Like most homesteaders or any people that dream of being self sufficient we immediately got some chickens when we moved in. Well, actually I got some chickens and surprised poor Hubs that he needed to quickly build a little shelter for the 3 hens we were going to pick up in a couple days. I'm fun like that. Somehow he managed to throw this bad boy together in the 3 days before we drove up to get the chickens.
When we got to the Chicken Lady's house something had eaten one of the chickens. We were now down to two chickens. This should have been a warning to me against free ranging. I was still convinced free ranging would b great I mean, come on, we had so much area. The chickens would be in bird heaven. They lasted about a week. A fox ate one and then a hawk took a chunk out of the surviving one's back. It got nasty and infected so we had to cull the chicken. A new plan was needed.
Hubs convinced me to just wait for chicks. They're cheaper and it would give him time to build a better area for them. An area that would be impervious to the other wild life that would eat my chickens. Plus chicks are cute AND he said that maybe I could even get ducks. I was sold. Just had to wait until they started being sold around February and April.
Picking out some chicks at the hatchery.
Maverick being snuggled by a baby duck.
The cute little chicks and ducklings stayed in our basement. At first it seemed like such a good idea. It was nice and warm down there and there was running water and electricity so it was really easy to feed and water them. The big problem? They STINK! Oh my goodness, how they stank. I was cleaning out their brooders constantly. Especially the ducklings, even more so when they got older and started getting water to swim in. We had two of the big 75 gallon stock tanks they sell at TSC (Tractor Supply Company) since they were more or less easy to clean out and I wasn't too worried about a fire hazard with them. Ducks had one and chicks had another. We had 12 ducks but lost 1 and had 22 chicks and lost 1. Not too bad. As soon as it started warming up I kicked them outside in the backyard with the little coop Hubs had made because I couldn't stand the smell a second longer.
I wish I had taken more picture of Hubs working on the Poultry Palace. He really did an amazing job. The plans he used were these, they are free and the windows we used were ordered from that site as well. No, I am not being paid to advertise. I figure it's only fair to give credit where credit's due. Now for a quick picture montage of the Poultry Palace construction.
I did most of the painting!
Bird netting to keep out hawks.
Everyone is moved in.
There is still trim work to be done. If my kitchen trim isn't done the chicken's sure as heck aren't going to have trim either. On the left is the rain catchment system Hubs is planning on setting up but for some reason lacks time to do. Not sure why.... could it be the fact that I'm picking up a new goat on Friday? Or maybe the fact that I have a rabbit that delivered a kindle of 10 to 12 kits today and another one due any second now? Poor guy. Now on to the inside.
We hang the feed from the ceiling and Hubs built the nest boxes, of course he built the whole thing so why would he buy nest boxes?
This cool little roosting rack is designed special for me. It folds up onto the wall so when we rake all the nasty straw out its up and out of the way. Most of the chickens roost on it at night. A couple of weirdos roost up in the rafters and some sleep on the floor.
Biggest problem with all those chickens and ducks? More eggs than I know what to do with! Hubs is building me a sign that I am going to put out on the drive that says farm fresh eggs for sale. I wanted it to say chicken butt nuggets but he said that it sounds nasty and no one would stop. When you get at least a dozen eggs a day its a little overwhelming. Hopefully, people buy them so I don't end up wasting all these eggs.