Last spring we begun our adventures in chickens. We began with 8 and ended with 4 (1 died and 3 were roosters). The current chickens-in-residence are: the Annies (2 Buff Orpingtons, Calypso (White Crested Black Polish) and Thirsty Boots (Easter Egger).
We love them so much and wanted more… more eggs. We love eggs. Plus, I’m rapidly becoming the crazy chicken lady. I really (really, really) like my chickens. We went in on a group order with a family from the Babylady’s school. We ordered 2 Black Australorps, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte, 1 Speckled Sussex, 1 Dominique, 1 Rhode Island Red and a Golden Polish.
Getting Ready for the New Girls in Town
Yesterday was the day we had set up to go round-up our babies so the night before I got the repurposed/upcycled brooder set up. I made a few changes this year and covered the sides with a plastic drop cloth because it is what I had on hand. And I stapled chicken wire on top of two boards to make a lid.
It started like this:
And became this:
We didn’t plan and needed new supplies. Feeder. Waterer. Food. Heat lamp. We needed it all. The Seattle Farm Coop was the obvious place, but no open warehouse hours when I needed it. I didn’t want to drive to Burien (Hayes Feed Store) or Issaquah (The Grange) to get supplies. A little google search turned up a place I hadn’t heard of: Portage Bay Grange & Mercantile. In the University District! Where I am all the fricking time for one reason or another! Where the Ladyfriend works! This place is cute! Has all the supplies you will need for getting your chickens started. They have new baby chicks as well! I wanted to take them all home! In fact, if I decide we don’t have 2 Black Australorps I might head back tomorrow to bring home a new little peep. Plus, they have gorgeous coops and some unique local artist wares. If you are local, check them out! I was really excited to discover a feed store that was so convenient for us and so charming to boot! It is right next to Portage Bay Cafe as an added bonus!
Picking up the Chicks!
The hatchery apparently didn’t send the Dominique for some reason. And picking out our baby chicks from the group order proved more difficult than I imagined. I know we picked the Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Red, Golden Polish and Silver Wyandotte out. The Australorps and Barred Rock are more of a mystery.
Any chicken identifiers out there? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
We also are expanding our current chicken coop. It will fit up to 6. Not 11 or 12. We need to do it easily and inexpensively. And it needs to still look nice and be functional.
We are (at this point) thinking we will turn the entire coop/tractor run seen here into coop space by siding the whole thing (leaving some ventilation space) and waterproof the roof that is over the run. We’ll add a new floor. Raise the whole thing up a few feet off the ground. And lastly, we are going to enclose a large covered run with planted forage crops around it to a) keep them safe from predators, b) keep them from destroying our garden and c) keep their poop away from the dog because the only thing the dog is interested in these days is eating chicken poop.
So if anyone out there has grand ideas about the coop re-design I’d love to hear that as well!