Monday, August 20, 2012

My Girls

We raise laying hens. Right now we have 49 hens and one rooster. We keep him for his wonderful crowing. It's a sound that screams "farm" to me. If you've never had chickens, you are really missing out. They are relaxing to listen to and to watch. Kinda like watching a fire. They're mesmerizing and relaxing all at once.

We are considering having the rooster for dinner as he is getting quite mean. He attacks Sissy daily when she goes out to collect the eggs. He has attacked all of us at one point. For now, we carry a basket in with us to put over him while we work in there. Lately he's been running outside when he sees the basket and we just set the basket in front of their little door to keep him out until we're done.

He is just so pretty and sounds so good that we are having a hard time eating him.

Here is a picture of their coop.

It started out as a slab of concrete left from a garage that was torn down before we moved in. As we were tearing down the old barn, we took the loft floor and reused it to build the coop. Then we added underlayment and furring strips to the outside and painted. Mr Farmer designed and built the coop, with physical help from me. He is so talented. He made the roof trusses from scratch, never having made any before. He didn't even sit down and do do any "figurin'" to get the angles right. He just amazes me sometimes.

The coop has a loft in it for the kids to play in. They can go in and out from the inside. Or  from the outside by way of a ladder and bridge. 

On the outside, we made a small chicken door leading outside to a hoop enclosure. Out here the girls can get their daily dust baths and enjoy a shaded view of the gardens.
The windows of the coop are made to be removed in the summer and replaced with screens. Also, one of the doors stays open in nice weather and has a screen to keep the girls in. We let them free range when there aren't gardens for them to destroy. And they DO destroy them!

Currently we get between 30 and 38 eggs per day. We sell most of what we collect. It took me a while to get used to the idea of eating fresh eggs. I eventually got there, though.

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