Tag Archives: Backyard Chickens

Life.. Embrace the Mess that YOU are

Life.  That is what happens to us.  So many ups and downs and twists and turns.. and before you know it, months later, you realize that your life is just a mess.   A crazy, beautiful, busy, sometimes rough, slightly annoyed, work-addicted, colorful life- and I would not trade it for the world.

It’s been a while since I was able to write..  about life, about our crazy chickens, or the newest dog addition, or my kids that seem to have grown like weeds in the past 3 short months.  So with that, here is a little update on our favorite Rosy and Pearl!  They finally finished their second bout of molting..  oh how I have missed our daily eggs!  About 1 month ago, Pearl started to lay her eggs again– YAY!!   On the other hand, Rosy has stopped laying hers.  I do not think we have gotten an egg from her since before Thanksgiving.  My husband believes she is just done…  I still am holding out hope.  With that, has begun talks of getting a bigger coop in the works so we can have more hens!  Our girls like to free range a lot (then again, which hens don’t?!)  Now that our days are longer, they get to stay outside longer for their free-range time.  They enjoy playing chase with the newest pup, Norvi, as well as play in the big dogs water bowl.  They also like to pick oranges off of the orange tree and loving the alfalfa that we start to grow for them!

 

Spring is one of my favorite times!  It is filled with fun events in our city, a perfect time for spending family time outside and also time with friends…  crawfish boils are my families’ favorite!  Spring is also the time work is busiest– requires a lot of traveling which I could not be more thankful for.   Getting to see and explore new areas, regardless of the tragic reasons I am there, brings so much awareness.  I learn.. i learn how to deal with people, with life events, with different cultures, all the while, implementing those things learned back at home.  I am a very goal oriented person..  If I want something, I will figure out a way to achieve it.  Some see that as a threat.  I see it as attacking my goals head on and achieving what I want to make ME a better person- despite what anyone else thinks.  I have learned to become more free. Free by taking ME time.  Not letting stupid, insecure, and overly mean spirited people filled with hate, take me down.  Learning that the problem lies with that person or persons and they can figure it out.  Learning to apologize to those that deserve it and learning to love the ones that CHOOSE to be in my or my families’ lives.   But most importantly, knowing when to walk away and say I. AM. DONE.   The focus is on my kids. My husband. My animals. My friends. My work. AND God.  Life is:  Beautiful. Tragic. Happy. Filled with love.  and above all, I CHOOSE ME.

 

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!  😉

full-coop

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!

Our Top 10 Favorite Chicken Treats

There are so many awesome Ideas for treats and the chickens really love them!  Of course, we have picked our top treat- the ones that our girls love the most.  It is important to do your research and find out what is healthy and unhealthy for your girls (and boys if you have them). I did a lot of research on the good vs. the bad with chickens.  For Instance, nothing that has pits in them or something they can choke on.  The best list of good foods vs. bad foods that I have found is here: https://itsasunshineyday.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/dont-feed-your-chickens-this-a-printable/.

I chose last spring to go ahead and grow certain things that have a dual purpose to our chickens.  For instance, I grew parsley.  Rosy loves to eat the parsley when she free ranges in our backyard.  Parsley is a great source for enhancing egg laying and different types of Vitamins. It is also great to spread in nesting boxes and their coop. Lavender is another favorite of mine-  also used to in nesting boxes/coop to keep insects away- a type of repellant.  For a great guide on the best herbs to grow that your chicks will love, visit  http://www.hobbyfarms.com/5-herbs-your-chickens-will-love-4/

With that, here are my girls top favorite treats

10-favorite-chicken-treats

 

 

  1. Happy Hen Treat Mealworms(Ugh Gross!) Yes, this is my girls #1 snack food.  100% natural dried worms.
  2. Wild Bird Seeds–  For some reason, Rosy and Pearl love to go and eat all the bird food that has dropped on the ground.
  3. Watermelon – Perfect during the summer.  The girls would eat a whole one in no time at all if I let them.
  4. Hawaiian Break – They get this every three months.  I have a family member who is in charge of communion at our church every three months.  It is said that any left overs from communion are to go back to earth in which our bread comes from, therefore the chickens, every week during that third month, will get whatever is leftover.
  5. Vegetables – The girls like most of our leftovers- their favorite seems to be broccoli.  At least if my kids won’t eat it, they will!
  6. HotCakes – This is a treat that we found at Tractor Supply-  It was a log of seeds, worms, and healthy things that are natural foraging.
  7. Treat Blocks – These are square blocks that are made up of seeds and dried worms.  Great entertainment to keep the chicks busy!
  8. Leftover Foods – Often when we have leftovers (if it is on the approved list for chickens) , we give them whatever we ate for that night or week.
  9.  Pumpkins – Did you know chickens love pumpkins?!  Well, my Pearl does at least.  Don’t just throw away those pumpkins after Halloween- give them to your chicks!
  10.  Insects/worms/ and whatever else they find in the yardYES! we let our girls free range as much as possible- usually this means locking the dogs in their kennels for a couple hours, but it is the most beneficial source of food and way of living for chickens.

All of the treats are incorporated into the girls daily meal which always includes a scoop or two of laying pellets.  Let’s not forget WATER!  Water is the most important thing for your chickens- they should have fresh water everyday to keep them laying. When they do not get enough, you will see them skip days laying eggs.  I think it is important to balance your chickens to give them the best possible. When you have happy and stress free chickens, you have more eggs.. and frankly, a happy mom to go with it!