Apparently chickens grow REALLY FAST!! The last post I made featuring our girls was in March and they could easily be held in our hands. Now just two months later, they are almost fully feathered and active pullets. At around eight weeks old we moved them into their new coop and it has quickly become their home sweet home!
Here are a few pictures we took of their adorable coop before spreading the sand and moving them in:
As I mentioned in my last post, we decided to take one of the sheds on our property and convert it into a nice size chicken coop. The indoor fencing allows us to open both barn doors for plenty of sunshine and ventilation. There is also one window in the coop already and we have plans to add two more very soon. I am hoping all of the natural light will help the girls continue laying eggs throughout the colder months of the year. The unused coop space is great for storing feed and supplies. I keep their feed in the original bag sealed inside a galvanized bucket. I have not noticed any rodents since moving them in.
Adjacent to our shed was a nice shady unused area that could be converted into a run. This part of the project proved to be the most strenuous. I personally dug out the entire 10’ area (although it took my husband several hours to level out my work, oops!). Going about eight inches down we filled the bottom half with pea gravel and topped it off with construction grade sand. From what I’ve read, this foundation allows for optimal drainage. I also like using sand in the coop and run as it aids in my efforts to keep a clean home for the girls. I use a cat litter scoop and sift out the poop daily.
The entire run is completely enclosed in chicken wire (even underneath the pea gravel layer!). It is like the Fort Knox of chicken coops! So I am confident my girls are nice and safe. Here are a few photos of the run after the structure was completed:
Since these photos were taken I have added tree stumps, perches and a hanging treat/toy to keep the pullets occupied. I’ve also done some gardening to add visual appeal!
The girls really like to graze so I let them out from time to time when I am home working in the yard. I’ve noticed the older they get however, the more they seem to broaden their horizons. Up until recently they would stay around their coop and go back in when they were done grazing or needed a drink. Now they are venturing off further and since our property is not fenced, I am not sure how much longer I can let them explore like this. On days that they are not out in the yard I dig up long grass patches from an area in my garden we let grow out. I put the patches in the run and they graze on them throughout the day.
In a nutshell, we are learning as we go! But our girls appear to be happy and healthy, so we are pleased. It’s been such a fun experience for our family learning how to raise chickens and I am getting excited knowing I should find our first fresh egg in just several more weeks! The process of how a chicken lays an egg and provides a source of nutrition for our family should be really educational for the boys. I will undoubtedly be busy in the kitchen, as well, trying out lots of new recipes centered on the incredible, edible egg! I will be sure to share our favorites!