Anyone who follows my blog knows that five months ago I became the mother to seven little baby chicks. Elsa, Anna, Ariel, Moanna, Tianna, Pocahontas and Belle are my fluffy hens who now reside in a largely renovated coop on our property and bless us with fresh eggs each morning!
I shared in “Operation Chicken Coop – Complete!” the hard work we put in converting one of the sheds on our property into a chicken house. We also built an adjacent run that allows them plenty of outdoor space and a few climbing activities. Despite their large living space, my girls are always itching to escape the coop. I began letting them explore our yard when we are home and they thoroughly enjoyed digging in my garden mulch and picking at the droppings from my bird feeder. I felt a special bond forming with them as they followed me around during my chores and interacted with the kids as they played. It has been so much fun!
But a little over a week ago, tragedy struck. While we were taking a break inside mid-morning, squawking was heard from the back yard. What we believe was a fox, attacked and killed my Anna (she is the featured sun bathing hen). Ariel had also gone missing. I was devastated.
Like any chicken owner, I know that predators are always lurking and letting them run free has its risks. Seeing them so happy running about makes it hard to keep them cooped up. But the guilt and sadness I felt after the attack has left me fearful for the lives of my other hens.
After a long cry, comforting hugs from my boys and a really dreadful clean-up, I placed my girls back in their coop and resided that this would be where they need to stay. Since then, it’s been hard. They yell at me every morning to let them out! But we are doing our best to keep them happy and clean ladies. We visit them often with grass patches, mealworm treats and they’re absolute favorite – worms!
I also have another project idea that could give them some grazing space! My neighbor down the road told me about it after watching an episode of Fixer Upper. Apparently Chip and Joanna Gaines built a narrow covered run around the inside perimeter of their garden. It allows their chickens to graze on the grass while their presence aids the garden by eliminating unwanted bugs and fertilizing the soil. Double win!
So I am currently drawing up plans for the specifics of this little garden run. I believe I am going to use PVC pipe to frame out the space and chicken wire to cover it. I will need a shaded area for the chickens since our garden is in the full sun all day. I will probably deconstruct a pallet for this. I will be sure to share the finished product with you all!
Like anything else in life, chicken ownership has been a learning experience. It’s taken some grunt work and we’ve even shed some tears along the way. But we love our ladies and are really enjoying the benefit of fresh eggs each morning. I hope we can continue to improve their quality of life and maybe in the near future, add to their flock!