Friday, September 9, 2016

Our first coop: the biggest mistake

Nobody sets out to build a chicken coop and says "I can't wait to screw this up" but yet, it happens. You read building instructions, you make plans and you do your research fully intending to not make the same mistakes as everyone else. You are sure that this coop is going to be absolutely perfect. Well, at least we were! Even the best laid plans go awry and even though the coop looks great when it's done, the day comes when you look at it and say I really didn't think this through did I? Whether the doors are too small, the roof is too low, you can't fit enough chickens, there's not enough light or there's too much ventilation (especially in a predators can get in sort of way) something went wrong. *sigh* I'm pretty sure we've all been there.

mistakes in coop building

The first coop we built was strategically set at the bottom of the yard. This was actually pretty well thought out believe it or not. It's a Wild West Saloon style coop my husband designed. It's right at the edge of the clearing and the chickens would be close to the house for carrying down feed and water but far enough away that hopefully they'd stay down in that direction and off the back porch. We figured the trees would give some shade in the summer and a place for the chickens to play and dig to their hearts content. The water runoff from hard rains tends to go smack dab through the middle of the yard which is a good 25-30 feet away so that wouldn't be a problem. Treated wood was bought for the platform base, and the guys went on and on about how it costs more but it'll last longer. Amish hemlock was used for the rest of the coop and I drove to the next county to pick up the special tin roofing. The coop went up flawlessly and it was beautiful. The chickens moved in and everyone was happy. Everything appeared absolutely perfect. Then the rains came.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sebastopol Geese: a goose in a dress!

Meet Donald and Ivana (named years before the presidential issues of today) These are my Sebastopol geese and wow, what a pair they are! Sweet tempered, affectionate and friendly, they are the most awesome geese I have ever known!

I first heard about Sebastopol Geese about 5 years ago. I saw a picture of them and thought they looked just like they were wearing party dresses! I just had to have some but the price was daunting. Fortunately I was gifted a pair about a year later. I fell madly in love with their personalities as they are some of the sweetest waterfowl I have had. They are the only breed of goose that I have raised though, so maybe all geese are this personable? 

Sebastopol geese breeding pair

Sebastopol geese are descended from the European Graylag and were first exhibited in England in 1860. They are named after the Russian city of Sebastopol and were first recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1938.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Funnies!

It's the end of January! We've made it through the storm of the year (so far....but we've just started 2016!) and hopefully everyone's flocks are recovered from the dumping of snow on their heads! I don't know about you but I need a break, so let's start the weekend out laughing...

funny chicken jokes

Q: What do you call it when a chicken stumbles across the street?
A: A road trip! 

Q: What do chickens like best about school?
A: Field trips!

Definition of relay: What chickens do when the farmer takes their eggs away! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Top 7 chicken posts of 2015

2015 was an interesting year here on the chicken farm. It was crazy busy & with a lot of changes and unfortunately, not a lot of time to write. I sat down this week to look at what I wrote last year and was surprised to see what my most popular posts were. Apparently coop bedding was a subject that had everybody tuning in. Each post I wrote about any type of bedding made it into my top 7 list! The top post surprised me the most as it dealt with the cost of raising a lot of chickens. I mean a LOT of chickens! Since most people have a smaller flock I wrote it for the 'few' people I though would be curious. I certainly didn't expect it to get so popular!

The top chicken posts of 2015

In order from most view/pins/ are my top 7 posts from 2015. By a landslide, this post had triple the view of any other post from this year!
  1. How much does it cost to raise chickens?  This year after I finished my taxes I sat down with all the chickens expenses and wrote out exactly how much money I spent in 1 year to keep about 80 chickens and guineas....if you've ever thought " I wonder how much t cost to keep a LOT of chickens" then here's your answer!

  2. How to train a chicken to walk on a harness & leash Everyone has seen the photos of the chicken harnesses but have you actually tried to walk one? It's not easy at first, but with these few preparation steps it can work out pretty well.

Monday, November 30, 2015

10 Awesome holiday gifts for the chicken lover!

It's cyber Monday so what does that mean? Time to do some serious Christmas shopping! While chicken gift items are much easier to find in stores recently (especially places like TSC!) I find most of the best gifts online. I've been saving ideas up just for this time of year and I think I've found some pretty good ones. We've all seen the henbags, the chicken care books and crazy chicken lady signs so I tried to find the most unique chicken lovers gift items I could.....let me know how I did!

The chicken lovers holiday gift guide

Socks: We've all seen the knee high chicken leg socks but have you seen the Super Chicken Socks? I just love these blue socks with the super hero cape wearing hen! By Socksmith $7.49 

Chick wine glass charm: Wine glass charm with a picture of adorable fluffy chicks on it. Never lose your wine glass at a party again! $4.99

Rhinestone rooster key fob:  Cute little rhinestone purse clip or key chain. Sparkly! $8.99

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Update, update, update.....and Instagram photos!

I just wanted to take a quick minute to update everyone on my posting schedule...or lack therof, actually. I'm sure we've all had our lives change over time and mine has been facing a big change for over a year now. You see, I will be moving. The hows and where's aren't settled yet but I will no longer reside at the farm. It may be kept as a vacation house with aims for retirement living or it may be sold. I may end up in an apartment or it may be a house. I'm not really sure yet. It looks like there will at least be a short stint in an apartment which will call for me to sell off my flocks. So, either way there will be no chickens here or in my life for at least a little while. The big question is though: will I have chickens wherever I end up? I would love to give an unequivocal yes, unfortunately I cannot do that at this time.

d'Uccle chicks porcelain and mille fleur

The slow down in my posting schedule here has definitely gotten my head out of the game. The sell off of about 1/3 of the flocks has also slowed down my involvement with chickens. Caring for 80 chickens/ducks/guineas/geese/quail keep it in the forefront of your mind for sure! There's always something going on with them so it gave me a lot to think and write about. Drop that to about 50 (half guineas which require very little care) and it drops enough that those practices I put in place to make it easier, now make it effortless. Plus an increased work schedule has my mind otherwise occupied. Yuck!
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