Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicken Transport 2011

Finally we have relocated our neighbors chickens to our new coop!  It's so exciting.  I've always wanted a little flock of hennies.  There is nothing cuter than baby chicks but I wanted to rescue some chickens instead of breeding more so it worked out perfectly that my neighbors were in need of a nice spot for their six 2-year old chickens. Terri and her husband Evan and three children were transferred by the Army to Hawaii.  Terri will be in charge of a Nursing Hospital of over 300 nurses.

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 I scoured the internet for chicken coop designs and ended up finding an exterior design that I liked and my husband, Anthony, took it from there.  He can build anything, and the coop is no exception.  My friend, Cindy, had a great idea to build a little porch on one end and I came up with a celestial theme based on a ceramic sun that I just moved from our old homeplace.  We still have to install one more window, hook up the gutter to a rain barrel and then I think we're finished.  The actual building of the coop began a month ago and was pretty involved but fun.  Anthony lost 7 pounds building the coop from the time he came home from work to night fall and on weekends in the blazing sun.

Given the hens were raised by children that held them and loved on them, they are very tame and accept petting and handling.  In order to not scare the chickens and to make the transport as stressless as possible, we decided to herd them into a wire dog crate luring them with blueberries.  Chickens LOVE blueberries.  We ended up making three trips, coaxing three chickens into the cage, then one, then the final two.  They all went right into their new coop and checked it out.  It took about an hour for them to figure out the ramp up to the main roosting area of the coop.  Two chickens could not figure out the second hole into the coop and remained out on the screened porch the first night.  There were no problems the second night, all went into the coop.  It's like clockwork, when the sun starts going down, the chickens make their trek to their roosts and stay there until the break of dawn.

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We've had two chickens escape from their fenced area but they willingly go back in and do not stray far from their buddies and food source.  They seem to recognize me and run up to the fence gate to greet me (may be it's because of my daily lunch time food buffet tray that I take out.  A mix of chopped tomatoes and apples with a dash of ground flax, aloe vera and fresh comfrey leaves).

Our finished coop!
My desire is to treat the chickens as humanely as possible, giving them treats each day, shoveling up their poo, providing lots of dried grass and bedding in their coop, and ensuring their security from predators.  Their reward to me is to provide a little egg each day - how cool is that!  It's said that chickens are easy, well so far it's been a lot of work, but only "fun work".  With any pet, you need the time to commit to quality care, for their well being as well as yours.

-Rebecca



1 comment:

  1. oh, have fun! check out the "deep litter" approach... it is actually good for them if you don't shovel the manure out but once a year... just keep layering straw. -- Martha

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