Finished coop structure

This weekend, we added some room for the ladies. Since something (we’re not so sure it was the dogs) had been massacring the neighbors’ chickens, we had decided to take the chickens to their new home in our backyard a little earlier than previously planned. The coop wasn’t finished, but we wanted those chickens and I knew they’d be safe and happy in their new home. I’ve read that chickens are much happier in a small flock like this, and I now know it to be true. If nothing else, they have fewer chickens to compete with for food, water, and pecking order. After about a week of having them, they seem very happy. I feed them treats (scraps from cooking) just about every day and we go outside to hang out with them and watch them all the time. Tucker loves being outside in the sun and he loves being a chicken dog. I’ve been trying to teach him to round up the chickens like a sheep dog would…but that’s just more comical than anything! 🙂

The inside of the coop now has 2 roosting bars (more than enough space for the 4 girls), a place for water on the bottom, and 3 nesting boxes (more than enough boxes). The nesting boxes are filled with sand for now, which works, but is not ideal. Sand is soft and the chickens can scratch around in it, but it is not ideal because it isn’t very absorbent and it’s heavy to lift when pouring in or cleaning out the coop. Here’s a picture of the bottom jut out with the water and 1 nesting box…
You can just barely see the bottom roosting bar in this picture as well. The water bucket is one we found on Amazon and it works pretty well to keep the water clean.

I’d say they’re a pretty happy flock of birds. We let them free-range for a while this weekend and they all stayed close together. Baby (I think she’s a New Hampshire) is kind of a loner (far left), but the other 3 are tight. 🙂 From top-bottom: Red Foreman (I think she’s a Rhode Island Red), Whiney Brahama Mama (Brahma), and Aria (Australorp). 
Gotta go check for eggs! 🙂

New Developments on Baconbits Ranch…

I just gotta say how amazing it is to grow our own food. Not only will we eventually not depend on the store for every little thing, we’ll know that our food/food growers are treated with care and we’ll know exactly what’s in/on our food. What’s IN the chickens is anything they find on the ground in the woods where they live (bugs, plants, grass) and what’s on our veggies is NO pesticides.

If we have any problems with bugs eating our plants this year, we are armed with a hot pepper spray, and other options as well. (I’ve used cinnamon and garlic as pest control in the past.) Hopefully, that will do the trick for whatever is trying to eat them…and if not, we’ll continue to research and pick farmers’ brains about what to do naturally. I love that we will have fewer chemicals entering our bodies through our mouths and skin.

We also have a huge big-top tent for part of the garden this year. Last year, we had a bigger garden than the year before, and it was our first in the ground in NC. (We had previously lived in apartments and used the container gardening method.) We had a huge problem with animals eating our food! The squirrels, rabbits, and deer ate just about all our tomatoes and every single last Brussels sprout (I checked…that spelling is correct) 😉 on our healthy, 3-5 ‘ plants. Huge bummer. SO, we’ve armed ourselves with the circus tent and are hoping this will work much better! If not, we will be having squirrel stew! 😉 We are also toying with the idea of a small greenhouse.

Here’s to learning as we go!!!