Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sandboxes have never been so much fun!

Do you remember when you were last in a sandbox, playing?  I certainly don’t…  And, I don’t think I ever had so much fun as the girls are having.
14_0320 Sandbox 2The box is constructed out of 2x4s on edge and is approximately 2′ x 2′.  All 8 chickens are trying to fit in the box all at once.  It works if they all stand up.  But, of course, they want to lay and roll, and flap their wings.
A few of them went to check out their new DIY feeders, which left only 4 of the girls in the box.  OMG, what pleasure!!  They lowered themselves into the sand, and rolled over on their backs, just like our Jacks, and squirmed to get the sand all over.  As I am typing this, wondering about the motivation, I think it might feel good on all those new feathers coming in, maybe breaking up the quills.
It only lasted a little while.  The other girls returned and wanted their turn.  The returning chicks walked on top of the girls laying down, scratched at girls, and then lowered themselves and scooted around to claim their spot.
Such ecstasy in a few inches of contained sand.  I think we are going to have to build a new box at the other end of the run…

1st girl in the nesting box…

14_0314 chicken nest boxMiss Charlotte was the smart girl who figured out how to get up into the lower nesting boxes first!
She sat up there, above the others, so smug, for quite a while!
Others have since followed her lead.  We are waiting to see who will make it up to the higher nesting boxes first…  Any bets??

Moving Day!!

14_0312 chicken run front (north side)The run is done!!
The girls have moved in!!
The dogs are going crazy…

As we moved the girls from the half-way house to their new home one-by-one, they were panicked, until they saw one of the other girls waiting.
Punky went first.  She may be the smallest of the flock, but she has been nicknamed “Punky the Brave.”
14_0312 PunkyShe was the first to let me scratch her neck, sit on my knee, and always is right there waiting for the fresh food and water.  She’s also the one who plays tag with the other chickens.

14_0312 IsabellaIsabella, our other White Leghorn, was next. Look at that pose! What a beauty!
14_0312 Maggie MaeMaggie Mae let me capture her next.  She is reserved and a little shy, but not as much as Morgan.
Next were Buffy and then Sandy, the Buff Orpingtons.
14_0312 Buffy14_0312 Sandy


Then, Charlotte and Gracie, the Americaunas.  Charlotte has the dark stripe going from her beak through her eye and back to her neck.  Gracie’s head is mottled all over.
14_0312 Charlotte14_0312 Gracie



And finally, Morgan…
14_0312 Morgan




All together in their new home, exploring… one corner, at least.
14_0312 girls in their run 2

Day 3 accomplishment

Well, we had a few hours yesterday 14_0310 Chicken runafternoon to make a little more headway…
The trenching around the bottom edge is complete.  The bottom section of the welded wire is almost complete.  And one end has the corrugated metal attached.
14_0310 Chicken run pier 1


We have a good stretch of time today to finish the rest and move the girls in.
They are so ready to be out of their half-way house and literally spread their wings out!
The next project after this is to build new feeders – Check out these no spill chicken feeders!!

Day 2 Accomplishment

Well, we had high hopes that we would finish the chicken run on day two and be able to move the girls into their new digs!  But, securing the welded wire was quite the challenge.  We started with the roof pieces around the trees, knowing those sections would take the most time and thought.  We have roof rats in our area and wanted to make sure there were no holes around the tree trunk and branches that would allow a roof rat to slide in and devour the chicken food.
14_0309 Chicken run tree detail 4We placed the wire, cutting around the tree as close as possible without allowing the wire to cut into or scratch up the tree.  Then we came in with single strand wire and wove around the tree to close the gaps the cutting made.
Steel wool
The roof rats are pretty large and I am hoping that they will not be able to squeeze through.  We also thought about filling the holes with steel wool for a further deterrent.
So, here’s what we accomplished yesterday…
14_0309 Chicken run 1The roof is complete.  The top portion of all of the walls, except the one end is started.  Once these wall pieces are secured, we will dig narrow trenches along the bottom of each wall so the bottom pieces of the welded wire can be buried below grade.  After the welded wire is finished on the bottom sections, we will place 26″ wide corrugated metal (horizontal) in the same trench in front of the welded wire to deter the dogs even further.  Look for more progress soon!


Day 1 Accomplishment

As promised, here’s pictures of what we accomplished yesterday…
The overall dimensions of the run are 32′ long x 7′ deep x 6′ high (in the back) or 5′-6″ high (in the front).  The front posts are 8′ on center.  And the horizontal bridging is approximately 3′ down from the header.
14_0308 Chicken run compositeToday, we construct the door and secure the wire over the framing.
14_0308 Chicken run 10The roof framing is 2 x 4s 36″ on center.  We used this spacing because the width of the wire is 36″.  The most challenging aspect of the roof will be cutting the wire so it can go around the tree trunks without any holes for possible breach.

Building the new digs

We initially purchased the coop from our local ranch store.  14_0308 Chicken run 4Today was spent building the new run for the chickens. As you can see from the pictures on the side, we have many dogs that would just love to eat fresh chicken!  So, the run MUST be dog proof.  We also have coyotes in our neighborhood plus a pair of Great Horned owls.
The run was designed to go around the citrus trees and the coop.  The first thing we did was to secure the header on the back concrete block wall.  Then we dug holes to place the post piers. 14_0308 Chicken run 1 The posts are 4×4 Douglas Fir.  The string in the picture helped us to keep all the piers in a straight line.  After placing two of the five piers, we hung several roof joists to help stabilize everything.
14_0308 Chicken run 2Even though the roof will be 1/2 x 1″ wire, we still sloped the joists slightly, just in case we need to roof over part of the run.  14_0308 Chicken run 6
We worked will into the evening placing the bridging members between the posts so the wire could be secured.  It was too dark to take pictures of how far we got today.  Look for more pictures and more progress tomorrow morning!  To confirm we did not go overboard with the design of the run, one of the Great Horned owls swooped low over the back yard just as we were putting everything away…

Almost time to Move!

The girls will be 6 weeks old this coming Thursday and are growing so fast that it is time for them to move out of the halfway house and into their own coop.    14_0308 Sandy & Isabella
They spent the day hunkering down, running towards each other and instead of having a head-on crash, they would flap real hard, trying to fly over one another.  Instead of full flight, it was this mad hopping.  Hysterical!!
14_0308 Buffy 1Buffy let me pick her up today, place her on my knee, and scratch her neck and chest.  I let go of her, thinking she would run away, but she just stayed on my leg.  I wonder if all birds like their neck and head rubbed.  Our cockatiels and African Grey parrot love it as well.
14_0308 Maggie Mae Punky

Not just chickens…

I know it seems that all aspects of our lives have stopped to watch Chickens.
14_0202 KohlrabiJust look at this beautiful purple kohlrabi!

Curiouser and curiouser

14_0222 Maggie Mae & Buffy 14_0222 Gracie 14_0222 Charlotte & Maggie MaeAt 24 days old, the girls became more curious.  I am sitting at the open end of their halfway house cleaning out old sawdust and replacing it with new.  Just sitting quietly with the camera in hand, the girls came close enough to peck and then off they would run, only to return moments later.