Monday, September 10, 2012

New chicken pen!

 This year for my birthday we built a new chicken pen at our new house. This is the front of one side of the pen.
 This is the back view of the pen, in total length its 24 feet long, we got the lumber from my Papa, my Mom and Dad got the metal and front wire, and I bought the inside wire , paint and locks.
 My Porcelain rooster is enjoying the new space.
 My porcelain hen Silver Mist  also enjoys the new new pen.
 All my hens but one are laying in my Mille Fleur pen.
 My laying hens are also laying well in there new pen.
 My flock of Mille Fleur's enjoying there new pen.
 The other three hens in the corner.
 Now that my other chickens are in another pen my trio got to move into the small coop I was using for chicks.
The new pen after it was finished and before it was painted, it is split into three pens for breeding and so the roosters don't fight.

at the fair

 The last week of August we went to the Lacamas fair to show chickens.  This is Silver Mist and Snowflake my two Porcelains before the show.  I also brought a Mille Fleur a Black Mottled  and a white.
 This is me after with my reserve champion ribbon and my sister with her grand champion ribbon .
This is a photo of my ribbons, six blues a best of breed for my Mille Fleur and my reserve champion ribbon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cheap & Easy Poultry Pens & Nest Boxes

 This is Chicken Alley,my row of chicken housing in the back-yard.We live on 2 1/2 acres, and the poultry pens are at the very back property line. There are no neighbors near these pens, and they are not easily visible from the house, but very practical and cheap.
 For many reasons we have found dog kennels ideal for our poultry. Most of these kennels were acquired free or cheaply from people wanting to get rid of them. The kennels protect our poultry from predators such as dogs, coyotes, cats, raccoons, hawks & eagles, owls, and others. The kennels need to have small hard wire or netting wrapped & secured all around and over the top before the roof is put on. I have lost too many chickens, turkeys, and ducks to raccoons reaching through the kennel to pluck the flesh off the birds at night as they roosted. Basically, my chickens were eaten alive while I slept unaware of the horror going on in my poultry pens. The coons are quick to take advantage of any opportunity to eat chicken, so I make sure my poultry is not within reach of the cunning raccoons by putting everything poultry would perch on out of their reach.

Nest boxes for my chickens are kitty litter boxes. I get a lot of them from garage sales and also when they are on sale. They are not as pretty as the ideal nest boxes, but these are practical, easy to maintain & clean, and the hens love the feel of seclusion the covered litter boxes offer. Here are 2 of my Silkie hens incubating a clutch of bantam frizzled Cochin eggs, due to hatch soon.
Another practical feature of using dog kennels vs. buildings is that kennels can be dis-assembled and moved. A good idea for anyone renting, or not sure where they might want a poultry house. The kennels are easy to clean out too. The roof is galvanized tin nailed to a frame made of 2 X 4's , also making the roof easy to move .
One of my 3 resident Labrador retrievers. She, her sister, and her mother are another reason we keep our poultry confined. I have lost many chickens to my own dogs. Seems I am lacking some sense in that I raise chickens, ducks, and BIRD dogs!But you can make it all work with some thought about how you will house your chickens. 

My husband & I do have a chicken house we use as the nursery for mama poultry and broody hens. We might build another one someday, but I find after more than a decade of raising chickens the kennels have worked the best for us over all.I have lights inside these pens and the chickens do not seem to mind the cold temps if they have a dry place to live. I get eggs all year round from my chickens too. The best part of having these pens in the back-yard, besides the fresh eggs, is the pleasure the chickens give me. Every day I take some time to pull up a lawn chair, and sip a cup of coffee or tea as I watch the chickens.This is a pleasure I think everyone should at least try once. Clucking hens, playing chicks, proud roosters, they all make my heart happy.