buy at Sam's Club.  A few more chickens, and I won't have to be buying them at Sam's any longer :)

May 18th and 19th- How my life changed with a phone call

I was on my way home Wednesday night when I got a call on my cell phone from the local Agway store.  My two pullet hens have arrived 2 1/2 weeks early, and could I pick them up today?  I pleaded for more time and agreed to get them at 8:00AM on Thursday.

So, after getting over the shock of feeling like NOTHING was ready, I shared the news with Bob and got up extra early the next day.

I gathered the two large dog crates that Carl had loaned to me on Sunday, cleaned them well with Clorox to disinfect, and set one up on the back screened in porch.

I had no idea "how big" these girls were going to be, or if they'd be under stress from transport, so I put a vitamin supplement into the water, put out some food in the long feeder tray and some "poultry grit" into a dog bowl.

Next, I got two "cat carriers" out of the basement so I could bring them home, and away I went to Agway.

Yup, glad I brought TWO carriers, they were bigger than I thought they might be!  I picked up another few things that I thought I might need and we headed home.

The first thing they did was climb onto the red feeder tray and dumped out all the food!  OK, not a good choice of container, put in another dog dish!  They ate and drank so I was glad I had things on hand.

Laddy wanted to see what was going on, so I introduced him to "Henrietta" and "Gertrude".  Being an English Setter, he is OBVIOUSLY a bird dog!  Almost immediately after this photo, he decided to flinch at them, to see if he could get them to take flight.

Henrietta took off in full flight, landing on Gertrude with a thud which made her spread her wings in defense and both of them flapping furiously to get away from either Laddy or themselves, proceeded to flip 75% of the pine shavings all over the back porch!

NOW I understand why I wanted that coop ready!  I cleaned up the mess, put the hens back into the cage and went to work for the day, knowing that I wouldn't be able to do anything to get the coop ready until at least Saturday afternoon or late Sunday!

When I got home, I checked to make sure all was well in chickenville, and was pleased when I found TWO eggs!  (There goes the theory that they need to have nesting boxes to perform!)

So, my two little Rhode Island Reds are of laying age and should provide me with two eggs every day or two from now on! 

Life is a beautiful thing!  Especially if I can keep Laddy off the back porch until the girls get moved into their chicken coop.

May 15th - Coop Moving Day!!!

The platform is ready for the coop finally and we're raring to go!  Bob and I got all of the prep work done and the rollers (metal tent support poles) under the shed and then called in reinforcements for help.

It was actually quite an interesting process, filled with self-doubt and wondering if anything (or everything) would go wrong?

In the end, it was done perfectly and the coop is now on the platform ready for final cleaning in preparation for the 20 week old pullets to arrive in June.

This video is about 13 minutes long and was created and posted on YouTube from "mini-clips" during the moving of the coop.  Check it out, it's amazing!  I never should have doubted that my husband and his friends had engineered this correctly :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mother's Day Gift :) Coop Cleaning Day!

Sunday, May 8th, Jodie's family spent the day with us building the frame for the coop and cleaning out the remaining "muck" inside the chicken coop!  It's a crappy job, but someone had to do it :)

Actually, she and I worked together and got it pretty much done while the men worked on the "frame" to go underneath.

The girls played in the yard with Laddy and rode in the tractor bucket when I had to make trips back and forth for supplies.  It was GORGEOUS weather and so much seemed to get done.

Bob and J. Alan engineered the frame and we got it assembled and leveled.  It's a few inches higher than where the coop sits on the trailer, but we'll work through that when we're sliding it across on the "roller" that we're engineering.

May is here!

Spring Time is that marvelous time of year that you realize the faster you go... the behinder you get!

I don't know where the time has gone since my last post, but we're headed towards "Chick Day" faster than my brain can get itself around things!

The first weekend in May, Bob rented a "post hole digger" attachment for the tractor and dug all of the holes for the chicken coop platform and the chicken run. 

The house is 8x8 and the run will be 12x16. with a slight offset for a door entry into the run.  The row of center holes is so we can "pitch" the roof downward from the center and maybe cover it with a solid covering if needed for water runoff. 

We've decided to close underneath the platform for the coop with hardware cloth (wire) so they have a shady place to be and the entire run will be filled with 2-3 inches of sand.  Hopefully it will be easier to clean that way, but since this is my first chicken experiment..... we'll see!