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Come on girls, it’s time to lay!

These past couple weeks have been cold. Cold and Miserable.   My girls are not happy.  I’ve supplied them tons of hay to keep warm but still… NO EGGS.  I know its that time of year, the coldest time of the year.  Where I am from, we do not experience many cold days- that is what I love about the South.  I can definitely tell my girls are bored and becoming a bit stir crazy.

With that, I want to know some of your favorite boredom busters!!  We have things that keep our girls happy but I am looking for new ideas to try out to know out their boredom.  Rosy and Pearl’s favorite thing is running around (attempting to fly) in the backyard.  They especially love the sandbox under the kids’ play ground.  Did you know that chickens eat just about anything?!  Of course, there are those foods that are bad for them- but my girls sure love eating the dog’s leftovers.  I caught Rosy one day in their dog bowl eating the scraps while Pearl jumped in their enormous water bowl and took herself a bath!!

With the cold weather, and the lack of laying, I have been reading up on the use of a heat lamp in their coop.  Although several people seem to swear by it, I am too nervous that they would die!  See, our coop is not that big.  We only have two girls as it is.  I get it helps them to lay more often because it gets dark to early right now.. but it still makes me second guess that heat lamp.  Have any of you tried a heat lamp?  In my opinion, heat lamps for chickens are equivalent to space heaters for humans.. and we ALL know stories about space heaters setting fires– decisions decisions.  I think for now, I will stick to the lack of eggs. Besides, I still have enough to last for a while longer 😉   If my girls are careful…  they may end up like this- HA HA HA!



So tell me, what do your chickens like to do during the winter?  Comment below!


Keeping Your Flock Happy

Keeping our girls happy is the easiest.. and yet sometimes the most difficult thing to do.  When doing my research to look into how to raise chickens- both pros and cons- I had a ton of questions.  Sure, I wanted to learn the basics.. What they needed to eat, where to get the best coop or a type of coop that fit our needs for where we live, how often do you have to clean out their coop, do they free range and if so, will they get along with our dogs?  OH MY!  These are literally just only a few questions that I came up with.  Can you imagine the million other questions that have come about since?!

So through this year of trial and error, I have come up with a list of things that make OUR girls happy.  And trust me, what makes Rosy happy sure as hell doesn’t make Pearl happy.

img_24181. Always, Always, Always make sure there is plenty of water.  We have two hens right now… and we also have TWO water pails for them.  Pearl is a bit possessive.  She likes to hog all of the water.  I realized that their egg laying went down and my initial thought was, is there enough water?  I added a second water pail and now I get a productive TWO eggs/day.

2. Free Range!!   Rosy, our Rhode Island Red, loves to free range.  She explores our entire yard– loves checking out the plants (yes, I planted herbs for her to eat).  Every now and then she steals some food from the dog bowls if she is lucky enough to have some left in their from the morning.  Pearl on the other hand, would rather stay in her coop and eat the laying pellets we supply them.  Every once in a while, I see her venture out of the coop, but always stays right by.  Pearl is our newest hen and is still very hesitant to trying new things.

3. Treats!!  These are so important.  There are so many things that chickens can have.. and that chickens LOVE!  Our girls favorites are meal-worms and pumpkins!  Check out my earlier post of  our list of favorite treats.  Halloween has come and gone.. what are you to do with your left over pumpkins?!  My solution- cut them in half and let the chickens go wild!


4. FOOD.  Yes, even though our girls free range, sometimes they just prefer their normal food.  We feed the girls laying pellets mixed in with grains pretty much daily.  I fill up their feeder and they eat whenever they want.  I always have it offered to them.  Since I have made it available 24/7, I noticed their egg production is more steady and consistent.

5. BOREDOM BUSTERS!!!  This is one that I still am working with.  Always trying to come up with new things that keep the chickens happy.  Watermelons were a favorite in the summer time.  They would eat at one watermelon for hours.  I found a fabulous list of boredom busters that you should definitely check out!  Our coop is pretty small so I am looking forward to renovating our shed to make a bigger one and try out some of those for the girls!   Our favorite boredom buster is the chicken blocks!   Pearl and Rosy could go at those for days!

6. Attention!  Rosy loves attention.  She prefers it. She follows me around the yard, takes dust baths in the kids play sand under their playground, and likes to peck at the lemons on our lemon tree.  She is a curious little hen.  Pearl, well she hasn’t quite come out of her feathers yet. She is very timid, not so curious, and likes to be left alone.  Rosy loves a good game of chase with my son while Pearl is petrified of hearing the shrieks and laughs that are in the yard next to her.  With a little attention, I see that our hens are much better and more fun to be around.

And there you go!  The top things that make our chickens happy.   Do you know or have another idea that make your chickens happy?! Leave them in the comment section!   


Dreamy Coops

When starting out, I kept trying to figure out what kind of coop I wanted.  Was this something that I wanted long term? Could I handle raising chickens? Most importantly, would I even be good at it?  With the million questions I had in my head, my husband and I decided that before we really went all out, maybe we just needed to buy a small coop and try it out.  See if this whole backyard chicken thing was even for us.  Well, I am a year in, and let me just tell you… It is definitely for us.  I love having fresh eggs. I love that my kids are learning responsibility.  Yes, I make my 2 and 4 year old collect the eggs, feed and water them, and even clean out their coop. (In my son’s word… ew mom that is just plain gross!) I love that the chickens feel at home and part of our family.

So we settled for a little coop from tractor supply.  No biggie- just something that would hold 3 or 4 chickens.  Well let me tell you- this coop gets maybe a 1 star rating from me.  Its great if you only want two chickens.  But this chicken lover of a mom wants many more and it simply cannot be done in the coop we have.  So hence starts my hunt.  My hunt for how to make a bigger and better chicken coop.  Along the way, I have come across some pretty awesome coops.  But by far, I have a favorite. It is simply, sweet, homey, and well, its also my best friends coop she has in her backyard.  Her husband surprised her one day with it.  I knew he had skills- but I didn’t know he had these skills!  😉


Isn’t this dreamy?!  Whats even cooler is that this coop is a replica of their home!  Here is her home—  seriously- how awesome is that? (PS- You should totally follow her blog here !!)12670899_10104026798655178_7810228814216810337_n

Now let’s take a closer look at this coop..  Some things that I consider a MUST HAVE for anyone thinking about raising chickens.

  1. Space!  You need enough space to have desired amount of chickens that you want.  Chickens like to flock together–  I recommend 2-4 starting out.  You want to have enough space inside just as much as you need for the outside.  If you notice in the first picture, they provide enough room enclosed outside for the chickens.  Although they free range a majority of the time, this still gives them room and space for when they are enclosed.
  2. A roosting bar! Although my girls hate their roosting bars- it is a must.  Chickens roost- it is what they do. Whether you have hens or roosters, more than likely at some point they will want to roost on something.  You will notice that there are two levels of roosting bars here.  Variety is good!  I have even seen people who have bigger coops that put in older ladders– such a nifty idea!insideMeet D’s girls, Des and Penny
  3. Nesting Boxes!  Our coop has one box.  Since I only have two, Rosy and Pearl share pretty easily.  This coop has great (and spacious) nesting boxes–  her 4 girls have no problems sharing.  Sometime you will even find that when free ranging, chickens will frequent a spot they like most and lay their egg.  Always take notice to what time of day your girls like to lay and if you are finding less eggs– look in other places.nesting-spaceThese nesting boxes were built into the door of the coop.
  4. Bedding!  Ah, yes, bedding.  The infamous questions of “Which bedding is the best to use?”  Well friends, to see my top choices and what I think is best, click here !  I have covered the top three most popular bedding choices that I know of— what has worked for me and my girls, may not work for you and yours- it’s all trial and error!close-up


Well, there you have it.  The most dreamy coop I have seen (in person) thus far.  What are some of your most dreamy coops? Stay tuned in the near future–  my husband and I will be doing a coop renovation out of our shed.  I am always looking for cute ideas and decor- If you have any, leave them in the comments!