We've had chickens for almost 5 years now and we are on our 3rd flock. We always go for a variety of breeds just to keep it interesting and we never have less than about 25 birds at one time. Between the eggs we keep for ourselves and selling the excess eggs the girls pay for their own keep, and the goats most of the time too.
Their coop isn't too fancy. Just an old premade metal shed that was on our property already. Add roosts and nest boxes. We cut a hole out of the side for a chicken sized door, but it has since been closed up and now we just keep the people sized door open for whoever wants to enter- be it chickens, people, goats or dogs.
My boys took to the birds right away. They LOVED the chick stage and they love the adult birds as well. Our birds are very well loved to say the least. They are named odd names ( the yellow one above was Saddlebag and the brown one is Brownie, both from our first flock) and held and played with daily.
When we first introduced our chickens to the back yard, we had a whole area fenced off for them in the dogs' yard. We had a very flighty group that first go round. And were often seen chasing chickens down whoever jumped the fence. Unfortunately we had 2 chickens jump fence the wrong way- into the dog's yard. First up was Phoenix the rooster at 10 wks old. He was a little standoffish so no one was too upset. But next up was Shadow- and that was a sad day.
We had a 3rd chicken jump ship- a turken named Turky Lurky. And luckily we caught her in time and she escaped with a gash in her neck and a hurt foot. But nothing neosporin and a couple nights in the house couldn't fix. And the dogs got a severe "talking to" on that day. And they haven't touched a chicken since. And today it is not uncommon for me to look out the back door and see 4 goats, 4 dogs and a bunch of chickens sunning themselves on
my their deck.
We've let our broody chickens hatch out eggs once. We had 2 go broody and we gave them each about 8 eggs. The entire ordeal was a lot of work, from flooded nests to a chick getting pecked to death by it's mother. The good mom hatched one, the bad mom hatched 3- one good, one severely pecked and one pecked to death. The bad mom was booted out and the good mom took in the orphans. Of course all 3 were roosters and soon went to a new home.
This is one of my all time favorite chicken pictures, I just love the fluffy cheeks!
That is Muffy, the Araucana. She lays blue eggs. Muffy had a hard start to life. She was on the bottom of the pecking order. And the rooster of the group, Sage, didn't much care for her. He pecked her tail completely out until it was no more than a bloody stump. The others started to peck on her as well. After a week in the house, We introduced her back into the flock and Sage went with the older chickens to, well, you know...get eaten. But Muffy has always been tame. She used to run to me at night when she was getting picked on and flap onto my shoulder. In fact, a couple months ago when it was time for her and her flock to move on so that the up and coming egg layers could have more room in the henhouse, we let her stay, just so we could have at least one blue egg. And she has thanked us by laying ZERO eggs since then.
And that brings us to our current flock. They are about 6 months old now and have finally started laying eggs. And if I must say these birds are by far the most spoiled groups of chickens I have ever seen. We currently have 27- different breeds from Speckled Sussex to Brahmas to Columbian Wyandottes to Polishes.
My boys spend hours outside with them. They allow themselves to be toted around and crouch down for easy catching.
And the names....I don't even know all of them, but I don't think some should even be considered names. We have a Brahma named Fast Little Legs. A Polish names Piper Wrapping. A Houdan named Black Hat. A Turken named Turken Lee Jones. A Colombian named Swirl Tail. A rooster named Charlie Horse. And last but not least....Muh. Yeah....Muh. Sounds like Duh! We give the boys the most grief over that one.
And not to be left out...
There is Jill. She's a duck. Or a chicken. Or a dog. She's a little confused. Her flock-mate Bill died a year or so ago and since then she has made friends with the chickens and follows and lays with the dogs in the yard. She sits on the back deck and knocks on the door at night if I leave the light on. She is a Khaki Campbell and lays better than the chickens. In fact my oldest son wants to raise a whole flock of ducks after we move.
And I do realize this was a Hen House Hop and I didn't show any pictures of my actual hen house. If I could find my external hard drive I am sure there is one in there somewhere from when it was just set up, but really it is nothing special. Ugly but serves its purpose. I can however show you a picture of the old chicken coop at our new house. We plan on sprucing it up a bit and resetting the foundation.
For more Hen House fun visit the Dandelion House!