Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The New Chicken Run

Now that we're no longer dealing with snow, we've begun work on the exterior of the old chicken coop. The interior got a major overhaul (minus a few details we still need to address) last late fall, which served the chickens well through the long winter. Now we are onto removing all of the exterior OSB siding (and ants, which the chickens eat happily), adding house wrap and all new 30-year exterior plywood siding, painting it and then building a large 12-feet by 24-feet run wrapped entirely in hardware cloth. This will provide the chickens with a run three times the size of their current hoop house run. I've been painting the coop and the run structure in Valspar's 'English Tea Party 6004-2C' and we all absolutely love the way this color looks both sophisticated and gorgeous against all the green. I'm sure it will be just as gorgeous against winter snow.


The chicken coop is getting all new 30-year siding and a fresh paint job, plus a huge new run.

Unfahtunatly, deah, this bug bafflah only wehks for my head. Dontch'ey just drive you some wicked! #207gram #maine #ayuh

Also worth noting-yes, we want our chickens and ducks to have as much fresh air, sunshine, bugs, space, and green as possible, but we are not okay with free-range birds. First, there's the busy road and lack of perimeter fencing, and second, we have bald eagles, hawks, owls, raccoons, fox, probably coyote, and any number or poultry predators also roaming our land looking for a tasty meal. We've invested a lot of time and money raising our birds and do our upmost to provide them a good life in exchange for eggs, and we're not about to let them become disposable animals. We feel it's our responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure they get to have long, healthy lives.

Building the chicken run begins!


The new chicken run is finished!

Our fourteen hens are slowly exploring their new run on this rainy day.

All kinds of things to explore in the new chicken run.

What do you think, Edna? #speckledsussex

Maude seems to approve of the new run. #jerseygiant

On the west side of the run stood an old smoke house that Alex tore down (also infested with ants). All of us have been out there in long sleeves and bug baffler hoods because the black flies are also out and they are vicious. I paint, Alex constructs, Olivia and Adam help applying all the welded wire cloth, and the chickens cluck at us constantly. They are so curious about what we are doing (and they want to know when their next batch of rotten wood and ants will be arriving.) Also, many of them are broody, despite being rooster-less, and they are cranky. Very. Cranky. We're hoping this new run will be a distraction and much needed change of pace for them.

Let's the top left we have Avis and Cleona determined to share a nest, Doris in the top middle, and Blanche (furious that we're talking about her), sitting on nothing and not planning to lay an egg, in the bottom left. Dotty the tiny Dominique qu

Avis has been so broody and cranky, poor dear.
Avis, a Dominique

Pretty broody Silver Dorking. I still can't tell our three apart.
Doris, a Silver Gray Dorking

I think this is Blanche. Also broody.
Blanche, a Jersey Giant

Oh, and in other news, one of our sweet Buff Orpingtons, who has been a house chicken since early February due to a touch of frostbite that led to the others picking on her, has successfully transitioned back to the flock. Welcome back, Ethel!

Good morning, Ethel, our convalescing house hen. Thanks for the wake up call! (She's training us for summer-our bedroom window looks out over the chicken coop.)
Ethel becomes a house chicken

Alex and Ethel The House Hen, of course.
playtime with Alex

So far so good. Ethel the House Chicken seems to be reintegrated with the rest of the flock. She and this Dorking (Bernice? Doris? Cleona?) seem pretty blissed out in each other's company.
settling in

Hugging Ethel.
hugs for Ethel

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